Last semester, I was the first to watch the videos and make posts for the majority of the weeks. Beginning this January, I fell behind on my entire list of personal and professional duties, and decisions had to be made. I chose to complete my assignments late for two of the weeks in January, so I could devote more time to “more important” matters.
I won’t make excuses and I won’t invoke that over used colloquialism (based on a movie title), but I did have an awakening. My annual physical was scheduled for the latter part of January and for the first time in my life I had a blood pressure reading over the 140 mark.
What was remarkable, was that my doctor wanted to prescribe medication based on one reading. I made a deal with him… For two weeks I took readings and charted the data. I took readings three times per day: wake-up, home from work, and bedtime. For the first three days, I thought he was correct because my blood pressure remained elevated, but as soon as I completed those past due assignments, then my blood pressure returned to less than 120. I continue to monitor it daily.
Unfortunately, Lucky had surgery this week and because of his advanced age, he wasn’t recovering as well as we hoped, so I stayed home with him the first day after the surgery. Further, my job as the Grievance Representative for the union was in full swing on the same day. For the first time in more than three weeks, my blood pressure rose above 140 again for a single reading. As a scientist, the question becomes, have I always had such great fluctuations or has age contributed to these occurrences? Much of the research indicates that age may be the culprit, but I will never know for me personally. For more than 20 years I have always checked my blood pressure at least once per month and it was never over 130, but during the past five weeks, taking my blood pressure three times per day, the measurement has been over 130 for 12 readings and over 140 for seven of those 12.
Thus, with an 11% probability of finding a high reading, over a 20 year span I should have recorded at least one high blood pressure reading. But, before I try to make a causal case for age, I must first continue collecting data and noting how different stressful situations have an effect on my blood pressure. I hope that in the process I do not become permanently missing in action…