I don’t have a superstitious bone in my body, but as I live and breathe, I’m telling you that the month of December is a curse for my family. Over the years, far too many tragedies have occurred in December for it to be a mere coincidence. It’s hard for me to remember each and every disaster, but here are just a few that come to mind.
- My maternal grandfather died.
- My favorite aunt died.
- My ex-wife ruptured a disc in her lower back.
- I survived a head-on collision.
- My mother had a heart attack.
- I spent 5 hours in emergency with atrial fibrillation.
There are more, but my memory isn’t what it used to be. And today I can add another incident to the list: no matter what I do, I can’t seem to control my blood pressure. For no particular reason, it just spikes. I can be sitting on the sofa, sleeping, scratching the back of my head—just breathing, and I suddenly feel my heart pounding. So, of course, I do the dumbest thing and take my blood pressure to confirm beyond a doubt that it is indeed elevated. And it always is.
I’ve been on BP medication for a few years, and after a period of trial and error, I finally found a medication with few side effects that manages my BP. I try to watch my weight and sodium intake, and I limit myself to one glass of wine. For the last few weeks I’ve gone to the gym every-single-day and worked out for 30 minutes on a cardio machine. To make it even more unbelievable, after my A-Fib incident, my doctor doubled the dosage of my BP medication. Now you’d think that this would lower my BP, right? Well, it hasn’t done a damn thing. Well, actually it has. It’s made it worse.
As every man, woman and child in the free world knows, stress heavily contributes to hypertension. But I’ve reduced the stress in my life. I’m going to retire on March 31, 2010 and until then I’m working a 3-day workweek and getting paid for 5! So, I get a full paycheck for working 24 hours, and every week I enjoy a four-day weekend. Where’s the stress in that? And just to sweeten the deal, my novel will be released in February and lots of people associated with the publishing business think my book is going to do very well. Retirement. 3-day workweek. Novel. It’s all good.
So what the hell is going on?