Lowering the Pressure…


I have an Omron blood pressure monitor to take my own BP as I suffer badly from white coat syndrome.  It looks a bit like this but it’s an older model and it certainly didn’t cost that much.

2011 was a good year – no falls, broken bones or surgeries – so I got out of the habit of taking my BP because I wasn’t seeing any doctors.  I had probably not taken my BP at home in more than 9 months.

Just after Thanksgiving I had my yearly medical and my BP was high in the doctor’s office but she sort of wrote it off because she “knows”  I’m monitoring it at home and would mention if it was getting high on my own machine…….

Three weeks later I went back for a follow up to zap sun spots as our insurance doesn’t cover any “procedures”  during a medical even though she had plenty of time to stun the spots with nitrogen.  This visit she said “wow, your BP is very, very high” and asked what readings I was getting at home – ummmmm – sprung..     She took it 6 or 7 times getting a higher reading each time as it started to hurt both my arm and my head!

She eventually released me with homework –  take my BP twice a day and fax the readings to her at the end of January.

I came home fully expecting my machine to show the usual 120/80 previously recorded but the figures which came up really scared me.   They were in the high 150’s over 110+ range.   I didn’t remember the figures the doctor got but if my BP was this high while “relaxed” at home it must’ve been in the critical range at her office.    Perhaps my machine was malfunctioning……..   subsequent readings showed similar disturbing numbers which discounted that theory.

Given that my father had his massive stroke at 54 and his father died even younger than that from cerebral hemorrhage, I was frightened.  I tearily said to the manservant “it’s one thing to have a stroke and just die because I won’t know anything,  but I don’t want to have a stroke and survive  like dad for more than  20 or 30 years”  (though dad would say he’s very glad he survived).

I took a hard look at the last few months –  well the year really.  All the worry over my father and being so far from home & the decisions being made;  worrying about my kids, especially the Economist with his near garroting and then the collapsed lung;    lots of stress & uncertainty at work – would I lose my job;  would I move offices;  would I have the same position in the new office;  if I stayed in the old office what would my role be;    I ultimately moved offices but went on my own – no work friends went with me  –  the only good thing was the 3 miles from home.

Then came the period from Thanksgiving to Christmas – lots of entertaining and being entertained.   These occasions started to spill from the weekends into the working-week nights.   My diet, alcohol consumption and sleep were going to hell.    Just as well I was still walking….

After Christmas I determined to cut down on salt (hence the less bacon resolution), cut back on the alcohol (my one glass-of-wine-a-day had expanded into 2, 3, 4, more…..) and to find some zen.

In the last 2 weeks my readings have lowered heaps but they’re still higher than “normal”   –  they’re now in the 130’s over mid 90’s.   I no longer feel that my blood is trying to injure me and I’m optimistic the numbers  will continue to lower as long as I control those “bad”  elements –  really I’m quite happy with one glass of wine a night and  I like fruits & veggies ;  I  just need to work on some de-stressing techniques as family & work will always worry me.

And on the subject of fruit & veggies …….   we were watching the news the other night when the presenter said a new study showed that  “eating 3 kiwis a day could lower your blood pressure”  ……     I’m sure New Zealanders would call that cannibalism.

And they must be dismayed by this:

It’s free …. almost!


Today,  after One hundred and fourteen  (114) days …..   that's 16.285 weeks,

my foot was freed  -…………..  almost!

This is my latest footwear accessory:  An ankle brace which I will wear for 6 weeks.  I will have to wear joggers to work – though obviously I won't be jogging anywhere for some time:

But tonight, when I got home from the Doctor's,  just for a short time, it was really wonderful to free the foot and "slip" it into the gorgeous shoes Jillie  painted for me – I'm looking forward to actually walking in them one day:


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Tuesday things….

My assistant rang me early this morning to say that there was nowhere closer than 2 miles from her polling place to park and that the line was 3 blocks long – and that was still nearly an hour before the poll opened.  At that rate she estimated she would not be at work until lunch time.   As I had PT (physio) first thing this morning I told her I would let her go at 2.30pm today so she could vote on the way home.  I do expect to see an "I voted" sticker tomorrow or I will assume she spent the afternoon in the movies!  

In my PT waiting room there is a very large sign asking people to Please Turn off Cell Phones.  My quiet reading time was interrupted when the phone of a guy sitting absolutely dead opposite this sign went off with some really hideous ring tone. 

He answered in a really loud voice and began giving advice to someone about online dating sites.  As his conversation progressed I started hoping that they would not call me in for my session until he had finished his conversation!   Apparently he joined eHarmony after discovering that whatever previous one he was a member of was full of conservative, Christian women!  (I nearly laughed out loud ).  He was unbelievably sexist.  He began discussing some friend of his who met a woman, named Lea,  he said "he told Lea that if she wanted to have a relationship with him then she had to obey his rules.  So far she has been very obedient". (now I've gone from wanting to laugh to wanting to slap him).  

He told his caller that his fiancee was having PT for "something stupid she has done".

