I was feeling really uptight, stressed. 52 hours on the go from Hangzhou to Dublin ..
Heavy snow, freezing temperatures. The busiest time of the year. Travel chaos. Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. Three cancelled flights, queues, queues and more queues, the rumour machine (“we could be here until Christmas Day“), the lottery for seats on the extra plane put on by Aer Lingus (the world’s worst airline), which didn’t depart on 11.30pm but rather 2.30am.
Dublin Airport. The 5.00 am arrival (“where are our bags?“). More rumours… the chaos, bags, except mine, discarded all over the baggage reclaim area… the lack of Aer Lingus / Dublin Airport authorities ownership of the problem… everyone else to blame except them…. freezing cold waiting for the bus… that was dawn 23rd December… The welcome sight of my brother at the door standing in his jocks… a foot of snow outside the house..
And so to this heartburn-like feeling over the past week… the usual Christmas excesses or? I also felt wasted, like I had never felt wasted. At the urging of my ever attentive mother I went to see the family doctor for a check up.
When Dr. K started checking the battery of the blood pressure monitor I knew something was very wrong… He did the test again…
“How do you really feel?”
“Very tired, easy to nod off, mentally erratic, hard to concentrate, a little headache and strange white spots in my eyes”
A reading of 170/108. Such blood pressure readings fall within Stage 2 Hypertension (readings of 160/110 and 180/110 usually indicate Stage 2 Hypertension), in which there is high risk of a heart-attack or a stroke.
There then followed the ‘Mother of all Colds’, which knocked me out for five days … Related? Hypertension? To much salt?
Almost two weeks later I am wearing a blood pressure monitor taking readings on an hourly basis. From a 170/108 emergency, blood pressure readings are now in the low 130’s or high 120’s/88-82.. Absolutely normal.
So what was all that 170/108 about?
Life is not to be taken for granted. We can be here one second and the next second snuffed out. Hypertension and stress are invisible killers. I wouldn’t have been aware what the combination of symptoms were pointing to.
Wholesome home food and a relaxed mind are the keys to a healthy life…. Now, if only air-travel was less stressful!
I know what my 2011 priority will be… “Good health = long life”.