A BP Saga with (Coke) Zero Pressure
Recounting a recent adventure in White Coat Land
By Ed Goldman
But BP means something else if you’ve ever experienced blood pressure challenges or know someone who has—I presume I’ve now included everyone in North America. It’s that mandatory medical statistic you or someone you know dreads having measured before or during a doctor appointment.
There Will Be Blood Pressure
I’ve tried doing various relaxation exercises to stem the rise of my numbers before I go to the appointment, including deep breathing, meditating, stretching and sobbing. But—as it can be said of a group of Generation Z video gamers—none of them works. After drinking too much coffee and navigating my way through traffic, I usually arrive at the physician’s lair panting with something akin to post-teen angst. This is when the office nurse immediately takes my blood pressure and seems genuinely surprised when it sets off alarms, shuts off electricity for an entire block and provokes sensitive neighborhood Pomeranians to yip hysterically. (They also do this when a leaf falls off a tree, as you know.)
“Okay. I’ll be back in five minutes.”
“I meant in a few weeks,” I clarify.
“Ha-ha, Mister Goldman.”
“In the REM cycle, if I’m not imposing,” I qualify.
“I don’t think you get what we—”
In years past, I was able to exercise my way out of an elevated BP verdict— until cause and effect reared their rational, cojoined ugly heads. Which is to say: as I lowered my exercise frequency I simultaneously watched my BP rise.
Recently, some blood work suggested it may be time to think about slightly upping the dose or finding a new family doctor. But the latter logic strikes me as the kind used by someone who says he’s read so much about how cigarettes can cause cancer, he’s decided to give up reading.
So I headed to the pharmacy to pick up the new prescription. To congratulate myself on following the rules, I also filled up the car and bought Twinkies and Coke Zero.