For a few years now I've been sitting on my incredibly high 'I run marathon' horse, telling my hypertensive dad how he should start exercising again, eat better and lose some weight. Because surely if he did all that his blood pressure would settle somewhere nice and low and he wouldn't have to take as much medications. I have also been boasting high and low about how MY bloodpressure is nice and low (a bit too low at times), how I don't have any illnesses (I used to boast about no allergies/intolerances either, then it turned out gluten is my enemy....) and that yes I work a lot but that's fine because I don't get stressed or overworked.
Fast forward to yesterday, and I was at my GP's for a general check up and renewal of my contraceptive pill prescription. I hurried over to the surgery after an excellent study day, feeling all sorts of positive and buzzing with ideas for work. As usually I was 15 minutes early so I got to relax with a magazine until Dr Dhillon was ready to see me.
As the last patient of the day, and a fit and healthy 27-year-old, I'm sure Dr Dhillon expected a 5 minute consultation, and then hometime. After all, that's what I expected. After the initial chit chat Dr Dhillon measured my blood pressure and gave me 'the look'. As a nurse I know 'the look' well, because I'm sure I give it to patients too. It's that look of 'Oh bummer, this isn't all that good'. My blood pressure was a whooping 155/90, as opposed to last years 115/69. After three more measurements Dr Dhillon and I both had to accept that yes, I am indeed hypertensive. At 27. As a non-smoker. Despite eating well and exercising. Despite not being stres...oh wait! Thinking back of my average of 8 hours of overtime a week (since November) and never knowing when I'm going to finish when I get to work in the mornings, the headaches I've been having (which I've blamed at the air condition at work), the fatigue I've been feeling, my OCD Type A personality. Yup, I might just be a poster girl for stress!
So, what happens now? Well, I'm told to stress and work less, I've had to stop my contraceptive pill due to the increased risk of strokes(!), my blood pressure is being monitored and they're taking half my blood for various tests. For someone who's had one hospital admission in 27 years (appendicitis back in 2003) it's pretty scary to realize that you're neither immortal nor invincible....and I do hope that all you people out there take care of yourself (and your blood pressure) and don't stress yourself out. You only have one life, after all....value it!