A kick up the arse

So I’m now on pills for my blood pressure and next Tuesday they take blood to check my liver and kidneys are functioning correctly, and to see what my cholesterol level is at the moment.

Then, later that day, I get an ECG.

It’s all a bit… much really. As I feel fine but the numbers don’t lie.

The disappointing thing, the thing that really fucks me off, is that for the past two weeks I’d been careful with my diet, cut out as much salt as I could, and managed a few short walks (still not enough I know but my knee still isn’t 100%), yet my blood pressure went up!

Edit: Read on at your peril, it’s a bit maudlin and ranty and ‘teenage angsty’. Don’t say you weren’t warned. The short version is, “I’m fine, I’ll be fine, I just need a moan”.

Yes there is a lot going on at the moment; the kitchen for one thing, the ongoing saga with the dickhead taxi driver, and the company I work for has just been acquired (yesterday but they only announced it publically today). But despite all that, I thought I was handling everything OK for, if there is one thing I know quite well, it’s my own mind.

Anyway, nothing I can do now but change my life. Get my diet sorted, figure out a way to get some more exercise – please, don’t YOU lot suggest swimming, swimming is a royal pain in the ass, but maybe needs must, eh? – and generally look long and hard at myself.

I’m 34, embarassed, angry, ashamed and a little scared. I mean I know I’ll be fine, that it is probably my lifestyle that is to blame (although part of me hopes that it’s something else, you know, something that means it’s not my fault, how pathetic is that?!) and this is definitely one of those moments when you realise that things must change.

So what did I do tonight, whilst I sat and watched the football (yeah, SAT ON MY ARSE), I had three Kit-Kats. I wasn’t really that hungry but they were there in front of me.

Enough of this though, enough of this self-loathing nonsense, I’m past all that (a LONG time past it) and it’s certainly a long time since I wrote anything like this here (self-censorship isn’t all it’s cracked up to be), so enough. This is not me, not anymore. I will not let myself be dragged back down. I just need to figure a way back UP.

18 comments

  1. Blood pressure also has a lot to do with the genes you were dealt with at conception so don’t beat yourself up too hard about this. But yeah it isn’t bloody fair and you are fully entitled to have a moan about it big style. And then do all the things you said about watching diets, exercise and trying to be all chilled out. My boss has been on high blood pressure tablets since her mid twenties so you are not alone in being too young to have this.

  2. You have to look after yourself Gordon πŸ™‚
    I know swimming is a pest, but once you swim in Pest it might help you relax:

    I have a very good friend who has been taking blood pressure regulating medication ever since I first met him in 1991. He eats normally and does a bit of moderate exercise and really is absolutely fine.
    It is grossly unfair and, yep, you are way, way too young to have it.
    It is so easy to let yourself get wound up about things (I speak from experience as something of an expert in becoming stressed out at the slightest hint of hassle) and I have no handy hints on how to disengage emotionally – but all your regular readers here care about your wellbeing. Focus on the good things you have to look forward to πŸ™‚

  3. onya gordon… i reckon the first step is just HAVE that moan and get it all out there and acknowledge what’s been bugging ya. Once it’s out it somehow seems easier to form a plan o’ ACTION! you’re a smart fella and have no doubt you will tackle this with great style and dilligence!

    (give us a shout if you ever fancy a chinwag about this stuff!)

  4. As far as I can tell, blood pressure monitors are very good at generating random numbers which bear little or no relation to previous lifestyle. Don’t torture yourself over it.

    The diet thing might make a difference though. It takes a stupid amount of willpower, and a sudden desire to eat an endless stream of tedious foodstuffs instead of tasty chocolate, but it can be done.

    And yes, fuck swimming.

  5. 34 is very young to have high blood pressure, but there are plenty of men who have heart attacks in their early 40s. I’m glad your GP is on the ball with this one.

