Herein lies a tale of blood, guts and foolishness. Well, that is perhaps a little melodramatic, but the importance of monitoring your blood pressure should not be understated. Especially if you, like the author, are over a certain age.
A Word of warning that could elevate your blood pressure
This account of a recent blood pressure incident contains reference to a naked man. You may think that of little consequence, but when I tell you the man in question is a 60 year-old man you may change your opinion.
The naked 60 year-old man is not a cheap attempt to gain attention. It is pertinent to the story for a number of reasons which will become clear as the article progresses.
The need to Monitor your Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is a sign of health, good or bad depending upon the reading.
Hypotension is the medical term for low blood pressure and is explained beautifully in this WebMD article.
This post concerns a recent occurrence concerning hypotension. Hence the reference and link. WebMD suggests that hypotension is not normally a cause for concern except in the elderly. I am not sure if our 60 year-old man qualifies as elderly. He would state emphatically not!
Before I begin this tale in earnest, Amazon offer a good range of Blood Pressure Monitors at very reasonable prices. This is, of course, an affiliate link, so should you make a purchase, I will receive a small commission.
The beginning of the story. The event occurred on a Saturday night, this type of catastrophe invariably happens at the least opportune time, when the old man was comfortably asleep in bed. At around 1 o’clock in the morning he felt the urge to empty his bladder. A relatively normal urge.
He rose from bed and wandered off to the bathroom to perform the needful. The next thing hew knew was that his wife was frantically trying to get into the bathroom. He had collapsed on the floor behind the door and she couldn’t gain entry.
The old man had blacked out, passed out or fainted. Unfortunately, this had happened mid-stream in the urination cycle. The outcome of this was that the old man was not only semi-conscious on the cold bathroom floor, he was lying in a pool of urine from his partially emptied bladder.
Time for the emergency services
Understandably, his wife was a little distraught. By this time she had gained entry to the bathroom by forcing the door against the prone body of the old man. She had tried to sit him up when he showed signs of regaining consciousness, but this was in vain. He promptly passed out again.
In a blind panic, his wife dashed for the telephone to call 999. This was not helped by a telephone that did not want to play game. The ‘phone would not connect and his wife began to wonder if perhaps the emergency number had changed.
Of course, this wasn’t the case and the phone connected and an ambulance was summoned. Meanwhile, the old man was stirring and trying, and failing, to stand up. His wife managed to assist his out of the bathroom into the hallway, were he duly collapsed again.
The emergency services had advised that he shouldn’t be moved, so he was left lying, naked in the upstairs hallway. He was naked because it was summer and too warm to wear pyjamas in bed.
So when the paramedics arrived, that was how they found him. Semi-conscious, naked and protesting that he “didn’t need a bloody ambulance, he just wanted to get back to bed.”
He was mortified further when he realised that one of the paramedics was a young woman. Oh the embarrassment. Mind you this was a new one for him. The old man has multiple sclerosis and he is fond of relating tales of all the embarrassing moments this produces.
By this time the old man was lucid enough to be acutely aware of the ridiculousness of the situation. He was also soon aware that the paramedics seemed to have brought the whole hospital with them. They had boxes full of kit and one big box which transpired to be an ECG or electrocardiogram machine.
This latter piece of equipment requires that the patient be fitted with a number of electrodes to monitor the heart activity. This may sound a little melodramatic, but it is very straightforward an entirely pain-free. The electrodes are attached to the skin by small suction cups.
The paramedics attach 4 or 6 electrodes to his chest, he can’t be certain as the situation was a little stressful, and two electrodes to his ankles. The machine then produces a printout of his heart activity. He was pronounced alive. sic. They the measured his blood pressure and made a physical inspection, taking note of the graze on his forehead. It was unclear whether this wound was the result of the fall or the exuberant efforts of his wife to open the bathroom door.
The interim diagnosis was that the most likely cause of the fainting had been a sudden drop in his blood pressure, but that prudence would suggest a trip to accident and emergency for a more detailed examination.
The dreaded trip to A&E
The old man has no love of A&E. On the rare occasions he has had to make this trip before, it has been a time-consuming, demeaning affair. It was inevitably on a Saturday night when the emergency room was full of drunks and, of course, this was a Saturday night again.
It can take hours just to see the triage nurse and many more hours to receive treatment. This night was no exception.
Being removed into the ambulance was relatively straightforward. The journey to hospital was uneventful and surprisingly short. But it was after 2 o’clock in the morning and there was little, if any, traffic on the road. But, he saw very little from the rear of the ambulance.
On arrival at the hospital he was transferred to a gurney, where he lay for, perhaps an hour, before being moved into a cubicle to have his blood pressure taken again and another ECG. These both showed very normal results and he informed that the duty doctor would see him soon.
More waiting, a delay only broken by the sounds of a group of young girls in a nearby cubicle who had clearly enjoyed a 20th birthday party a little too much.
Finally the doctor showed up and questioned him about his lifestyle and his perception of his health. This was all very well, except that the doctor was clearly younger than his son. After consulting the registrar it was decided that the low blood pressure was most likely caused be the medications he was on and/or the multiple sclerosis.
He was advised to make an appointment with his GP to discuss and review his medications.
A blood pressure summation
In short, the old man remains convinced that the best course of action for him would have been simply to go back to bed. But, he agrees that the cause could have been something serious so the action was not wasted exercise.
The following day, his wife went shopping for a home blood pressure monitor and a urine bottle for bedside use. The old man felt that the blood pressure monitor was unlikely to give any warning of a repeat occurrence, although he was forced to admit that it would provide peace of mind that anything similar was not more sinister.
The subsequent visit to the GP resulted in a decision to reduce the dosage of gabapentin, a drug that the old man had only recently started taking.
Finally, if you hadn’t suspected it before, the old man is none other that yours truly. Yes just one more embarrassing incident that just might be attributed to the dreaded MonSter.
Perhaps, I need to add this to my list of MS symptoms, but I don’t think I will, because in
I think there is more than enough to keep you awake at night. And, I would urge yo to consider buying yourself a home blood pressure monitor for your own peace of mind. They are easy to use and fairly inexpensive.