Monday, November 12, 2012

The Heart of the Matter

I've been a lot more self-revealing on this blog as of late. I'm not sure if it's because of a drive and desire to, or just that I've gotten more mature. Okay, it's probably not the last option, but since my birthday is coming up - the birthday that will firmly entrench me as approaching my mid-forties - I have become more transparent and introspective.

Case in point...

A little over a month ago, I was diagnosed with Secondary Hypertension. I had gone to see my physician because of a pain/pressure I felt just below my ribcage. When she ran a routine test of blood pressure it yielded a reading of 160/105. Bear in mind that this wasn't taken after I'd done a 5K or anything. The most strenuous or stressful moment I'd had that morning was trying to make sure the blueberry muffins didn't burn.

I had no clue what those numbers represented. From what I've been told, high blood pressure tends to run in my family. When I'd go to the doctor and get a reading that was elevated, I tended to just dismiss it as those wacky Lemmons genes up to their zany tricks again. Given the look of alarm on the doctor's face this morning, I quickly figured out that unlike in academia, the higher numbers didn't mean I'd gotten a GOOD score. She ordered a nurse to come in and suck out several vials of blood so that they could run some tests and see what else was screwed up with me. After that, she gave me a prescription for some tiny little pills that were supposed to help regulate the fact my heart was, apparently, messed up.

So of course, I now began to become hyper-aware of every twinge of pain, tingle, or itch on or in me. My Internet browser history revealed a growing love affair with WebMD. And the weeks that followed saw me becoming more Mulder-like in trying to find a conspiracy behind every unexplained ache or odd feeling.

Ashley, bless her heart, has tried to be supportive while simultaneously attempting to bring my paranoia back down to earth by telling me, "You're the same person you were before you found out about this. Nothing about you has changed. You now simply know more than you did." And while she is right and I agree that nothing inherently about me has changed (I haven't sprouted wings, and I still identify myself as a Sarcastic American), some things about me have changed.

I'm becoming more aware of my body, my antiquated biological age, and some of the issues that can come with getting older. But just because I'm starting to know about the possibility of what could happen, it doesn't mean I should become obsessed with it. This, like all my other Magical Medical Mystery Maladies, are just part of me. Any of these could wipe me out just as easily as a random falling meteor could - although being struck down by a meteor would make for a killer tombstone inscription.

I could easily obsess and distress over this, but why would I? Why should I? I don't  need the makeup of my heart to change; I just need to be more aware of what is going on inside my heart.

And yes: there's a HUGE spiritual parallel to be found in that. Go on. Go grab some coffee, and come back to mull it over for a bit.

1 comment:

simplebrowser said...

you drink ten thousand cups of coffee a week, was hypertension really a surprise?