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.



Mari said...

I'm taking my pills! I even have a pill box like you mentioned. I don't take too many - a BP med, a vitamin, an allergy pill and some alfalfa pills, but that organizing box helps!

Rebecca S. said...

I don't have a box yet, but I was told after a recent trip to the dental hygenist to start taking Vitamin B and C for my gums. I suppose there are certain health conditions you just don't mess around with, and I would 'take a pill' if I truly needed one. I would, however, research herbal remedies, too, and consult a herbal practitioner to see if there was anything else I could take or do, because, the truth be told, I don't like taking pills!

Tabor said...

I am very lucky (and all it is is luck) that at 65 do not take any medications although I have been told I need more Vitamin D. For a while I took a supplement D...but like you I really should get an 'old person' reminder. My advice to you...TAKE THE will keep your arteries from irreparable damage in years to come.

Auntie sezzzzzz... said...

Avoiding? Nope. Never avoided.

Have 2 pharmacists in the family, and owned a corner drug store for years. Son owns it now. Never avoided necessary meds. :-)

Best of luck with the monster storm. To all of us. :-)


Abby said...

I pop all kinds of "supplements", but no prescription pills. Those are for old people (KIDDING!)

It's true, I wouldn't have pegged you as hypertensive, you don't "look" the part. But then, neither does my mom. She's been on the pill as long as I can remember.

Georgiana Daniels said...

It's hard to accept that our bodies aren't what they used to be. I'm right there with you, doing things I know I must but fighting it until I simply can't.

You're doing the right thing.

Betty W said...

OH yes, I've been popping the BP pill for years now. But still no pill box. :) It is another step of getting older, I refuse to take....yet. But I know it's coming. :)

Hilary said...

Aren't we lucky that there are pills to fix what occasionally goes wrong with out bodied? Frank takes meds ever since his heart attack about 9 years ago. I bought him one of those pill cases once. He refused it claiming that he never forgets to take his pills but he might forget to fill the case. ;)

SuziCate said...

It's hard to swallow (sorry for the pun!) someone telling you to take a pill. When it's our choice like for seasonal allergies it's easier to accept. Still for your health, please take the pill! Hope you are faring well through the storm. It's gotten a bit rougher here now the storm has turned, but still not too bad.

Unknown said...

I'm taking the pills too. I never had problems with my blood pressure up until a year ago. I am now taking the high blood pressure meds on top of Vitamin D and allergy meds and heart pain meds and anti-depressants. I feel like a walking pharmacuetical company.

Linda Hensley said...

There's nothing like high BP to do a number on our egos, is there? I went through the same mental process when dealing with thyroid issues. I took my pill while working on my diet and controlling my stress and eventually got off of it -- which my doctor told me wouldn't happen when I first saw him. Good luck keeping your BP down! And keep writing!

Buckeroomama said...

Both my parents and my in-laws have those pill boxes. Hubby and I take supplements, but thankfully, no prescription meds for now.

Barb said...

Take the pill Anita. Do you have the Wii cuff that works on the iPhone or iPad? It's simple and charts your pressure - you can show the DR when you go for a checkup. Hey - might as well have fun with it! (PS I looked at the stones after reading your comment. Yikes!)

Rob-bear said...

I take eight pills in the morning; two of them for my elevated blood pressure. They're just pills, but they make my life safer and better. And while I'm not as energetic as you, I am losing weight, and getting stronger.

I hope you take your pill(s), and stay well.

Peaches Ledwidge said...

It's hard to accept the changes in our bodies.

Jen said...

It took me awhile to accept that I would forever have to use my inhaler or get sick. I hate depending on meds, too.

Anita said...

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.


Anonymous said...

Thankfully, I've never needed medication...but then again..I don't go to doctors either :)
Yep-scold me. I think because my mom was turned into a prescription addict by "well-meaning" doctors who prescribed a pharmacy of drugs for her..and never really gave her the follow-up care she needed, I've become a "bit reluctant" to trust in modern medicine. I do eat only healthy natural foods, rarely if ever east pre-packaged processed food, rarely ever eat can food, never drink soda,don't smoke...exercise...and try to follow Biblical principals for life. So far so good. I've even gotten through menopause and all the associated "stuff" without any drugs-having taken care of myself with fresh natural herbs (not processed ones)and foods. But that life-style is not for everyone, I know. You are brave-I know I wouldn't take the pill.

Cloudia said...

Thank you for caring and sharing

Aloha from Waikiki, Friend
Comfort Spiral

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yonca said...

I'm taking blood presure pills. Also a vitamin. But my mom uses more than one pill so this pill box is a necessity for her. Have a great weekend Anita.xx

Out on the prairie said...

Those little pills that keep us going are tough to say yes to sometimes.

Arlee Bird said...

I've got a pill box just like the one pictured except it's blue. I tend to forget whether or not I've taken my meds and the box does a great job of keeping me straight. Fortunately I've been blessed with excellent blood pressure, but I have to take pills for plenty of other things. Guess I should be thankful for the pills, but I'd be more thankful if I didn't have to take any meds at all.

Tossing It Out

Liz Mays said...

Sorry it took me so long to come over from Hilary's, but I'm glad I did because we've had such similar experience with this! Mine was high too at the doctor and they wanted me on meds.

Now I actually suspected it was high because I'd been holding on to extra weight for a while, so I decided that was it and I'd get serious about the weight loss. Then if that didn't work, I'd take meds. Fortunately for me, that was it and my BP has dropped down to normal again, but hypertension runs in the family so I know I'll eventually end up on meds. I just was able to push it a little further into the future.

PS. So nice to meet you! :)

RANdom said...

My story was very similar to yours. My NP at one point was clocking in at 177/123...crazy high. High BP runs in my family so it wasn't a surprise that I'd wind up with it too.

Nonetheless, I was reluctant to become a "pill taker". I tried everything: less salt, better diet, exercise, herbal remedies, etc. etc. and nothing worked. Finally I capitulated and it's not bad at all. One little pill in the AM does the trick and now my BP is normal,

It's good to eat bananas, leafy veggies or drink coconut water to replenish your potassium levels though once you start "taking the pill".

Best wishes for wonderful health!

Hilary said...

I've got a pill minder for all of the vitamins and supplements my doctor wants me to take, and you know the difference in age between us. While I don't have any meds that I have to take, it was an eye opener to have practically the entire alphabet in pill form in the palm of my hand. I can empathize with where you're coming form, but I'm glad that you're taking care of yourself.