I went to the doctor yesterday about my blood pressure. Just as I got there, my husband sent me a cryptic text letting me know that something was wrong with one of my children. I could feel the effect of the stress of his message in my face and eyeballs. No one needed an ambulance, so I'm thinking it could have waited - at least until they took my blood pressure.
It was 160/110, which prompted the nurse to ask me if she could get me something - that's never a good sign at a doctor's office.
My doctor, whom I've known for 24 years, flipped through the paper version of my chart rather vigorously. Nope, nothing leading up to this. His theory was stress, same as mine.
So he gave me a prescription for blood pressure medicine, a temporary thing just until I somehow manage to get the stress in my life under control.
The question is how do you suddenly control stress after reaching the point that your body wants to check out rather than deal with it anymore? After the point that you haven't controlled it for so long that it's making you sick?
I know sleep and exercise will help. Getting enough sleep is a tricky thing when you have chronic insomnia and your alarm clock starts chiming at 5 AM to wake up the kids. Exercise is hard for me because I have a foot and back problem. Those two things I definitely need to work on.
Today, now, I'm going to take my ten-year-old outside, the one that never gives me a headache (sorry to say that out loud, the other two of you). I'm going to take him out to work on the garden, waterproof the front porch, and paint the rail. Hopefully I can do that with a smile on my face and without hurting my foot or back. I know that sounds crazy, like that isn't relaxing, but it is to me - and it will make me feel better to have it done.
I also committed to going back on my uber-healthy vegetarian diet (plus fish) that I was on before I got married - at a time when I was healthy, in the best shape of my life. It's too much to cook differently for me and four other people, so my family will be getting healthy too. They'll get used to it, right? I love cooking (unless it gets to the point where it makes my foot hurt) - today I will cook - it will be beans and vegetables, but it will be fun.
My husband is off to Africa again for another two weeks, the first of three trips between now and January. Part of my stress is his procrastination in getting things done. I think it's time to outsource the work. I'm not sure if having people in the house and handing them money will up my stress or make everything magically better. I guess I'll find out - one handyman, house cleaner, or contractor at a time.
When my husband comes back, maybe I can disappear alone for a couple of weeks. Somewhere with ocean (it's OK if the water is too cold - I don't like to get wet anyway). Maybe I can plan a girl-trip with some of my writing friends, and we can write and laugh and drink and be peaceful for as long as we can afford it. Anyone in?