Sunday, October 28, 2012

Take the Pill

I’m prehypertensive… without my pill. With my pill, my blood pressure is normal. It took me a while to be convinced to take the pill…
_ _ _  _ _

When the nurse takes my blood pressure and it is 140 something over 80 something, I’m surprised, but not concerned.

“It’s the white coat effect,” I tell her. “My blood pressure always rises when someone is taking it.”

My doctor comes in and looks at my chart. Five minutes later, she casually takes my blood pressure again as we’re talking; I’m hardly aware. It’s slightly lower – about 138 over 86. She’s concerned.

“I don’t like this,” she tells me. “I’d like to put you on a mild medication.”


(Meee, who has taken nothing stronger than a seasonal allergy pill or liquid, an over the counter pain reliever, Tums, a vitamin, and a birth control pill?)

“Is this something that, once I start taking it, I’ll have to take for the rest of my life?”

“Yes. You're not overweight and there are no other health factors.”

The excuse:

“I am so stressed these days; I committed to letting two of my daughters play lacrosse and realized later that they practice at different times; I’m in two carpools, which is helpful, but there have been days where I’ve had to go back and forth and back and forth and I have some other things going on too; they’ll be finished soon and school will be over shortly after that; plus, I’m going on vacation; I’m sure the numbers will come down; I’m sure it’s stress.”

It wasn’t stress. The numbers didn’t come down.

After that first appointment, I stepped up the tennis and running a notch. I paid more attention to my salt intake. I told every friend I have about my blood pressure reading… over and over and over. I was still trying to convince myself that the numbers would go down; that when I took the reading at home, I’d be nervous and that that’s why the numbers wouldn’t go down. I’d also looked on the Internet for the numbers that are considered too high. When I found 140 over 90 as the limit, I said, “Oh, I’m still normal. I’m under that.”

I told the Internet info story to a friend who’d had a bypass. He pleaded with me to take the pill.  “Why not get your pressure down, so that you’ll have room to go up and down within the normal range.” Then he told me his fantastic blood pressure numbers and cholesterol numbers and how much he exercises and how well he eats and how good he feels.

He takes his pills.

Another friend suggested I take my blood pressure multiple times every day; assuming that it would become routine and that my nerves would settle down; therefore, eventually getting an accurate reading. She was hopeful, along with me, that this was a phase.

It didn’t work. Every time I took my blood pressure, the numbers got higher and higher. Finally, she said (which she probably thought from the beginning), “Anita, take the Pill.”

So I take the pill.

It took a while to accept being a person who needs a pill. Recently, I was advised to take another pill in addition to my “fluid pill” (as my mother calls it), so now I add vitamin D. Occasionally, I slip in an allergy pill.

All these pills… I needed a system. During the weekly Target visit, I found a 7 day pill box. It seemed so big. I didn’t buy it. Next weekly trip, I bought it. One of my kids said, “Oh Mommy, that’s for old people.”

I laughed with her, but was thinking, better old than dead. Live long enough, and you too, will need a pill box.

Seriously, I suppose it’s hard to experience the aging of the body, or the realization that you’ve inherited that “bad gene,” but, put your pride aside, make yet “another trip” to the doctor (as many as it takes), follow recommendations, and get your body fixed.

Take the pill.

How about you? Are you avoiding a necessary pill or something else that will improve your health?

11/1/12 - I may have given the impression that I’m reluctant to take my pill. I’m not. I’m thankful to have it.

Initially, I “was” reluctant and my doctor held off on prescribing them for a couple months because my numbers were “pre” hypertensive and not risky. On my subsequent visit, I knew it was the right thing to do; I took the prescription and got it filled.
I’m thankful to my friends who helped me realize that, relatively speaking, it is not as big a deal as I thought it was after that “first” doctor’s visit. And I thank you, my blog friends, for your care and concern.

