This is a strange mix of notes I jotted down on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 and Wednesday, January 19, 2011. I’ve done my best to piece them together into a coherent post that fairly shares what it’s like to wear a blood pressure monitor for 24 hours.
Yesterday morning my mother-in-law and I made our way through morning rush hour traffic to the Mayo Clinic Specialty Building for…
My Eighth Appointment
January 18, 2011 @ 8:30 am
Mayo Clinic Specialty Building 1st Floor Check In
Hypertension BP monitor
Nephrology/Hypertension BP Monitor
As we waited in to be called back, we reread the packet I was given last week outlining the 24-hour bp monitor procedures. It didn’t take long to realize I wore exactly the opposite of what they requested. I wore a loose-fitting sweatshirt over a fitted, long sleeved shirt that I know works well under a blood pressure monitor… but the packet specifically prescribed a loose-fitting short sleeve shirt.
I considered switching shirts with my mother-in-law (who wore an adorable shirt today that perfectly fit the instructions I was given), but an often-unnecessary habit I have came in handy. I always wear a tank top under my shirt, so I decided that when the time came I’d shove my long sleeve shirt in my purse and throw the sweatshirt back on over the tank. Although I think the gray-on-gray looks a bit weird without a black shirt in between, I can’t complain.
Well, I shouldn’t.
But I might.
Anyway, the nurse (I think) who fitted me for the cuff was friendly and patient with my apparent complete disregard for the packet I was given almost a complete week in advance. She explained the process, took my blood pressure on both my arms, and eventually determined my left arm would be the best location for the cuff.
Pride-Fueled Side Note: Although she did not ask, somewhere toward the beginning of my appointment I told the kind lady my left arm would likely be the best place to put the cuff, as it is the only arm medical folks are ever satisfied with for blood pressure, blood drawing, and pulse-finding. And, although I am no medical professional, I am a professional medical patient.
I’ve learned from dozens (if not not hundreds) of blood pressure readings that my right arm must be some sort of miracle… a pulse-less, blood-less appendage good only for writing, using my iPhone, and shifting my Matrix into drive. But, what do I know. I’m only the ONLY person who has attended everyone of my doctor’s appointments.
She went on to explain how the cuff would limit my daily activities, how the monitor attempts to get a reading every 20 minutes, and how it’d only go off once an hour during the hours I told her I would be sleeping. She fitted the strap of the machine to a comfortable length, ran the cords through my sweatshirt, and helped me put the sweatshirt over the whole contraption.
She told me to keep a detailed journal of my activities using the clock on the monitor, which is 27 minutes ahead of reality and therefore a bit confusing. And, finally, she informed me I don’t actually have an appointment at eight freaking thirty tomorrow morning. I can return the monitor to the information desk on the first floor anytime before 10am tomorrow.
Splendid! I think I’ll be sleeping in.
After getting fitted with the bionic bicept (or so it looked with my sweatshirt pulled taught over it), my mother-in-law and I headed to Paradise Bakery. What was I thinking? It wasn’t good the first time, and the second time did nothing to improve my opinion. But, I did get to experience my first awkward blood pressure reading in public. The sweet lady behind the register asked what I wanted to eat, and I just stood there, not moving a muscle, for almost a minute. Like I said, awkward.
The drive home complicated readings, as the car movement (per the nurses warning) confuses the monitor. And when the monitor gets confused it tries again… and again… and again.
Note to self: Avoid riding in a car for the rest of the day. Sit here, journal your day, and appreciate this cozy recliner.
So, I got to sleep an extra hour this morning, which proved an unexpectedly wonderful thing when I realized just how annoying it is to awake every hour (sometimes more often) to a blood pressure cuff tightening on your sweaty upper arm. I think I’d choose an awkwardly long pause in the middle of a conversation over what feels like an infinitely long pause when all you want to do is sleep.
Every reading caught me off guard, startled me enough to kick in my adrenaline, and complicated the typical roll over, fall back asleep routine.Plus, there’s only so much cord and strap on this thing, so I got a bit too close to this less-than-comfy (and less-than-stylish) contraption last night.
Off the Cuff
The blue, padded creature is back at Mayo. I followed the instructions, removing the cuff at the exact time specified, folding my journal (which I had to add a page to) and tucking it into the case. I took a quick shower, changed my clothes (Yes!), and made the drive to Mayo Clinic alone.
I have to admit, handing that gizmo to the sweet lady at the Information Desk a few minutes before 10am felt a bit like turning in a final exam back in college. I sure hope it went well, but mostly I’m just glad it’s over.
And, on a TMI note… the 24 hours with a bulging bicep kinda reminded me of this totally unrelated post I read way back when.