A spot on my arm is freaking me out.
A fortnight ago it was just one of those round, slightly brownish, shiny spots commonly known as liver-spots.
It is about halfway up my right forearm and about the size of a pea. Nothing much really, but in my vanity I dabbed at it with peroxide, thinking to lighten it a bit.
Instead, it’s flared up into an angry, red welt and is not getting better. Friends tell me to see a doctor, so I do.
I never, ever go to the doctor if I can avoid it.
The last time was over 3 years earlier when she gave me a referral to see a gastroenterology, which I never used. There was a six week waiting list to see the specialist and my problem cleared up, so I never bothered.
Before that I hadn’t been top the doctor for about 10 years.
So that gives some indication of how much this little spot was bothering me.
Well, she took a good look at it using a magnifying glass and declared it to be burned and infected, issuing a prescription for some cream.
Phew! Nothing to worry about after all.
So, to make the visit worthwhile I asked her to check my blood pressure. She checked it once and said “shit!”. Not a particularly reassuring thing to hear from your GP.
Telling me to sit back and take some deep breaths, she took it again and said she was “alarmed”.
160 over 90.
That’s high. That is “alarmingly high” apparently.
My doctor wants me to do a 24 hour BP monitoring as soon as possible. I’m in a bit of a blur now. I need bloods done immediately too.
The nurse taking my blood is very nice and I rather fall apart with her, bursting into tears. I’ve not had a serious health issue before and this is very scary.
In the end, it turns out that I must wait until 11 Dec before a BP monitor is free.
I leave feeling like a ticking time-bomb, ready to explode at any moment.
My husband is at work so I decide to wait until lunch time to call him. I have my theology class in the afternoon and its the final for the year, so I think that will distract me and support me until he gets home.
Meanwhile, oh God, how did it come to this?
I smoke, I over-eat, I’m fat (really fat), I drink too much too often and I get no exercise at all.
OK, I know how it came to this.
It’s fair to say I am subdued in the afternoon class; so much so that people ask me if I am alright. I’m really not.
160 over 90? Oh, that’s nothing, some say. Just take the pills and you’ll be fine, others say.
But no. I am 57 years old and I’m not resigning to the ravages of time just yet. I am going to turn my life and my health around!
Nobody believes me, least of all my husband.