    Lifestyle changes will only make a small change in blood pressure if it is up. Taking those pills is the only way it is going to go down so just take them like a good boy and live longer. πŸ™‚

  6. My ex had something known as ‘white coat syndrome’ which meant that having to have his blood pressure taken made his blood pressure shoot up. This was finally proven by his wearing a blood pressure monitor for 24hrs which took his BP once an hour or so. It was still higher than it ought to be but not nearly as bad as it had always seemed in the GPs. I am sure that the advice you have been given is good, but perhaps it might be worth finding out whether this is happening to you too?

  7. Awwww thanks everyone. Now (in the cold light of the morning) I feel a bit daft! I do appreciate all your thoughts and suggestions.

    I WILL take the pills, and yeah if it’s a genetic thing then there is bugger all I can do about it but regardless I’ll need to smarten up my ideas, eh!

    It’s not the end of the world, I have a loving gorgeous wife who takes care of me, a wonderful supportive family and the best friends a man can buy (hang on, that last bit isn’t right)… I’m really not that worked up about this just a bit… “meh”.

    However I’ll gladly accept any other lovely thoughts that anyone wants to send my way, I’m sending out lots of good karma to you all. Thanks!!

  8. So sorry to hear that you’re going through all this Gordon πŸ™

    Re: exercise. This may not be for you, but this year I’ve *FINALLY* kept up with regular exercise after trying about 60 billion other types and giving it up after a few weeks because its too much hassle. So I thought I’d tell you about it in case it suits you to.

    I got myself an exercise bike. With kids I can’t go out biking so easily, or for brisk walks and I don’t like going out on my own in the dark of an evening. Exercise videos bored me to tears so I got an exercise bike (a magnetic resistance one – they’re quieter) for about Β£50 (cheaper if you get one second hand off the back of someone else’s failed resolutions) and I watch crap on the telly while I pedal. If I watch good enough crap I sort of forget I’m exercising. I’ve gone from starting out at 10 mins each time on the easiest setting, slowly building it up 5 mins at a time to 30 mins with the last 15 mins on the next difficulty up. Ridiculously proud of myself.

    I do that 3 times a week. Then (because apparently you need to have load bearing exercise as well as cardio) for at least 2 times a week (sometimes I manage 3) on the weekdays I’m not biking I do a strength training routine I nabbed from SparkPeople – http://www.sparkpeople.com/ – you don’t need any equipment, it can generate a program that doesn’t use any. However, I have now bought bits here and there… an exercise ball for about Β£8 from Tesco, a few dumbbells at around a tenner each set, a mat (had years ago from my failed yoga kick) and a resistance band (a fiver I think?). Not big money, but it makes it more interesting.

    Sometimes the strength training kills and I wonder why I’m doing it, but have seen fantastic progress and that keeps me going. Also, because there’s more variety there (I change the routine every 3 weeks or so) I often prefer this to the cycling (depending what’s on the telly of course πŸ˜‰ )

    Anyway, hope you find something that suits you. SparkPeople is worth checking out they have some diet goal counters and all sorts there which can be quite motivating. The calorie counting bit is a bit american (but you can put in your own stuff) – I don’t use that bit, but it looks fairly comprehensive. You earn points and trophies for reaching goals and using the site, which sounds naff but it does keep you going some days! And it’s all free.

  9. High blood pressure is no fun – I hope it is treatable via pills, and/or genetic. As you say, that way you can say “Not my fault!” *grin*

    But yes, fitness is always a good thing – I know the knee has been causing you problems, and that swimming is a dull pain in the arse – but there’s still cycling, f’rinstance. Investment of Β£100 or so for a basic thing, see how you like it (and no matter what they say, a proper bike is far better than an exercise bike) – it might help strengthen up the knee, too.

    Personally, I’m on the other end of the scale – any time I’m tested, my blood pressure is low normal which always makes the doctor shake his head in disbelief. Mind you I suspect I’ve got wicked levels of cholesterol – I just can’t be chuffed to find out. Then again, I’m going to be working on fitness and weight-loss again for myself too, so I definitely feel your pain!

    All the best for the fitness, health, blood-pressure, and everything else.