When the poor woman came out at the end of her session I wanted to shout at her to run away.  This guy was no catch in the looks, manners or any other department that I could see.


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Ups & Downs

What a beautiful day today.  The manservant vacuumed throughout the house and then served me coffee and a cinnamon bun on our sunny deck -  all before 10am.

I did a lot yesterday -  that traipse down, and back up, the back steps with full body weight on the foot plus a few laps of the house with just a walking stick.   I felt that I achieved a lot and was pretty pleased with myself – until I went to bed.  When I took the boot off I saw that I had bruising all around my ankle!!  An uncomfortable night followed with my foot aching and feeling as though it had an extra block of wood, to the one I already have, on it.  So, it was decided I would have an easier day today. 

As I sat out in the sun I thought about how healing it can be to one's spirit.  I thought about taking the evil boot off and sunning my foot but decided the neighbourhood had enough scary sights without me adding to it.  

We have friends coming over soon for a few late afternoon drinks -  the evenings are still nice enough to sit outside and I'm really looking forward to some wine and nibbles.

On the ride to work the other morning I saw someone jogging in the park and I thought "I wish I could run"   
LOL -  I haven't  willingly  run in 30 years!! 

I have to learn to walk again yet …..  I will have ups and downs in the progress and must remind myself to not try to run before I can walk!

Probably for awhile my life will be a little like a set of escalators – every up day will have a corresponding down day…

  I took this photo in the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney, Australia.

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I’m Calm


Got this in an email …..  I would substitute the Oreos with Aussie Tim Tams …



I am passing this on to you because it definitely works, and we could

   all use a little more calmness in our lives. By following simple advice

   heard on the Dr. Phil show, you too can find inner peace. Dr Phil

   proclaimed, "The way to achieve inner peace is to finish all the things

   you have started and have never finished."

So, I looked around my house

   to see all the things I started and hadn't finished, and before leaving

   the house this morning, I finished off a bottle of White Zinfandel, a

   bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream, a package of Oreos, the remainder of my

   old Prozac prescription, the rest of the cheesecake, some Doritos, and 

   a  box of chocolates. You have no idea how good I feel right now.




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Rigor Foot

What a terrible night's sleep I had last night.  The clunky piece of wood-foot, which is now nailed onto my twig-leg, did not like its freedom from the cast.  I could not get it comfortable.  It does not "bend" at the ankle so it won't "flop" comfortably.

When the cast came off yesterday my leg reminded me of this landscape.  It was dirty, arid, scaley and had a zig-zag scar through it! 

I took this photo at Haleakala on the island of Maui.

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Walking on air – almost

I was so excited about getting the cast off this morning that I was at the doctor's 20 minutes before my appointment! 

Off came the cast and wow!  Does my leg look like a stick!  Jeez!  The calf was the size of my ankle!   Gave me a laugh to see it looking this way when it would normally be described as  "sturdy".

After 79 days in casts my foot is pretty well "set" so that it would not move upwards or point downwards – it felt like a block of wood nailed to the end of my stick leg. 

On went the airboot with all its straps and the snazzy blue button to pump up the air and the little dial for decreasing the air – incase you over-inflate!

I took about 6 steps on my own before going "ouch" – I'm not sure that it actually hurt, more likely my little twig leg had had enough.  I am "walking" with my snazzy new boot on the ground but the crutches under my arms to take some of the weight.  I get to build up a bit each day – no rush said the doctor. 

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Nearly there……

I am nearly at the end of the cast "adventure".   Sometimes the road to this last day has looked like this:  a very long road with no end in sight: 

I went into the first cast on July 18th.  I had surgery on Friday August 22nd and on Monday 25th they whacked me back into another cast.   I have had black casts, purple casts and a green cast.  Luckily none of these colours clashed terribly with my clothes.

Sometimes getting places with the cast and crutches has seemed like a trek over this:

But, I have managed to get to the other side – and with only a few falls.

Now, eleven weeks and two days later, today is the last day of the hard cast!   Tomorrow morning I will make the trip down the front steps and off to the doctor to have the cast removed and an airboot "installed".   In my mind I see myself getting into that airboot and just waltzing out of his office.  The reality is, that after that length of immobility and surgery, I will probably be hobbling out with the aid of the crutches.

What am I looking forward to …….  getting that poor leg washed and being able to sleep without being encased!!              Yippee – just one more big sleep to go!!!!!!

* Both photos were taken in Australia by me. The road is somewhere in the Northern Territory between Uluru and Alice Springs.  The "rock" is Uluru just after sunrise.  

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It’s all about the shoe..

Rain!  The very word puts dread into a cast wearer.  

I listened to yesterday's forecast with dismay……  God, I was going to have to wear a plastic bag on my leg.  And, not some fancy designer plastic bag, but a garbage bag secured with a rubber band!

So … yesterday afternoon in the office I wrapped my leg up beautifully and entertained many people as I hobbled off home:

The plastic bag is one thing but check out a close up of the stylish plastic & Velcro shoe:

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