No, not that kind of past. Not the slutty, wild and crazy party girl past I somewhat wish I had. Seriously, had I not had such detailed knowledge about herpes, I think I would have been much more promiscuous. So super selective was my screening process that it limited my number to only a handful of special sponge worthy fellows. My genital-urinary tract was kept sterile from any sexually transmitted infections. I never even acquired HPV, as all adventurous women do. Sometimes, it hardly seems that I am reaping any benefits from my selected chastity from a fertilty standpoint, but anyway.. I am digressing...it's my past history of hypertension.
When I was in my early twenties, I had a blood pressure reading of 150/110 at a routine gyn exam. Repeat readings would hold that it wasn't a fluke. I was ordered to stop my birth control pills and my blood pressure returned to normal, thus indicating that the pills caused my hypertension. Although I admit that I don't go to a doctor unless I absolutely need to (and by need to I am referring to my mandated employee physical) I've never had another dangerously high reading...until my recent pre-op visit. I went swimming that morning and arrived at my RE's office early for my appointment, which is unusual as I am chronically tardy. The medical assistant called me into an exam room to take my vitals. Just as she was inflating the blood pressure cuff, I could feel my brachial artery pulsate. Oh shit. "Are you nervous?" she asked before telling me what the reading was. Was I nervous? I was at my RE's office. Nervous is the default setting when I am there. I'm nervous that I'll run into a patient. I'm nervous about what what will be uncovered during my evaluation and nervous about what I'll be told. 146/100. I figured it must have been from the birth control pills. I didn't think my blood pressure would be a problem, as I'm much more physically active now than when I was a student and I would only be on the pills for a short period of time. Add to the list of 'Things I have been Wrong About'.
She sent me back to the waiting room as my RE hadn't arrived to the office yet. There is only one door to the clinic, which is used by patients, staff and delivery personnel. He walked into the office, stopped to grab his labcoat and then called me back to the exam room. After using his stethoscope to confirm that my heart was pumping blood and air exchange was occurring in my lungs, he reviewed the procedure and asked if I had questions. He hadn't looked at my chart to see my blood pressure. I know this because whenever I am running late and don't review the previous notes in the patient's chart, inevitably during the interview something comes up to make me realise that I should have done my research before going in the room. I brought it up and suggested stopping the pills prior to the procedure, which he agreed was a good idea.
The day before my procedure I brought my pills to work and figured I would have one of our MAs check my blood pressure prior to taking the last pill. It was 164/106. Fuck. I checked again a few hours later. 159/108. Double fuck. On my way home I stopped at CVS to use one of their machines. 181/107. I thought alarms would sound and the paramedics would be called. Now I am becoming concerned that my case will be cancelled. I'll have to wait until my blood pressure normalises and I can handle the pre-requisite birth control pills again. In other words, who knows when. I'll beg and plead with the anaesthesiologist like a junkie looking for a fix; "C'mon, just push 5mg of Lopressor in my IV and I'll be fine. 10 mg of Amlodipine orally and I'll be sorted!'
Although the possible cancellation of my surgery is the most prominent concern at the moment, there is a much larger concern looming. If my blood pressure reacts this way to birth control pills, what will happen if I become pregnant? When my cousin announced her pregnancy last year, my aunt expressed how she would spend the next nine months worrying about her high blood pressure. It fueled my false sense of entitlement. This is why it should have been me. I was the healthy one. I wouldn't be causing this kind of worry for my mother if I became pregnant. Ah, once again my delusional thinking gets the best of me. I am being slapped in the face with the reality that I am just as unhealthy as my sedentary cousin who is 40 pounds overweight.
I feel as if the Universe is telling me, 'listen up Bitch, how many more ways do I have to tell you this is a bad idea?' I feel the hypocrisy of my own words. How many times have I told a patient, "first you get healthy, then you get pregnant." I swim four times a week. I run 10Ks for breakfast and I can finish a half marathon in a decent time with only a few weeks of training. I completed an hour postal swim last month. Despite all the exercise that I do, there is something else not in my command. I see Labetalol in my future. If I ever do become pregnant, I will be labelled 'high risk'.