Yesterday morning, I ran all over the city for various appointments in preparation for my Practicum (internship) experience next semester. At one of my stops in the Employee Health department of the hospital, a RN took my blood pressure. It was alarmingly high: 164/97. She said it wasn’t cause for immediate worry, but I was not a happy camper. She asked me if I had any “stressors” in my life that could be elevating it.
Hmm, let me see… (1) I was in the hospital (2) in a foreign location to me and (3) I had been unable to locate the appropriate parking deck so (4) I had hiked uphill from several blocks away. I was (5) worried about being late, even though I was 25 minutes early. I (6) didn’t know what to expect from my meetings because they had been kind of haphazardly set up by a third party, and (7) I had just been informed about them four days prior. I have (8) never been comfortable driving somewhere unfamiliar to me. Oh, and (9) I was anticipating an hour-long presentation for my class last night, as well as (10) a presentation for tonight’s class. Let’s add in that (11) people have been telling me since I was 15 that I suffer from “white coat syndrome.” Stressors? Nahhh.
The nurse and I went on about our business with paperwork, and she decided to take another blood pressure reading before she sent me on my way. The second one was equally as high. She decided to pull out the old-school cuff to see if it made a difference; it didn’t, much. She recommended that the next time a blood pressure reading was available, I should consider it. I was like, obviously! I don’t want my heart beating right out of my chest. I told her that at recent doctor’s appointments, I’ve had completely normal readings, but she wasn’t convinced.
I’m not going to say it was a wake-up call. I exercise vigorously 3-5 days per week, depending upon the flexibility of my schedule. I get adequate rest, drink plenty of fluids, and eat (generally) well. I try to manage my stress by staying at least one step ahead, never procrastinating on assignments, and being organized. I know that stressors, as well as simply being in a medical setting, can elevate your blood pressure, but I was sorely disappointed that my body didn’t make a better showing. At the very least, it was a reminder that there is always room for improvement in my physical health and well-being. I’m well aware that I’m not a poster child for marathons or vegetable crusades, but the best part of fitness and eating well for me is finding new ways to constantly be upping the ante 😉
However, there was a bright spot in my day — yesterday was officially Ian’s and my third anniversary, and he had these delivered to me:
…along with this.
I think he’s pretty swell 😉
Have you ever experienced “white coat syndrome?” Do you ever have abnormal BP readings in medical or hospital settings?