At the Heart of the Matter


I don’t normally write about personal things, but first, how much can you write about VJs?

Then, I had an interesting visit to the doctors office yesterday.

I tend to approach medicine as though as I were a Christian Scientist. But two weeks ago, I finally broke down and got a physical.  As part of the physical, I got a stress test.  During the stress test, the doctor asked me if I had a cardiologist. (who has a cardiologist?)

I was told I had high blood pressure. Had anyone ever said that before?





Nope. In fact, I have been extremely healthy!

I went to the cardiologist with the idea that I was going to wear a portable blood pressure monitor for 24-hours.  The nurse came in to fit me for it and show me how it worked. She slipped it on my arm, pushed the button. “It’s simple”, she said.  The machine tightened its grip on my arm and the numbers flashed on the screen.

“Hmmm” she said, tapping the screen. “Let’s try that again”.

We did it again.

“There must be a problem with the software. I’m going to call the company” she said, and took the machine with her.

She returned in a few minutes.  “Let’s try it again” she said, and hooked me up.

“Lemme take this manually” she said, and slipped the standard pump up with the stethescope.

I could see her face turn…. ashen?

“Wait right here” she said, “I’m going to get the cardiologist”.

Well, if anything will give you a heart attack it is the nurse saying “wait right here, I am going to get the cardiologist”.

When he came in he did the same tests. Several times.

“You have extreme hypertension” he told me. Extremely high blood pressure.

“We’re going to start you on medication right away. I also want you to buy a home blood pressure monitor and start taking your own blood pressure twice a day and record it for me. Then I want to see you again in 5 days”.

He paused. “Your blood pressure is…. impressive”.

Hypertension, or high blood pressure shows no symptoms, yet it is a major cause of heart attack, stroke and lots of other unpleasant things.  You can have it for years as apparently I have, and never know it.  My father suffered several severe strokes which left him bedridden.

I started taking the pills yesterday. A doctor friend of mine called my numbers ‘a walking time bomb’.

Hopefully I have cut the wires in time.. or will do so

exercise, change of diet, weight loss, change of lifestyle.

“In some ways you are lucky” the doctor told me.  “This, at least, is controllable”.

Go get yourself checked.

don’t wait.


7 responses to “At the Heart of the Matter

  1. I know I’ll be speaking for a lot of regular readers when I say – hypertension is no excuse for not posting!

    Good luck with the meds.

  2. You are valuable and needed. Please take care of yourself.

  3. Just turned 40 myself with a family history of heart disease. Thanks for the reminder and take care of your own self.

  4. Stay healthy…. mind, body and spirit!

  5. Michael – taking personal responsibility for ones health is crucial in this ever increasing stressed out society.

    As a part of that, I practice power yoga 3 days a week an hour each session, cardio 3 days a week an hour per session and pranayama yoga on Sundays for about 30 minutes – my blood pressure is something like 116/60 and TCL is around 160. Resting hear rate is below 60bpm – and I’m 45. Getting a solid 8 hours sleep is also important.

    Something to be said for changing ones diet as well. No enriched white flour, no white refined sugar or corn syrup, little, if any red meat (I eat mainly poultry, fish and tofu), only fats I consume are olive oil, organic margarine (very little) and occasional lite coconut milk when preparing curry dishes. Lots of raw veges and fruits also helps. Occasional glass of red wine with dinner and no hard alcohol.

    Do I feel like I’m depriving myself? I instead ask the question: Am I taking care of myself if I choose to practice the above. The answer is I’m only depriving myself if I don’t practice the above.

    Take care of yourself for the sake of not only yourself, but those who care about you the most.

    Happy holidays to all!

  6. Hemingway would heartily disapprove of your stance, Cliff. Nevermind that he killed himself. Maybe somebody told him to stop eating Fillet of Lion and Eland Piccata.

    Seriously, Michael, my thoughts, prayers, and best wishes go out to you.


    Come to think of it, perhaps the loss of Elvis had to do with a restriction on fried peanut butter sandwiches…

  7. Take care of yourself, pal.

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