This post has the honor of being selected as a Post of the Week by Hilary at The Smitten Image. Visit her blog to enjoy the best "feels like you're there" nature photography.


Friday, October 12, 2012

The Mother-Child Bond: Too Strong?

It was awkward; listening to Dad say, “Children usually love their mothers more than their fathers. I know you love your mama more. It’s okay.”

I was a child then, and he must have been having a pensive moment, or perhaps he’d recently witnessed a display of affection between Mom and me. I’ll never know why he said that because I didn’t ask. I guess I didn’t want to, because my childhood definition of love would have deemed him correct, and I couldn’t bear to let him know.
The mother-child bond that my dad noticed - is it innate? Does a child cling to his or her mother based on the familiarity of being in the womb, moving with her 24 – 7, listening to the sound of her voice?

Adoption dispels that theory, so maybe it’s partly the softness of Mom’s body and riding her hip as a toddler; a hip perfectly proportioned with her arm and elbow, allowing Baby to fit cozily and comfortably in the core of Mom’s side.

Or… maybe it’s the helicopter we fly over them; taking care of their every need! Who wouldn’t love such a person?

I’m thinking of this bond because it appears to be the lifeline of many women; motherhood – the thing that dictates entire lives; the thing that gives identity, seemingly, more than any other role a woman plays, including “self.” Who were we before we became mothers?
So that I don’t mislead you, this is not criticism or a suggestion that you love your child too much - if there is such a thing. After all, if we were not created to want to procreate, there’d be no people, no us.

These thoughts stem from an article by Tina Brown (for NPR) who recommended in her Must Reads series, an article by Katie Roiphe in Financial Times titled Disappearing Moms. In Brown’s article, she quotes Roiphe, who thinks that women who use pictures of their children as their facebook profile pic, is “effacement,” erasing themselves. Immediately, I began to sum up how many moms I know on facebook who do this; not that I share her opinion.
Is this an issue?

I thought about it, scribbled down a few notes, and then searched for more on the subject. I read Roiphe’s article and also Googled “facebook mom profile.” It led to a few links, one of which was a question by a single woman complaining that her girlfriend fills her facebook with her kids’ pictures and that her cell phone has a recorded voicemail message by the kids.
(Remember that Girls: having your 4 year old record your answering machine message? I plead “not guilty.”)

The comments were irate. Women accused her of being jealous and unaware of what it feels like to be a mother. The comments were similar on Roiphe’s article; albeit, a more sophisticated anger.
“Oops,” I said to myself. I had similar thoughts when I was single without kids.

During my late 20s to early 30s, I had a best friend who had a young daughter and it was hard to understand why she did everything for her child (exempting the husband from duty); why she had to take the child everywhere instead of leaving her home with the husband/daddy sometimes. I was fine with her being married, having responsibilities, and needing family time, but it was hard to see her unfulfilled; not that I was fulfilled either – but that’s another story. There were times when I wanted her undivided attention; when I was annoyed to have an abrupt interruption in our conversation because she and/or her daughter decided that they needed to start a conversation in the middle of hers and mine. I was single without kids… what did I know?
Now I get it. I know how hard it is to take care of young kids and to find time to do personal things. However, some women seem to be fine with the total mother role. Are they the ones who post pictures of the kids on their profile?

Again, is this an issue?

A few of the responses to Roiphe’s article were from women who listed all the other things they do (their many interests and job responsibilities), in addition to saying that their child/children is top priority. They are annoyed at the constant evaluation of the lives of women, especially when it pertains to motherhood and how it affects the other aspects of their lives.

I think this can be an issue for some. I  also think it’s okay for people to raise questions and to make observations about the lives of others; be it reasonable (hopefully), ridiculous, or anything in between. It prompts us to stretch as we assess our thoughts and situations, enabling us to change or not to change.

Tact is good, though.

Do you think the enormous amount of attention paid to women’s psychological issues is helpful or hurtful?  Do you have a specific thought about facebook profile images?

Thanks jt.