I take my blood pressure at 8:00 am, 3:30 pm, and 11:00 pm, or thereabouts. That’s when my alarms are set to go off, anyway. Sometimes I forget to take my pressure until later, as I take medications at those times as well. My blood pressure has been holding fairly steady at 160-165/100-105 – pretty high, but nothing to be immediately alarmed about.
My 3:30 alarm went off, and I took my meds first, then took my blood pressure. At 3:33, it read 191/117. So I waited a little longer and took it again.
At 3:39 it was 197/117. Wait a while longer, take again.
At 3:48 it was 195/118. Time to get dressed and head to the emergency room.
Just before climbing in the car, I took it again, at 3:55. It was 198/118.
The trip in the ER was a whirlwind. I got checked in at the front desk, and they told me someone would see me in a few minutes, so I sat down and started writing a Facebook post to explain the situation. I wasn’t even a sentence into it before they called my name, slapped ID and allergy wristbands on my arm, and took me to a seated triage area.
As soon as I sat down, the ER technician checked my temperature, my blood oxygen, and my blood pressure again (195/94 this time). As he was leaving, my nurse came to follow up, and explained what would likely happen was that I would get a pill called Clonidine to lower my blood pressure rapidly. I told her I’d been down this road before and that pill was why I was in the ER. She also asked if I had any other symptoms, and I told her I was starting to get a headache. She said they’d get me something like Tylenol, and then she was on her way.
Immediately following her visit – as in, was waiting outside to see me – was the representative from hospital registration. We went through the drill of getting me registered, but were interrupted by the doctor who came in to ask what was going on. We shared the record of blood pressure readings since 3:30, we explained that we’ve done this before, we told him we expected a Clonidine, which he confirmed they would be giving me. He also mentioned the headache, which I confirmed with him, and he asked if I preferred Tylenol or Advil. I told him I take an NSAID for my back, so it would need to be the Tylenol. He ducked out and registration came back in to finish up with me.
As registration was leaving, another nurse came by with the medications for me to take, and then a second came to assist with that process. One entered my data in the computer, the other scanned the meds and my bracelet, and then handed me the med cup and the water. I downed them, and she said it was up to me whether I wanted to stay, but the discharge papers had already been written. I said that I knew that the medication would work – it had done so before – and so I signed the paperwork and checked with the discharge representative on the way out for her to cut off my wristbands.
We got out into the lobby once again and I sat down to finish the Facebook post. I literally did not have time to look at my phone long enough to post while I was back in the ER. The entire visit was maybe 40 minutes long, if that. It is the most efficient trip through an ER I have ever taken, and I have, unfortunately, been to the ER a lot in my life.
I came home, and checked my blood pressure – it was 182/110, still high, but there hadn’t been time for the Clonidine to really start to work just yet.
And then about five minutes later, it kicked in.
I felt dizzy and lightheaded, and went to lie down for a short little nap, which I had just woken up from before writing this post. Before I started writing, I checked my blood pressure again.
163/102, back to what has been normal for me.
I have a follow up appointment with my doctor on Friday, so we can discuss this in greater detail, but in the meantime the ER doc recommended I double up on my hydrochlorothiazide, from 12.5 mg daily to 25 mg daily, and then consult with my doctor when I see her.
Hopefully we can start to work on getting this down, soon. I really can’t afford for my blood pressure to necessitate a trip to the ER every time it wants to spike a little bit.