Saturday, 4 May 2013

And to think I thought it was Tony Abbott & Andrew Bolt!

I thought I was just getting madder than usual at the state of politics and media in Australia. The unchallenged lies, no policies, and running away from interviews of that great buffoon, Tony Abbott, enabled and encouraged by our media, with the strings of The Puppet Master, Rupert Murdoch jerking more enthusasiastically than a 16-year-old boy.  Thought my heart was racing due to outrage that Andrew Bolt, Ray Hadley and Alan Jones even are.  Thought my vision was getting a bit blurry at the mere thought of Christopher Pyne ever becoming our Education Minister and Joe "Eleventy" Hockey becoming Treasurer.  Thought my slight dizziness and overwhelming fatigue was brought on by trying to explain to my mum for the umpteenth time that her assertions about asylum seekers are just plain wrong and that just because she heard it on 3AW doesn't make it true.  And I thought that the fluid pooling around my ankles was just another thing of menopause.  So I decided a few weeks ago that it was time to go and see an expert in wimminz thingz because I had to deal with this stuff directly.

And boy, was I wrong. These things were not the reason for my symptoms at all.  Well, not most of them anyway.

It was a natural and logical choice to choose the Jean Hailes Foundation for Women.  Wimminz Stuff.  It's what they do. And they do it well. I was lucky enough to get an appointment the week after I rang. And doubly lucky to be introduced to a most excellent doctor, Dr Geraldine Edgely.  Geraldine was thorough, going over my family history, my symptoms, etc. and eventually pronounced me a walking cliche of menopause. Nothing like feeling individual!

A thorough physical examination, breast examination and Pap smear were done.

Then she took my blood pressure.  The reading was 170/100 mmHg.  She took it again at the end of the consult just in case I was suffering a bit of white coat anxiety but it was still way up there.  In case 170/100 mmHg means nothing to you, take a look at this:

Yep. Hypertension. Quite bad hypertension. Could-stroke-out-at-any-time bad hypertension.  WTF? I've always had quite low blood pressure.  In fact in my early 20s I was treated for hypotension (low BP) and my readings were always in the low-normal range.  So why do I suddenly have Stage 2 hypertension? I have no idea. Well yeah, bit fat, but not massive. Jeez.

Yep. This is pretty much how it is.
Geraldine said we'd put the menopause stuff to one side because I needed to deal with the BP issue urgently and for that I needed to go see my GP stat.  In the meantime, she gave me a script for Coversyl and told me that I needed to lose weight urgently and start exercising.  Exercising! I'm too busy to exercise. And besides, exercise!

But I filled the script, went home and immediately stopped eating all the things I love so dearly - no biscuits, lollies, chocolates, cakes - you get the idea.  And I dusted off the treadmill. Literally. It was covered in cobwebs!

After four days on the Coversyl I was feeling a bit weird.  I had a buzzing feeling all over my body (this is known as paraesthesia).  Not unpleasant, a bit like having 3 glasses of wine before you tip over into officially drunk. But I was pretty sure this wasn't how I was meant to be feeling. So I went to see my GP who decided I needed to do home BP monitoring for a week to see if my BP really was that bad.  He sent me home with one of these:
See that reading? In my dreams!
Readings six times a day (3 x am 3 x pm) for a week.  I did it for five days. My lowest reading for the time was 130/99 mmHg and my highest 165/115 mmHg. Bad.  So I rang Dr Steve again and told him. He said "hmmm". He says that a lot. Then he said "now I'm inclined to believe you. Come on in".  He put me on Micardis and repeated the lose weight and exercise mantra.  Yeah, yeah, I get it, alright? Sheesh.

So here we are.  Horribly hypertensive.  I've had a raft of blood tests, which have all returned normal, my vitamin D is horribly low at 24 and I'm taking a liquid supplement (liquid vitamin D! Tastes like sunshine!), and a women's multivitamin (Dr Steve recommended Swisse Women's Ultivite).  I got very excited in Chemist Warehouse at all the things!

I've also had a thyroid ultrasound, a PV ultrasound, and a MSU (mid-stream urine) - all totally normal. Cholesterol a little up but not alarmingly, and I'm not pre-diabetic.

Hypertension is generally a symptom rather than a condition of itself.

But it appears I have idiopathic or essential hypertension.  My blood is struggling to push through severely narrowed arteries.  It's not good.

So here we are. I'm getting on the treadmill for 30 minutes each day (it probably should be more but it's just really hard to find that time! I'm self-employed, remember? No work - no $$), I'm eating much better and, importantly, much less.  No snacks.  I had my first glass of wine last night - having gone three weeks without any alcohol.  And I probably should stop watching Q&A!

It seems that I've walked right up to the line. And I don't want to cross it.

Menopause stuff can wait. I'm too busy trying to avoid a total eclipse of the heart!