Wednesday, August 3, 2022

The Old Lady Report (Day 215, Year 2)

Just a little while ago, I was working in my garden and thinking of catchy captions for Instagram posts of the vegetables. It occurred to me that I am perhaps picking up speed down the ski slope, with a destination of "old lady."

And it's fine. I've always had BIG plan for my elder years that include dressing as Auntie Mame and walking around with a martini glass at all times. 

Also in the old lady report, I had a follow-up doctor's visit to discuss all the chronic health issues that I shared earlier in the year in Yoke. I also found out I should get a colonoscopy (no thank you! I mean I will. BUT SERIOUSLY NO THANK YOU) and then I discovered a new whisker on my chin. I immediately sat the children down and reminded them that they are responsible for keeping my face whisker free and my eye lashes mascaraed and in the event I can no longer apply red lipstick, they need to find a home health aide with a steady hand and good sense of color. 

But, in all very serious old lady business, this was the first time, in as long as I can remember, I was not filled with deep fear over my appointment. My blood pressure has been a severe anxiety trigger for me since 2006, when I was dangerously sick with preeclampsia and Lily was forced to be born 11 weeks early with lungs that were not ready to breathe. 

I could pretend like I am not sure what changed; but I know exactly what changed. I found a health care practitioner who truly wanted to know why I was so upset. She never tried to make me feel better or explain away my anxiety, she just wanted to know why I had it and to know what happened in my life. 

That has been such a gift. Even after being diagnosed with diabetes and borderline high cholesterol on top of my high blood pressure, I am not scared anymore. Instead, I am grateful. I told my last medical provider over and over again about all the risks from preeclampsia. I am still not sure if she was blowing me off or merely not wanting to engage in my discussion; but either way, she was not a partner in my healthcare. 

I know with the trifecta of hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes that I sound like an unhealthy train wreck. And while I am far from perfect (hello french fries and cocktails and gummy worms!), I am not unhealthy. I just have a body that has malfunctioned and carries with it the scars of the past. Preeclampsia is a serious disorder in pregnancy--so well beyond high blood pressure. It is not over when it is over. Damage lingers. 

But the good news is I've always been aware; I finally have a doctor who is aware; and my medications have worked. I continue to be on the same dose of my hypertension drug (thanks to minimizing salt intake and other lifestyle changes). My cholesterol in three months has returned to the super healthy range. And I've reached the target A1C for diabetics. My doctor, who has the bit  of the attitude of a coach, has decided that target is no good for me and to reach for lower. I am with her all the way--so we will continue and increase a diabetes med; while I also work with a registered dietician and nutritionist.  

I also should consider getting back on my Peloton; but was assured that walking 12 miles a day in Europe, gardening, swimming and chasing my elderly dog down the block counts as exercise. 

I am taking this all very seriously, as I've started collecting colorful kaftans and mumus and dusters during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I truly intend upon being around to wear them all (provided I am whisker free!) and channel my old lady icon: Auntie Mame. 



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