27 February 2008

A walking bob-omb

For nearly twenty-four hours I've felt a bit like a walking Bob-omb, one of those dangerous walking bombs that made their first debut in Super Mario Brothers 3 (What can I say? I received my first job because I played video games. Honest!). Thanks be to God my fuse was not lit, or it least it was blown out.

Yesterday I traveled to St. Louis to see my rhumatologist for what I thought I would be just a routine visit following an increase in my medication around Christmas.

As it turns out, my blood pressure is high enough to cause serious concern, so much so that I was ordered to stop taking my anti-inflammatory medicine (which raises my blood pressure) immediately.

I was given a prescription for a blood pressure medication and was sent to the lab for two chest x-rays, two hand x-rays, and two feet x-rays. Afterwards they drew six vials of blood for various tests and my elbow is still sore from that.

I then drove to Carlinville for a gathering of the priests of the Diocese which, even with the new concerns for my health, was mostly enjoyable.

What concerned me was not so much the high blood pressure or what it might cause but the possibility of having to live without my arthritis medication. I remember well what life was like before the medicine and, frankly, I never want to live like that again.

Last night before bed I asked St. Anthony of Padua to intercede for me with the Lord and I - to the extent that I was able - offered the sufferings that I expected in the morning in union with the Cross for the Holy Father.

Awaking in the morning I was stiff and sore, but strangely not swollen. Even thirty-six hours after the last dose of medicine (which I was taking four times daily) my joints weren't swollen, just sore.

I left the gathering of priests early to return to Effingham to meet with a doctor about my blood pressure. I was able to get in rather quickly - a great blessing since I hadn't as yet chosen a doctor in Effingham).

I was very pleased with the doctor. He gave me another blood pressure medicine to take with the other one I was given and he gave me back my arthritis medicine, for which I am deeply grateful.

He told me I must exercise at least thirty minutes a day three times a week. I do not like this and I know that I will have to pen it into my calendar, but if I must do it I will do it.

As I recall my blood pressure is normal high, judging from the fact that since I first developed the arthritis every nurse always asked, "Is your blood pressure normally high?" but apparently now it's higher than the doctors want, apparently high enough for a potential stroke.

The medicines, combined with the exercise, should bring my blood pressure down and the doctor in town didn't seem too concerned about it, which very much relieved me. I had a very enjoyable visit with him, strangely enough.

Until I have a better sense of where my blood pressure is and what I need to do I am going to scale back any unnecessary duties and activities so I'm not blogging as much in the next few days please excuse me and know that I will get back to it.

After meeting with the doctor in Effingham I called my doctor in St. Louis to check on the tests that were run yesterday. The x-rays all came back fine. My blood count is good, my liver and kidneys are good, and my SED rate (which measures inflammation) is only a 2 (it has been a five in the past). We're still waiting for a couple of results but everything looks good, good enough to decrease my arthritis medicine from four times a day to three.

I'm very much at peace with all of this now so I ask you not to worry, either.

On a happier note, the Effingham Daily News published my Letter to the Editor today (finally) and my new glasses came in and are now on my face. You'll see them tomorrow I expect.

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