I went for my annual physical exam last week. Like most people, this is not my favourite thing to do (especially getting my lady parts checked out), but, hey, I’ve been generally pretty healthy so far, so I have no right to complain about it.
But I do want to complain just a wee bit about two things.
One is my blood pressure. Genetics are against me here, as hypertension runs in both sides of my family, so I realize that I am only putting off the inevitable medication. Still, I’ve been trying to exercise and limit my salt and fat intake and moderate my alcohol consumption to at least slow the process down. I also check my blood pressure almost weekly at several neighbourhood pharmacies. Overall, my blood pressure seems to be averaging out at “high normal” (systolic at around 140), according to the charts. My doctor and I are watching it closely, but she hasn’t yet felt that it warrants medication.
But just a couple of days before my appointment with my doctor, I was totally excited that my bp was WAAAAY down, into the normal range. My systolic pressure of 127 was, in fact, lower than Porsche Guy’s, and he has always pissed me off with his consistent low bp. I knew that this could be a one-off, but we had just come from a lovely breakfast out and we had walked to the drugstore, so really, my bp should have been much higher. So I was hopeful that my efforts (particularly the almost daily workouts at the gym) were finally paying off.
But no. In the doctor’s office, it was back up, at 144, which is considered to be “mild hypertension”. She said that it was likely a bit elevated just by virtue of being in her office, naked with a too-small paper sheet partly covering me, but she advised me to keep checking it frequently and if it stayed up there fairly regularly over the next few months, she would now then to put me on meds.
My other complaint is my height. (We won’t even mention my weight. It IS true that muscle weighs more than fat, though, right?!) After being 5 feet 4 inches tall my entire adult life, I am apparently now 5 feet 2. According to my doctor’s assistant, I have lost 2 inches of height in a year. I didn’t believe her, so I asked her to measure me again. She still claimed I was 5 feet 2. I do not have osteoporosis, so how is this even possible?? I understand that our vertebrae do compress over time and that we do, in fact, shrink as we age, but doesn’t this usually happen when we are like in our seventies? My own mother has only lost an inch of height in the past five years, and she’s 83. I’m only 55! What is going on here?!
So of course I have been surveying all my friends and work colleagues (not yet strangers on the street, but that may come). I tell them the story, and ask them how tall they are. Then I demand that they stand back to back with me, so we can compare. And universally, EVERY SINGLE PERSON has said, “Pinklea, there is no way you are 5 feet 2 tall.” Most have said that it didn’t look like I was quite 5 feet 4 either, but more like 5 feet 3 and maybe a half.
I really don’t know what the deal is with that (although I suspect that their measuring apparatus isn’t quite as level with the floor as they think it is), but now I’m pondering all those numbers at my doctor’s office. If they can’t measure my height correctly, who’s to say that they’re measuring my bp accurately – and let’s not even go into my weight! Maybe my doctor’s office is in some kind of number time warp, where numbers dance around and tease you and do what they please so that NO measurement can ever be considered genuine.
I should buy a lottery ticket and check it while I’m there. Maybe the numbers will flip around and I’ll be a winner?