My apologies, for being a bit distracted of late. I know I still need to write about the gala. What follows really happened. Parts of it are a bit frightening, so I will tell you at the start that while we are still working on getting things under control, things do appear to be moving in the right direction.
It was Thursday. B left the house (alone) around 2pm. His plan was to go for his wound check (on his scrotum) and then go to the office, if time permitted. He was feeling fine. He hadn’t had any pain. He never spiked a fever. I was concerned he might have to wait, given that his case was no longer emergent, and Urgent Care doesn’t take appointments. I could not have been more wrong on that front. What should have been just slightly embarrassing, somehow found B at the ER in Pomona.
I don’t remember what time it was, but B texted me to say he was still at Urgent Care. They had checked his wound, which was fine, but they also decided to check his blood pressure since it was high the last time he was there. His blood pressure was high again, and they were concerned. He told me it was 210/120, which is crazy high (“normal” is considered 120/80).
I couldn’t remember the exact number they had told him on Tuesday, but I do remember that the top number was 150. This would almost seem to imply that his blood pressure was actually low on Tuesday – probably because he was bleeding (which I think is what you expect). The other thing I remembered though was that the nurse who took B’s blood pressure when I was there did not impress me as knowing what she was doing. I was trained to take blood pressure when I volunteered at a clinic, and remember that there is a correct way, and more of a shortcut way. So I asked who had taken his blood pressure.
Apparently it was the same nurse. I asked him if maybe someone else ought to give it a go. Also, it might matter if they did it after they checked his wound, or before. It is normal to be anxious in such a situation, but your anxiety should decline once it is over, and especially if you are told everything looks fine.
The plan was to try and get him to relax and see if they couldn’t get his blood pressure to drop. If it didn’t, then they told him they would have to send him to the ER. Now, how exactly is that supposed to make you relax?
This is the part that I feel really bad about. Had I been there I would have gone across the way to the Starbucks in the same center, and gotten him a banana and a venti black iced tea. My mother had high blood pressure, and she swore by the banana trick. The reason it works is that your potassium levels can be low if your blood pressure is high, and bananas are full of potassium (so are sweet potatoes, but bananas win for being easier to stuff in your bag and carry around). The iced tea has flavinoids, which can also reduce blood pressure. I am not saying this would have brought him down to 120/80, but he may have been sent home with the advice to follow up with his primary care physician, although at the time he lacked actually having one.
He told me that at one point, they tried to use another blood pressure monitor, but they couldn’t get a reading at all. This was starting to get more disconcerting by the minute. Meanwhile, we were having trouble with our phones. The area where B was did not have very good reception. The call dropped a few times, so we decided to go back to texting, although that had problems too. None of this was helping, and B’s blood pressure wasn’t dropping significantly.
I think it was around 5pm when he told me they decided to send him to the ER in Pomona by ambulance. The doctor at the Urgent Care thought they would keep him overnight for observation. He first had to go to the emergency room though. Now all I had to do was figure out how to get to him (and get him home).
on the night stand :: The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne