Meir Panim delivers warmth, special care to families in need.
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!
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
Are we allowed to lie for shalom bayis? It would seem so, but what might be a healthy guideline for when it’s okay and when it’s not?
The connection between what I experienced as a high school teenager and the adult I am today did not come easy to me.
Isn’t therapy about being yourself; aren’t there different ways for people to communicate with each other?
Participating in ManiCures during the school day may feel like a break from learning, but the intended message to the students was loud and clear. Learning and chesed come in all forms, and can be fun.
Building campaign chairman Jack Gluck has led the effort over many years.
When using an extension cord always make sure to use the correct rated extension cord.
There was no question that when Mrs. Cohen entered the room to meet the teacher she was hostile from the outset.
Szold was among the founders and leaders (she served on its executive committee) of Ichud (“Unity”), a political group that campaigned against the creation of an independent, sovereign Jewish state in Eretz Yisrael.
My friend is a strong and capable Jewish woman, but she acted with a passivity that seemed out of character.
“If you don’t stand straight, you’ll never get a husband.”
Divorce from a vindictive, cruel spouse can be a lifelong nightmare when there are offspring.
Unpleasant happenings are quickly discarded if they do not affect us directly.
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!
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/can-too-much-pressure-turn-you-into-an-ostrich/2009/01/28/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: