Haircuts and Heart Monitors: My Midlife Crisis Continues

Despite my blood pressure woes, I somehow managed to turn my mood around, which was fortunate as we had a rather sociable weekend.

We had a wedding reception on the Friday evening at the stunning Woodhall Manor. It really had the wow factor. It was a friend of the husband, and we had a really good time.

We travelled home the following day and went off to celebrate the bestie’s little boy’s birthday in the evening. It was at their house, and it was a relatively calm and chilled evening for a change! I caught up with some of my favourite people and was fortunate not to feel too ropey from the night before. I was grateful to have a Sunday with no plans where I could surround myself with every fan we owned to try and keep cool.

On Monday, the weekend caught up with me, and when my alarm went off at 6:30 a.m. I realised that my enthusiasm for getting up and going for a walk had withered and died during the night. I switched it off and tried to wake up gradually, but the grogginess wouldn’t shift.

The anxiety began to build as the morning went on as I patiently waited for the doctor to call for my 9:20 appointment. As 9:30 came and went, I began to feel annoyed; I had to leave for an appointment at 9:45. I specifically said I wanted a telephone appointment; had I got the time wrong or the date?

Can you imagine if I rocked up to my doctor’s appointment this late? Then, I thought I had not received a confirmation text like I had for my previous appointment. Had the nurse not booked me in? I’m certain I watched her do that!

Just as I was typing this, the doctor called. Phew.

She was so lovely; she listened, looked at my bloods, and asked me if I was unwell or had an infection when they were taken, something the private GP hadn’t asked me. I told her I wasn’t, but I had been very stressed out.

As expected, she was concerned about my blood pressure but said we would try again, and I could either come in and have my machine, which now seemed to be broken, calibrated by the nurse, or I could have a 24-hour bp monitor fitted, which I had had before, so I chose that. I just needed to call and book that with the reception desk. Once my BP is in order, we can start a three-month trial of HRT.

I got off the phone feeling so much happier. Finally, there is some progress.

As the day went on, however, I felt my anxiety increase. I tried my best not to go down a rabbit hole of worrying, but it wasn’t easy. When I finished my morning work at lunchtime, I sat in the garden, hoping that some fresh air and sunlight would ease my pain. I also had to resubmit some minor amendments to my latest copywriting project, which wasn’t helping. I wanted to get it right as there was other work they wanted me to do; I didn’t want to balls it all up!

I had a therapy session on Tuesday morning, and as I walked there, I realised I didn’t have much to say. I have learned now that these are usually the sessions where I am more emotional, and Although I didn’t cry, I did offload a lot of stuff for someone who had nothing to say.

My sleep has been non-existent this week, and my consistently unstable moods seem to be swinging wildly, but I can’t do anything apart from hope and pray that they settle by Monday when I have my BP monitor fitted. I spent pre-sunrise on Wednesday morning on the FaceApp, deciding whether to cut my long hair short, dye it blonde, get a tattoo or a new piercing, or do it all at once. I feel like I want some sort of fresh start, like the next chapter.

The following Monday, I’m back in the doctor’s surgery, waiting to have my 24-hour BP monitor fitted, trying my very best to remain as calm and relaxed as possible, something I find difficult at the best of times. The nurses all seem to be running around, and it’s now 9:05. My appointment was at 9 as a perpetually punctual person; this is not helping. Especially when I am the first appointment, and I know my nurse is here wandering around the surgery.

I am eventually seen at 9:10. The nurse is lovely, so I silently reprimand my impatience. I am in and out within minutes, adorned with a very clunky blood pressure machine as my new fashion accessory, and I have forgotten my cardigan, so it’s on show for all to see.

I go off to get my hair cut. My mid-life crisis at full throttle: I have my long locks chopped to my shoulders. I wanted to go blonde, but my hairdresser of 20+ years wisely chose to do a hair test first, which I am now quite glad about. I am pleased with the results and bounce home to show the husband before getting my head down to do some work.

My day was marred by the constant thrum of the BP machine going off three times an hour, more if, for some reason, a reading doesn’t go through, which, as evening starts, becomes a regular occurrence. At night, it’s only supposed to go off once an hour, but it would seem that the battery is low if the “BATTE” message is anything to go by. Honestly, you couldn’t make this shit up.

I am woken every hour by the whir of the machine and the strangling sensation in my upper arm. At 4 a.m., I gave up and went downstairs. The device showed errors again, and I hope that this is still taking readings and my sleepless night was not in vain.

I get to the doctor early and need to pop in to see my brother on my way home, so I hope I am seen too quickly. The readings I saw on the monitor were mainly in the normal range, so I am almost certain this blood pressure debacle is over.

I really should know how this works now, shouldn’t I?

The nurse plugs the machine into the computer and tells me half the readings didn’t come through. She shows me her screen, and I see the readings that have come through are half red, which I guess means high readings. I blurt out my concerns to the nurse, who patiently listens. I can tell she understands and assures me that the doctor I am dealing with is the best person to help me. She doesn’t rush me out and says that feels nice. She told me to get my follow-up appointment booked with reception, and it will all be resolved soon.

I head to reception feeling a bit better, but I am told to call tomorrow at 8 a.m. I want to explain that I just want an appointment. I can’t keep going on this fucking merry-go-round of madness. I need a resolution!! But I don’t want the entire audience of patients to know my problems, so I meekly agree and practically run to my car before I burst into a sobbing mess.

I drive to my brothers whilst trying and failing to get my emotions under control. When I arrive, I burst into tears, and my poor brother tries to soothe me, probably wondering what the fuck happened at the doctors. I explain my tale of woe and finally stop crying. But When I leave to go home, the tears return, and I want to get home to the husband.

I am getting so sick of this. I now feel so strongly about informing others about the going’s on of this. I hate to think of others unwittingly stumbling into this lion’s den because a few c-units decided back in the dark ages that women’s health wasn’t important, the same people that put us in asylums for “melancholy” and “psychosis”, no doubt. If I ever get a time machine, I’m not going to go back and undo the various mistakes of my youth; I’m going to go back and hunt down these idiots and put women’s health at the top of the list.

I would also like someone to explain to not only me but to the husband, my stepchildren and my family and friends why I am the way I am right now instead of having to carry the constant feeling of guilt and confusion on top of all the menopause symptoms, which seem to increase weekly.

Why is no one being told about this? Most of all, those it affects have no idea what life has in store for us. This isn’t “part of being old”. We are not “just this way now”, and we don’t have to “accept it.” there are things we can do, but unless this is communicated to us and we are educated on this, we will not know otherwise.

To add insult to injury, I was told recently that the men’s contraceptive pill was eventually not approved or whatever the technical term is because……..IT CAUSED WEIGHT GAIN. I. Shit. You. Not.

On Wednesday morning, I wake with a start, fully aware that I must battle the 8:30 call for a doctor’s appointment. I cry before I make the call. The weight of getting this appointment is so heavy I don’t feel I have the energy to explain this situation to a doctor’s receptionist for the millionth time, but I know it might be necessary.

As I wait and listen to the classical hold music, which would definitely be used in a film when a battle takes place, I take deep breaths, my script of what I need to say going around in my mind. After 4 minutes, I am through and have a call with the doctor at 10 a.m. I am momentarily stunned, and when the call ends, I burst into another round of tears before anxiety about my call sets in. At least I don’t have long to wait.

2023-10-02 11:27:00

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