Friday, October 29, 2010

Slowing Down

I saw my new doctor the day after my last post.

I’ve been taking a high blood pressure med since Violet was born four and a half years ago, and my doctor at the time practically patted herself on the back when she called it “well-controlled with a low dose.” My doctor was about 15 minutes from retirement back then, and she spent a lot of time going off on tangents while I listened politely. She was allergic to scented products, yet for her birthday, her husband always bought her flowery bath bubbles. We shook our heads at those silly people who like to wear perfume, and don’t forget about the hairspray and the body lotions. What is this world coming to? I didn’t mind not being the focus of the appointments because I hate going to the doctor.

I thought maybe I’d go off the blood pressure med after finally losing the baby weight that had become more like preschool pounds (I've lost 36 pounds this year!), but my next doctor warned me that heredity was a big factor, so I shouldn’t get my hopes up. He was my first same-age doctor. He projected the appropriate amount of caring while efficiently running through the appointments. He always had his laptop open for reference, and I did find him to be informative, but I wondered if he could save us some trouble by sending me the links. What sites do doctors look at, anyway?

Due to an insurance change, I had to make an appointment with a new doctor this month, and I wasn’t looking forward to it. I knew something was wrong with my blood pressure - there were signs - and I figured I needed a stronger prescription. Ever since my car exploded, I’ve been feeling . . . off. I mean, I already had my hands full with the demise of my marriage and working as much as I could, but I was sure I was fine. One clue that I wasn’t managing as well as I thought was my hyperactivity. I have not sat still to think or read or watch TV or have a conversation with a friend in a couple months. I often eat standing up. When I’m sitting, I’m working. I take my personal calls while I’m cleaning house or walking breathlessly uphill.

I do like the new doctor. He’s focused and a little socially awkward. He’s one of those people who takes long, silent pauses before answering questions. I recognized the thoughtful look on his face. When Violet’s asthma was out of control, her doctor got the same I’m-considering-all-the-options-maybe-I should-just-send-you-to-the-hospital look. I described the kind of stress I was under. He asked me if I was in any danger. He offered resources. He started to do a psych evaluation then stopped, declaring it unnecessary. At first, he wouldn’t tell me the numbers. The nurse hadn’t either. 180/110. I left the office with the promise to rest and return weekly, a new prescription, and a mandated counseling referral. His prognosis was the numbers would come down with a reduction in stress – he advised me to find more outlets. He described my condition as 50% genes - 50% stress.

Last week’s prescription made me sick. At this week’s check-in, there were more tests and the numbers were still disappointingly high: 180/100. I left with another prescription that makes me tired but not sick. I am resting more. My husband and I are still in the same house, so he is trying to help by cooking healthy dinners and covering the kids in the morning when he can. My appointments have slowed, and I’m on a mission to take breaks, despite the colossal tasks on the horizon – such as finding affordable insurance once the divorce is final. To relax, I sit and read the newspaper in the morning. I lie in bed with the kids at night and talk. I watch TV with my feet up.  I do my work in bed.

The kids are a handful, but they continue to make me smile. They’re my anti-venom. Daisy lost another tooth at school yesterday. When I picked her up, she excitedly made her announcement then switched to a more casual tone to clarify she wasn’t going to “live her whole life based on the tooth fairy.” I guess her friend thought she was making too big of a deal of what must be her sixth lost tooth by now.

Whenever I take a work call at home, Violet asks, “Who’s dat?” She must hear something in my voice because she only wants to know when it’s a work call. Every time I explain how I know the person, she asks, “Is it a boy ol ghoul?” If I say girl, she wants to know her name and whether she wears dresses. If I say boy, she’s usually silent. The other day after a boy call, she added, “Boys aren’t fancy . . . and dere not handsome.” I had to tease her because I know her better than that. Really? You don’t think ANYONE is handsome? Her blushing grin confirmed my suspicions.


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