I haven’t been feeling well for some time now. Without health insurance a visit to the doctor is a luxury reserved for serious illness or accidents and anyway I just put it down to stress, age or the winter blues. But each time I hauled three or four gallons of water up the hill to the barn I kept thinking, “I’m doing this twice a day, why isn’t it getting easier?” I was beginning to think farming just wasn’t for me!
Then last weekend my youngest daughter developed a deep red, growing rash on the side of her face and, with thoughts of staph infections and flesh eating bacteria running through my mind I found a doctor – one not only affordable, but in his office on a Sunday – and took her in. As it turned out she had a severe allergic reaction to something – not life threatening and it should clear up in a few days with the various prescriptions we were given.
I don’t usually try to get two appointments out of one but this doctor was so approachable that I asked if there was a chance he could write a refill for my blood pressure medication. I had stockpiled enough of the drugs to last quite a while after leaving California but I was down to my last four pills and I had no refills. He said he would – after he took my blood pressure. I assured him it would be fine as I was taking medication to control it but he insisted and the results were shocking, or as he said “obscene”! Even with the medication my blood pressure was 171 over 115 – Stage 2 Hypertension. I was, he said, a walking time bomb, ripe for a stroke at any time.
I left with refills for my current medication and a third prescription and an admonition to call in a week if my blood pressure isn’t close to normal so that he can tweak the medication until we get good results. It’s been a wake-up call! I certainly never thought I’d be grateful for one of my children’s illnesses (and I generally especially hate ones that appear on weekends) but the timing of the mystery rash turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Luckily hypertension is one of those easily controlled conditions – as long as you get to the doctor occasionally!