Flagstaff loves me. The ball of yarn keeps getting bigger and bigger: that is to say, I am becoming more and more deeply involved with the workings of this tiny city that perches on the Coconino Plateau, at 7,000 feet above sea level, nestled among a flock of young volcanoes.
After my thirty-first medical provider visit this month, I was overcome by a sensation that something was lacking.
For one thing, I was drained to the tips of my finger and toenails from my appointment with the new Family Practice Nurse Practitioner. I hate to think how drained she must have felt!
The purpose of this appointment was allegedly to seek a solution to my stubborn high blood pressure. High blood pressure is bad. It damages one’s kidneys, causes strokes and heart damage, eye damage, and basically messes you up, usually without any symptoms at all.
Having symptoms, like headaches and blurred vision, means the high blood pressure is getting to one’s brain.
God knows, I don’t need any more brain damage, so when I realized that my permanent headache and inability to read the Louis L’Amour paperback borrowed from the campground laundry room because my vision was blurry might just be high blood pressure symptoms, I went to the Walgreens and bought a fancy blood pressure machine.
The first time I tried it out, the damn thing read 165/106 (normal is about 120/75). I ran it a couple more times and it said approximately the same thing. I didn’t like that at all, so after a couple of hours on the phone I got the soonest primary care appointment available, which was two weeks away. In between times I did all the things one is supposed to do to lower blood pressure, like exercise, breathing, meditation, cuddling with one’s Doggess, and fiddling with medication doses. And hoping like hell that nothing bad would happen.
Last night my BP was dangerously high, so I took a rather large dose of my medication (don’t try this unless you’re medically qualified), and my usual dose this morning. My BP in the office was perfectly normal, so of course I felt like a fool.
To make matters worse, I disclosed all of my psychiatric diagnoses and their respective meditations, and the NP completely unraveled. Poor thing, who can blame her?
To her credit, she did a great job of picking out a team of specialists to help figure out what in the hell is wrong with my immune system and nervous system and skin, and whether all these are part of the same problem, or whether they are separate problems. As for my blood pressure, she told me to keep doing whatever I did to bring it down, and gave me a script for more of that particular medicine.
Driving back from that exhausting appointment, I spied a grocery-store-cum-gas-station I’d seen before but never stopped at, because it looked down-at-heel and sad, like one of those discount groceries that appear and disappear in a matter of days like mushrooms after a good rain. Today I needed gas, though, and the price was right, so I waited in line till a pump opened up.
After filling my gas tank, my mind returned to my own stomach. The grocery had a Starbucks logo on the wall. Hmmm, a green tea soy latte might perk me up! I went in.
Have you ever had the experience of going into a drab, shabby building, and finding the inside bright, beautiful, and full of your favorite fresh fruits, veggies, and gluten free foods? Heaven. I got my green tea soy latte and headed for the aisles.
Half an hour into the orgy I came to the pet stuff aisle and was struck by a largish wave of guilt, since Atina had spent most of her day in the van, while I was enjoying my medical appointment and now shopping my heart out; therefore, I sprung for the $8 on sale “un-stuffed” furry critter with a squeaker at its head and tail.
I paid for my order (Jeezus Kreezus, $120 for those few things? And this isn’t even Whole Foods!) and hauled my cart out to the van with my one good hand. Atina glared at me from her spot on the bed. She had good reason to be sick of being locked up!
The moment I cut the tag off the new Critter and threw it at her, all was forgotten.
She caught it. It squeaked! Just like the squirrels that taunt her all day around here would do if she could ever get her pearly whites on one!
Since then, the Critter has been relentlessly shaken, chewed, squeaked (my ears, my head!), and is sodden with Doggess spit. Now she sleeps, worn out with worrying the new Critter to death.
The best $8 I’ve ever spent.