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Hypertension: Silent but Deadly

Leslie Brown

Site down earlier. Reposting this piece to acknowledge the passing of Robin Williams depression sufferer.

Winston Churchill referred to depression as, “The Black Dog of Depression”. He was a sufferer as am I. I have suffered from it since I was about 11 years old. Yesterday,  the dog” wasn’t nipping at my heels, he was full-on “hunching” my leg. But today I am going to talk about the unwanted “dingle-berry” of hypertension the black dog brought in with him (as a Public Service Announcement).

Hypertension, or high blood pressure disproportionately targets our black and Native brothers and sisters. Many, many times, hypertension can be controlled by diet and exercise. Some of us are not that lucky. What’s the big deal with high blood pressure anyway?

Well, as you know, we are delicate and miraculously made creatures. Tiny capillaries in the eyes and kidneys in particular may be damaged by out of control blood pressure. This can lead to both blindness and renal failure. My paternal grandfather died in his 50’s from renal failure brought on by high blood pressure. I’m in my fif–I mean, before too long I’ll be in my fifties, ha ha!

Get over your pride y’all and sit in the blood pressure monitoring chair, at the H.E.B. or Walmart or wherever you shop. We already look like “dorks” to the younger folks ANYWAY!

From last November to March, I had a part-time grant funded position at a regional advisory council. It’s a “state thing” or agency you’ve probably never heard of. In a nut-shell, “RAC”s seek to improve emergency health care, educate the public, and participate in disaster preparedness. My boss was a former E.R. flight nurse, and let’s just say God was looking out for me in those five months that I worked for him.

After checking my blood pressure,(on a day I was honestly gonna slither out the door without it-sorry mom) he ordered me directly to the hospital. Unfortunately, we have no insurance, and now owe thousands. I will sign up for Obamacare about the time monkeys fly out my bum…IF I could afford it in the first place.

Let me tell you some STUPID things I have done so that you don’t repeat my mistakes 1) If you have a headache that lasts, oh, say SIX days, it might be hypertension. 2) With aforementioned headache, DON’T take migraine medicine with a vasoconstrictor-that would be a good way to kill yourself 3) I knew Sudafed was a no-no (I’m not a TOTAL idiot) but so are DECONGESTANT nose sprays. My husband says I’m the “smartest dumb-arse” he knows ha ha!

Depression and hypertension are like that “train-wreck-of-a-couple” that you KNOW are bad for each other, but they just can’t pry themselves apart; sorta like Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown. Depression is the “common cold” of the psychiatric world and nothing to be ashamed of.   I will be writing on that soon, and the people in our “own camp” that contribute to it. I believe sunlight is indeed the best disinfectant.

P.S. As a writer, do I get to play the “Sylvia Plath” or “Ernest Hemingway” depression card from time to time? Just sayin’

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