Yours truly has a big anniversary coming up Saturday. It's an anniversary I hope none of you have to celebrate, but one that I'm most thankful to God for. February 7th is my 5 year anniversary of being cancer free. Praise God!
I'm planning a celebratory blog on Saturday, so today I'm going in a different direction. You see, because of my anniversary date, I got the pleasure this week of going for a visit with my physician. Not my oncologist, mind you, just my good old run-of-the-mill doctor who usually tells me I'm too fat and need to give up sodas. My last visit, however, was not so routine.
After the obligatory weighing and charting to provide later ammunition for the face-to-face, the nurse cuffs me up for a blood pressure reading and starts with the series of probing questions vital for any accurate medical examination.
Nurse: 'Have you had any unexplained or unexpected falls since your last visit?'
Tony C: 'Hmmm, none that I didn't plan ahead of time or clearly seen coming...what with toys always on the floor at my house with a 1 year old running around.'
Nurse (unamused): 'So that's a no?'
Tony C: 'Safe to say.'
He jabs the thermometer in my mouth rather roughly, and the blood pressure cuff begins to inflate around my left arm. I've yet to make eye contact with the nurse because for some reason he refuses to look me in the face. Hey...I didn't weigh that much!
Pssssst. The cuff deflates. 'Oh my. Let me do that again,' he says and reinflates the cuff. I couldn't see the monitor, but I watched him write down the time and 192/125. What! No way!
'Try to relax, go to your happy place, and I'll take this again.'
Relax! Happy place! I'm on the doorstep of a stroke and Gaylord Focker here is wanting me to relax. The cuff reinflates. Happy place...happy place...breathe deep...happy place...just where in the heck IS my happy place!
Psssssst. The cuff deflates again....194/126. Oh God...this is it Elizabeth...I'm coming to join you and Fred!
'We have a problem. Wait right here.' My first instinct was to go ahead and start undressing for some reason. But I resisted and tried to focus on the problem at hand. Hey, I beat cancer...I'm not letting a regular diet that includes Twinkies take me out. In comes my doctor...
'Mr. C, have you taken your blood pressure medicine today?'
'Are you unusually stressed about anything today?'
Now my mind was racing through a number of irritations that chap me raw from my recent rants about the New Age nonsense, to another trillion dollar plan...trillion dollars! That's like 32,000 years in seconds, and Oprah, that idiot Blagojevich and Hamas! Oh don't even get me started on that bunch of...
'Well, I have no choice but send you to the Emergency Room. We've got to get your blood pressure down immediately.'
Well that's just great. The ER...the most inept place on the planet for a quasi-medical emergency. I immediately assessed my appendix had a 50/50 chance of staying with me. For some odd reason, that seems to be the end result of most all ER visits...something's got to be taken out to make you better.
For your sake, I'll fast forward over an hour that includes an argument about me riding in a wheelchair, not having my cellphone and all the administrative pish posh... and get to me, in a dark room trying to relax and thinking about a recent blog I read that referenced a favorite Seinfeld episode featuring Frank Costanza and 'Serenity Now!' So...I'm laughing to myself.
Another hour, several calls with a very irritated Mrs. Tony C Today (who was none too happy I didn't have my cellphone) and a bag of medicated intravenous fluids, I'm on my way out the door with literally a poke full of medications and instructions. 142/96. Still not good...but apparently releasable by current medical liability standards.
When I finally get home and empty the contents of the brown paper bag onto our kitchen counter, there are no fewer than 6 bottles. My wife, who was absolutely beside herself and torn between worry and aggravation, lines each bottle up and we proceed to read the labels.
Take twice a day for BP...Take once in morning for BP...Do not crush, something, something Potassium...Take twice a day for fluid...Take twice a day for nerves...
Dear Lord...I'm officially old. I know I've heard my 94 year old grandmother refer to her 'tassium, fluid and nerve pills a hundred times if I've heard it once. Now, I was looking at all three...for me...and I'm 50 years younger to almost the day.
'I'm not taking a nerve pill! Just what the heck is that?'
'You'll take what they gave you to take! Who are you to go and decide what you will and what you won't...'
'THAT right THERE is why I have high blood pressure! Telling me what I...I'm a grown man...'
'Now you wait right there Krispy Kreme boy. You're not blaming this on me. That's not fair. I try to take care of you, but you...you do what you want...forgetting the consequences, me, your daughters!'
Man, I really hate it when she's right...but I love her like no other.
So here I am. Cancer survivor of 5 years. Survived car wrecks, parachute jumps, deep water SCUBA, being stabbed, shot at and a number of other tomfooleries that should have laid me waste many times over. Humbled by my obsession for golden sponge cake, creme-filled pastries.
As of today, my blood pressure is much better, and I've decided to eat much healthier...but... between you and me...I'm still not taking that stinking nerve pill...whatever that is.