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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Contents Under Pressure

Starting the drive home yesterday, I started feeling really strange — pressure in my chest, tingling all over, a bit dizzy. I didn’t have any of the shooting pains talked about by heart attack victims, and the pressure was only pressure rather than pain. But there was a hospital right along the way, and I didn’t want to wait until tomorrow (i.e. today) to figure out what was going on, so I popped into the ER and tried to describe my symptoms as best as I could.

Blood pressure was a bit high in triage, but the (male) nurse thought that might be anxiety more than anything. We hiked down the hall and he put me in one of the rooms. In rapid succession, people came in to hook me up to the blood pressure monitor, take my statistics, tape an oxygen sensor to a finger and stick about nine EKG sensors on my chest (the hairy parts and not), put an IV in my hand, and take a chest X-ray. Even after relaxing, my BP stayed up (about 150/90 at one point) so they started pumping some kind of medication into the IV and it started coming down. Eventually, they let me have my laptop and I played a few rounds of solitaire (kind of hard to type with an oxygen sensor taped to your left birdie finger).

In short, the doc figures I’m getting hypertension as a result of the stress (stress? what stress?) lately. The EKG and X-ray didn’t show up any cardiac issues. He wrote me a prescription for clonidine and told me to see a cardiologist just to make sure. He wrote up a referral to a guy a ways away; I’m going to visit my own doc tomorrow for a second opinion & (I hope) a closer cardiologist. So I spent about 2-½ hours in the ER, and I was hungry when I left. I grabbed a sandwich and my prescription and came home.

All in all, I’m probably going to cost the insurance company a couple of grand to find out what I’m pretty sure of already: I need more exercise, less food, more sex, and less strife. The clonidine gave me a serious case of the nods for a couple of hours this afternoon, about four hours after I took it. I need to take another, but the wife wants me to help her drop off our minivan with some friends — their van lunched out yesterday (sounded like it was throwing a rod Monday) and he’s in a wheelchair — so I’ll take it when I get home & crash good tonight.


  1. Just checking in to see how you are doing....

    Did you get some rest last night? Any word from the doc?

    Chicken soup is simmering for you...{{{Larry}}}

  2. Thanks, Sally. The doc said she didn't usually start newly-hypertensives with clonidine, and prescribed me something unpronounceable (sneeze and you'll be close). I got a reasonable amount of rest last night, although Mrs. Fetched has me up duping a DVD she made while she does something else.

    I have a stress test scheduled for next week, so they can rule out any cardiac-related issues. I'm supposed to get a BP cuff and check it at home every day or so, but forgot to do that when I picked up the pills.

    Off to bed... {{{Sally}}}

  3. Boy I didn't see that coming (rolleyes).

    Your blood pressure was high, 150/90 is way up there. Believe it or not but mine was a bit high also not to long ago, 145/82. A combination of stress from my addition, poor diet, no sleep, and no exercise will do it. Since then just eating better and cutting out on the sodium and caffine helped a lot. Plus we now have a gym in the office so I run about 3 miles, 3 to 4 times a week. I've gone from 208 to about 190 in a couple months, my target weight is 185 according to my Doc. Just losing weight alone helps with stress, you just feel better about yourself and that helps a lot.

    Maybe you should come down and visit by yourself for a long weekend. You could stay with Mom or me, and relax.

    Have fun with that stress test, get plenty of rest the day before you go, you'll need it.

    Take care of yourself, drink lots of water, cut down on salt and caffine and get lots of sleep.

    Take care bro, Brian

  4. {{{Larry}}} I hope you're keeping yourself well rested and taken care of, as much as possible anyway.

    I've had phases of going through panic attacks the past several years. Once I was driving, my heart started racing, my left arm felt tingly then numb, and I could almost feel tunnel-vision coming on. VERY SCARY. Of course, at the time too, you're working yourself up even more with various 'what-if' scenarios...

    I can recognize it better now, have some meds for when I start to feel that way. Oddly enough, I got a similiar feeling when going to meet my first C&J group... Didn't expect that at all! But yes, stress and anticipation and the unknown, plus diet and non-exercise and poor sleeping patterns, it all comes into play...

    I'll be sending good thoughts that your stress test confirms that this is NOT heart-related for you. Take care and be well sweetie.

  5. Wow, bro, you got to 208? I'm hitting a personal record myself... somewhere, ten pounds found me & I didn't have a clue — pants weren't getting tight or anything. And I haven't been getting much sleep lately. That's going to change — now that The Boy has his own car, he can drive himself to work.


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