Last day of April. MAYDAY! just about captures my mood, too.
While Kate and William were tying the knot, I was sitting in a doctor’s office getting sucker-punched.
Sucker punch: a blow made without warning, allowing no time for preparation or defense on the part of the recipient. It is usually delivered from close range or from behind.
It wasn’t the doctor who delivered the blow, but the blood pressure cuff attached to my left arm. Very close range, indeed.
Oh, that’s high, the nurse says, shaking her head.
That’s strange, I say. I can’t think of anything more to add.
The doctor comes in and asks me about my foot, which had been hurting since mid-October, when I had made a Cardinal Mistake: I changed brands of running shoes. That was why I was here. For my foot! He asks me to stand, relaxed. How can I stand, relaxed, when number one, I am in my underwear and number two, I have just learned that my blood pressure is abnormally high? I do my best. He looks at my feet and smiles.
Why are you smiling? I ask.
Your right foot is bending outwards. C’est remarquable.
I look down. Sure enough, I’m standing on the outside of my right foot, to avoid the pain in the heel. Glad he finds it amusing.
He doesn’t say anything about my blood pressure. I got the x-rays, got fitted for special insoles, signed up for six sessions of physical therapy. My foot is in good hands. My mental state, however, is not.
On the way home I stop by a pharmacy and test the blood pressure a second time. Same numbers.
I don’t understand, I say. I run 4-5 times a week. I’m not overweight.
Maybe you’re stressed? asks the pharmacist. It can change depending on what you’ve eaten. Did you drink coffee recently?
Who, Me? Stressed? STRESSED? I only have about a million translations piled up that are all due in about five minutes! It’s spring break and I haven’t done yoga in two weeks! My teenage son has gone off to Geneva with a bunch of kids I don’t know! The weeds are taking over my garden at a record rate! Why would I be stressed?
Breathe in. Breathe out. Ommmmm.
At home, instead of writing the riveting blog post about ___ that I’d been planning, I spend the next four hours scouring the net for information on hypertension and entering a mild existential crisis. I call my mom for reassurance.
Dad had high blood pressure, and I do too. It’s genetic. But mine was never that high. That’s not good! You’d better see a doctor! I did. He looked at my foot. My anxiety goes up a notch.
I’ve lived my whole life under the assumption that I’m the walking embodiment of health. My mantra: everything in moderation. But I’ve been sucker punched! My body is something other than I thought it was. There’s stuff going on in there that I didn’t know about. Genetic stuff! I’ll get a handle on it, this is not that serious, but my bubble is burst in a big way. I’m not invincible. I’m not 25 anymore. We’re not in Kansas, Toto!
My advice for the royal couple? Live life to the limit. Piffle protocol. Be young and invincible. Be beautiful and strong. It goes by so fast, and you only get this one shot. Oh, and get a checkup once every couple of years. You might avoid getting sucker-punched in the orthopedist’s office.