Oh, Hi, Blood Pressure

“Do you think you’re having a heart attack?”

I was sitting in urgent care last week. It was a Tuesday morning. I was exhausted, a little dizzy, and all sorts of panicky.

“I don’t know, you tell me,” I wanted to say to the nurse. “That’s why I’m here.”

I didn’t say that. I was too flustered by my Blood Pressure numbers. Dear Lord, they were high.

A physician’s assistant came in next. Took my blood pressure again. It was a little lower. The PA checked me over. He didn’t think I needed to go the emergency room. But he did prescribe medication. 5 milligrams of Liprosil. I picked it up on my way home, convinced that death was near. I called Dad in the Hy-Vee parking lot while I was waiting for the prescription to fall. I almost started crying. He made jokes and calmed down a little. Dad’s good at that.

I’ve never had bad blood pressure in my entire life. And now I’m a man who takes blood pressure medication.


Needless to say, I’m a real treat this morning as I write this blog.

“Do you think I should get a little bell?” I asked Katie. “So that I can ring it when I need assistance?”

Katie just looked at me.

“Maybe you could start leading me around like a blind person?”

Katie was already tired of my dramatics. That’s an appropriate response.

I haven’t had caffeine in a week. The withdrawal is brutal. I am barely functioning. My head feels like it was hit by a steamroller. I haven’t given up caffeine in years. But it’s time to take a break. I was drinking my body weight in coffee this year. A couple cups in the morning. Another large coffee when I taught class at night. It was too much.

I’m also taking a break from alcohol. I’m no alcoholic, but I do like a beer or two once in a while. And I’m afraid it’s time to get serious about eating healthy and getting back in shape. Sorry, tummy.

I have a physical scheduled in about a month. I plan to be obsessively healthy between now and then. To take my 5 milligrams of Liprosil each morning. I’m taking my blood pressure twice a day. Keeping track to share with the doctor next month.

“Katie,” I wail, “It’s time to take my blood pressure.”

Katie isn’t all that amused.

My hope is that some radical lifestyle changes can get me off the medication. I’m 42. Old enough to be mindful of my health. But too young, in my opinion, to be on blood pressure medication.


I know that the stress of this year is catching up with me. Taking its toll on my body. The move to Iowa. This job at a research one university. There are pressures on me that are very real. I want to – need to – be mindful of setting more balanced work / life boundaries. Easier said then done, though my body seems to be screaming at me now. No more putting it off. Time to get healthy.

I still intend to live forever. Like a diamond. I intend this body to keep going for a while too. I’ll start paying attention to what I can control in order to help with that.

I’m 42. It’s okay to slow down. I know that in my mind. Now I’ll try to learn that in my body.

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