  10. Yo, Gordon! I had a bad back for ages and EVERYBODY said ‘go swimming’, yea, even when I told them that I generally don’t enjoy the whole swimming bath experience that much and that swimming made my back hurt MORE. When I tell people that the only thing that stops my back hurting is jogging they tend not to believe me. Um, but it’s my back and I kind of know? An ex said the only thing that helped his back was canoeing, which is probably something else you’d be warned against. The moral: sod them all and if you have to find a sport or pastime then for God’s sake find one you LIKE and ignore ALL advice unless you can prove otherwise. Even this. Your body, your life, do it your way and enjoy it.

    Yes, I have had the knackered knee too, buggers up everything, doesn’t it? Good tip I got from a non-doc though: if you have running shoes then you ought to have a couple of pairs (to swap between) and they should have been bought from a running shop to know what fits you (one of the great pains of the sports industry is their overwhelming need to innovate. Hence a pair of shoes that were great last year knacker you this year. I cannot find a pair of running shoes that don’t hurt. Innovation my arse.) well, wear them as normal shoes: they can take the strain off the knee by cushioning and supporting.

    I love biking but have a crappy bike at moment. If you are wanting a lift then wander into a realy good bike shop look about (just big gadgets with wheels, I assure you) and when the bike sellie person finally comes over then say you are looking for a BETTER bike and obviously you won’t be spending less than about Β£500. Test bikes. Have a feel at what a really good bike feels like, not a bike you have just bought to get biking. Sigh with pleasure. Tell the guy you are thinking about it. If you ride a fantastic bike you might find that you ARE thinking about it. If it is a decent shop they won’t harrass you anyway. Biking on a poor bike sucks. Biking on a beautiful bike is amazing. Best of luck.

    PS. IGNORE ALL OF THIS.
    DB

  11. Gordon I have a folding bike you could take down to the park it is yours for the collecting. It may need tyres!

  12. @Debster – hahaha good one.

    As for my knee, the damage is due to a weakened muscle on the inside of my leg, the kneecap has been shifting back and forth whilst I was jogging, building up scar tissue. I did get proper running shoes fitted (my Dad did a LOT of running so I knew what to think about when I started), but it’s the motion that is the problem, not the shoes (yes I know they control the motion a little but.. trust me).

    @Donalda – biking might be an answer, I’ve not tried it with my knee, figuring that walking makes it sore, so cycling would be worse? Dunno.

    @Ian’s mum – no tyres! I won’t get very far!!! πŸ˜‰

  13. As ever, your body, see what it wants. I don’t think the knee thing OUGHT to be a problem, the one time you can get knee problems with bikes is if you use step-in pedals that need cleats and the cleat is positioned incorrectly. So uh, just use normal pedals.

    If your knee isn’t happy then ignore all advice to go biking. What about canoeing or rowing or something upper body? You went canoeing whilst I went windsurfing, many, many, many moons ago… Also, not that many people seem to do that sort of sport so you could actively avoid lots of advice? Fresh air, photo opportunities and yeah, possibly exercise, but I wouldn’t concentrate on that.
    But:
    IGNORE ALL ADVICE
    DB

  14. With my dodgy knees I don’t think they’re strong enough to do any high-impact exercise like running, however they do fine on an exercise bike set at the lowest resistance to do ‘spinning’… just a thought…

  15. I’m on your side, Gordon.

    I’d recommend the thing that really helped when I had high blood pressure and the doctor was all pissy with me about weight and exercise and things about it. In fact I just changed this one thing, and my blood pressure got better.

    But then, I’m not even sure whether you’re ON a contraceptive pill at all, so whether changing it would actually work for you, I cannot say…

    Seriously though. It was the blood pressure scare that kicked off my eating/exercise changes – but it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. I don’t have any recommendations, because I’m not an expert and don’t know about knees, but I’m sure you’ll find something. And I’m on your side.

  16. anna I TOLD you I got a coil fitted… don’t you remember?

    Sure it was a bit of a shock when I woke up and my ingrown toenail was still there but hey I’ve not got pregnant yet!!

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