Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.
In my case, the answer to the above question is, “Yes, too much pressure (in my case blood pressure) led me to indulge in not so smart (actually stupid) “avoidance” behavior. Thus this column is not about the pressure, stress or aggravation part and parcel of having a pulse, but rather about our pulse and other parts of the human physiology that can go awry – and how we deal with that reality.
Those fortunate to be currently breathing experience daily excitement of both the bad and good variety – like getting a flat tire, missing the train by a few seconds, or kvelling over a child’s or grandchild’s latest achievement. All this bad and good stress can wreck havoc on our bodies over time. And sure enough, family genetics and life’s daily grinds, plus a few extraordinary, long-term, out-of-the-park aggravations over the years, have taken their toll on me. I have now joined the ranks of the millions of North Americans who have high blood pressure.
In retrospect, it is not surprising that such a stress-related affliction finally caught up with me. What is surprising is that it took so long. I got the news of this status change back in September when I underwent a routine checkup. My doctor took my blood pressure three times to ensure that there was no mistake. And there wasn’t. My numbers were quite high. Really high.
He told me to wait and see if this was an isolated incident due to some stress factor, or if indeed genetics or some underlying medical issue had caused this new reality. He advised me to have my blood pressure checked for several weeks. I knew that I could easily buy a blood pressure monitor and test myself without having to schedule office appointments.
So I obtained a blood pressure cuff – and left it unopened for months.
I had taken on a “head-in-the-sand” approach, not too uncommon with people facing potentially bad news. This silly behavior is very likely a leftover from our childhood manner of dealing with “monsters.” You close your eyes in the irrational (for an adult) but logical (for a child) belief that if you can’t see it, then it’s not there; and thus it can’t “hurt” you. The adult equivalent is, “if I don’t know about it, it does not exist.” Hence, the comforting but totally baseless belief that if I didn’t take my blood pressure, I have nothing to worry about.
This very childish way of thinking would be amusing if its consequences weren’t so tragic. I have friends who died or became invalids because they thought that closing their eyes (being oblivious of the facts staring at them) would make the “monster” disappear. And so they ignored the lumps, the headaches, the shortness of breath, the pounding heart, the tingling in the fingers, etc.
Unfortunately, refusing to face a possible “nasty” situation does not make it go away if it’s there. However the relief you get when you deal with a potential problem is incredible. Most of the time, what we were terrified of finding out wasn’t even there. The mammogram, colonoscopy or prostate exam that men and women loathe having, or the blood work or urine test we anxiously undergo, usually results in good news. “You’re fine, come back next year, or in two years, or in 10 years ” we’re often told.
But if the news isn’t so good, finding out earlier rather than later (or, God forbid, too late) can mean that although you may have a tough “parshah” ahead of you, you will triumph over it. And you need not feel guilty or grieved that your lack of due diligence caused extra tza’ar (hardship) and burden on your loved ones.
I know that I wasn’t so much afraid of finding out that I had high blood pressure (after all, it’s treatable); rather it was the inconvenience and investment of time in finding out why. While hypertension often has no discernible reason, with aging and genetics being the likely culprits, sometimes there is an underlying medical factor that needs to be uncovered. Baruch Hashem,I am in thebubbe parshah, and since my kids live in three different states, I have become somewhat of a “wandering Jew” – trying to be an “equal opportunity bubbe” by lending a needed hand to pre- and post-baby daughters-in-law. So going for tests was not a welcome diversion.
But mild headaches and a heart I could hear beating while sleeping convinced me to start using the blood pressure monitor. And the numbers were even higher!
I am now on medication, which,Baruch Hashem, is helping, and I plan very soon to go for tests – increasing the odds of my being a helpful bubbe for even longer.
It was time to take my head out of the sand, and stop being a stupid ostrich. The same goes for you too!
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My eyes skimmed an article on page 1A. I was flabbergasted. I read the title again. Could it be? It had good news for the Miami Jewish community.
Students in early childhood, elementary, and middle school were treated to an array of hands-on projects to create sukkah decorations such as wind chimes, velvet posters, sand art, paper chains, and more.
Each student received a brachah and a handshake.
It is important for a therapist to focus on a person’s strengths as a way of overcoming his or her difficulties.
Sadly, there are mothers who, due to severe depression are unable or unwilling to prepare nourishing food for their children.
Michal had never been away from home. And now, she was going so far away, for so long – an entire year!
Though if you do have a schach mat, you’ll realize that it cannot actually support the weight of the water.
Social disabilities occur at many levels, but experts identify three different areas of learning and behavior that are most common for children who struggle to create lasting social connections.
Sukkot is an eternal time of joy, and if we are worthy, of plenty.
Two of our brothers, Jonathan Pollard and Alan Gross, sit in the pit of captivity. We have a mandate to see that they are freed.
Not knowing any better, I assumed that Molly and her mother must be voracious readers.
I have always insisted that everything that happens to anyone or anything is min Shamayim.
It is so hurtful to heighten people’s sense of inadequacy and guilt in a matzav that is already horrendous and difficult to bear.
Make no mistake: in the wrong hands cars are weapons of mass destruction.
Where once divorce in heimische communities was relatively uncommon, nowadays every family has a son, daughter, sibling cousin who is divorced – sometimes twice or even three times!
Many go about the business of living frum, observant lives, but they are only going through the motions.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/can-too-much-pressure-turn-you-into-an-ostrich/2009/01/28/
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