I am nowhere near close to finished in my life’s work of just 37 years on this big beautiful blue-green planet. But Monday, January 5th, I almost answered another call, one of death and eternal sleep. It wasn’t like any other morning. I hadn’t slept much during the night and my head kept pounding away as the pain increased. By morning I was barely in condition to get up and move, much less get my girls ready for school.
I remember taking two aspirin as soon as I got to my feet. Only later on do I find out that automatic response may have saved my brain and quality of life. I remember every little thing setting me off which made no sense at all. I remember the only relief was laying back down. I remember staring at my blood pressure monitor as the numbers popped up. I remember calling my husband for help. I remember thinking that this could be it, my end and feeling helpless to prevent it just as my ability to clearly think slowly ebbed away.
My blood pressure had skyrocketed. By the time we made it to the hospital, it was 250/127. I can not tell you what I was thinking. I wasn’t able to think much. My husband says I was incoherent and my speech was slurred. In those moments, what I do recall is that I hurt all over and that thinking was so very hard to do. I simply existed, without much thought.
I lost connection with time. About five hours after being admitted, I got to see my husband. They had already given me the first shot of the pressure reducing medicine. It felt like I had just gotten in, not five hours had passed. I remember being sleepy and then having panic attacks and being unable to communicate because there were no words left, no energy to speak. I remember one though that set off several panic attacks, that a heart attack at that moment would be so very painful and more likely un-noticed. It was the only thought that keep me fighting to move in some way and not drift off to sleep.
Good news to all this is, I’m now on medication for blood pressure. I came close to having a stroke, real close. If I had waited, had been stubborn about this, I would not be here to type this out. It’s still a fight to bring it down and there will be a lot of changes and adjustments to this. I’m terrified to smoke one more cigarette. All I can think is that it would be that straw that broke the camel’s back. I never really drank. Christmas day was the first time since, what…summer? I think I might have had about two or three that summer. I’m just not a big drinker at all. But coffee, now I love my coffee. I’m having to let go of coffee. That’s my breakfast I can’t have anymore.
Yeah, I’ve got some weight on me that I need to lose. But it’s been fairly stable for the last four years. I’ve never cooked with salt. It’s just bad practice to do so and it ends up over salting the food. I am a scratch cook. I do home-made meals and avoid prepackaged items as much as possible. Have you ever added up how much salt are in all those items? It will shock you.
So how’d I end up with high blood pressure? I have no idea. Turns out, other than the weight and blood pressure of course, I am otherwise healthy. I did get asked a lot about family medical history but it’s a question I can’t answer. I have no idea. Chances are, someone in my family tree had it too. Chances are, it’s the random toss of the die. Ultimately, it’s just a trivia question. The issue I face from now on is dealing with the changes this makes in my life. But more than that, how I am going to live each day as if it was my last.
I almost died. I’m glad I survived. I have a lot of things to do. Some things that I’ve learned, I’m not ready to talk about yet.