Friday, July 18, 2008

A few for Friday night...

Emily at Apron Strings for Emily recently posted about her high blood pressure. My mother has high bp & has long warned me of the dangers of the salt shaker. I don't remember when she started taking medication, but certainly since she was in her 40s.

She has often referred to "having a hard time" when I was born, & it wasn't until my own pregnancy that I realized she had had pre-ecclampsia, & that both of us very nearly didn't make it.

On the other side of the family, my dad's mother had very high bp & died suddenly of a stroke at the far-too-young age of 68 when I was 14. So this was something always lurking in the background, but in the classic way of the young, healthy & optimistic, with each checkup & textbook 120/80 reading, I assumed it didn't apply to me.

A couple of years back, I started getting high readings when visiting Dr. Ob-gyn's office. His nurse would frown at me & tell me to follow up with my family dr. I'd go there, get 120/80, & that would be the end of it. I chalked it up to white coat syndrome & stress. After all, I reasoned, while Dr. Ob-gyn himself is a perfectly charming man, his office is not exactly my favourite place in the world...!

Same scenario, spring 2007 -- only this time, when I went to see my family dr, I got a high reading. He had me come back a month later, same thing. He encouraged me to lose some weight & cut back on sodium. I put away the salt shaker, started reading labels & checking restaurant nutrition guides online (holy cow, have you ever looked at sodium counts for a typical restaurant meal??). And I did manage to lose a few pounds -- I'm currently a good 25 lbs above the top of my Weight Watchers goal range (& about 40 lbs above my previous lifetime goal weight, achieved when I was 31, & which I know I will never see again in my lifetime...!!)... but of course, weight loss (especially in your late 40s) is easier said than done.

So he's been monitoring me like this for over a year now... I'd get the odd 120/80, but more often 130/85, 140/90. Sometimes higher. :(

When I went to see him Monday morning, it was 145/95. I knew what was coming. He told me he couldn't let me walk around indefinitely with unchecked high bp. And so I walked out of his office with medication (he gave me samples -- the lowest dose available -- & presumably if they agree with me, he'll write me a prescription). He told me he takes the same stuff himself (!), which made me feel a little better. Also that it's not necessarily a lifetime thing, that it's possible that if I lose the weight & continue to cut back on sodium that I might eventually be able to go off the pills.

There's this Alice in Wonderland feeling of putting a strange new pill in your mouth for the first time & wondering what the heck it's going to do to you. Kind of reminded me of taking Clomid for the first time. This time, I'm hoping for a miracle of a different sort.

So I took the first pill this morning, and so far, so good (i.e., no side effects that I've noticed, other than fatigue, which isn't unusual for me at the end of a long week anyway...!). I guess time & the cuff will tell the tale. I'm going back in 10 days, although his receptionist (who is also on the same meds!) warned me it generally takes 3-4 weeks to kick in.

I also have dh watching every mouthful of food I eat & dragging me out for after-dinner walks before my rear can hit the loveseat (or computer chair) after dinner. Which can be annoying as heck, but also kind of cute at times. ; )

Anyone else dealing with high blood pressure out there?

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Kristen at Certainly Not Cool Enough to Blog had a post this week that excited me. She wrote about a documentary that will be shown on CBC Newsworld later this fall, called "Capturing a Short Life," about families dealing with infant loss, and the work of Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. I can't wait to see this -- not only because it's so wonderful to see this subject getting some airtime, but also because, reading over the babies' stories, I realized that know one of the moms featured, as well as one of the nurses referred to by several of the parents. Will let you know if/when I hear more about it...

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Three of my favourite bloggers -- Mel of Stirrup Queens, Pamela Jeanne of Coming2Terms and Lori of Weebles Wobblog -- will be providing the adoption, loss & infertility perspective among hordes of mommybloggers at the BlogHer conference in San Francisco tomorrow. I have been continually refreshing my blog reader all day, looking for updates. ; )

I told dh about the conference, & he said, "Why didn't you go?" (??!!!) Then we both remembered one good reason why: neither of us have passports, which are now needed to fly from Canada into the States (& we don't have time or stamina to make a road trip all the way to SF). By this time next year, I will likely need one to drive 20 miles across the border into NW Minnesota to visit the cemetery where my grandparents are buried. Such is the world we now live in. :( We've had passport applications sitting out for well over a year now. We even had photos taken last fall (which will expire this fall if we don't hurry up & use them). Getting those applications filled out & submitted to the passport office is at the top of my vacation to-do list!!

Have a good weekend...


  1. Yep, my mum had a stroke - she had been dealing with high blood pressure - so I take that kind of thing seriously. Please take care of your health - your hubby needs you.

  2. Hey, LoriBeth. I saw your post on my Treo as I was gathered for dessert with Mel, Pamela, Michell, Millie, Luna and Mr Luna. I told everyone you were with us in spirit.

    Someone took pix, and I think Mel or Luna will post them soon.

    Ooooh, how I'd love to meet you someday!

  3. Too bad we couldn't pull some string to expedite the passport process. Would have been so great to see you in the audience and in the pre- and post-mixer phase. Thanks for being with us in a very big sense in spirit. Will let you know how it goes.

  4. Sorry about the high BP. It is vital to keep in check. It always sucks to take a new medication, though -- I hate that feeling of not being up to par.

    My BP tends toward the low with occasional dramatic swoops -- hence the fainting. But now I can feel how overtasked my cardiovascular system is, and it's a little frightening. My mom's BP shot up while she was pregnant with my twin brothers -- further investigation revealed that that she had a congenital heart murmur, and so she had a heart valve replacement 20 years later. (She is thin and rather small in the bust, so when I hug her, I can hear her heartbeat like an old steam train engine!)

    The American Heart Association cookbooks are great, BTW. I use mine frequently as high cholesterol runs in the family.

  5. BTW, I realized minutes after I submitted my comment that the AHA cookbook would probably be a real PITA due to the need to convert everything to metric. Sorry!

  6. Don't worry, Ellen, I think just about all of the cookbooks & magazines here still use the Imperial system (or have both). I'm old enough that I still think in those terms anyway -- although I'm pretty comfortable with Celsius temperatures & kilometres these days. (I do still find myself doing a quick approximate conversion in my head anyway -- 10C = 50F, 20C = 68F & 30C = 85F, etc.).

  7. Hi Loribeth,

    I am dealing with HBP. Both of my parents have/had issues along with their siblings and parents. I need to really get better at the exercise thing so that I can get some of this excess weight off. I have never really added salt to anything so I have been focusing more on avoiding caffine.