Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.
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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“You Touro graduates are automatically soldiers in [Israel’s] struggle, and we count on you,” Rothstein told the graduates.
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Sleepily, I watched him kissing Mai’s chubby thighs.
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They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and that is precisely what almost always happens in situations where a reference knew someone had serious but hidden emotional issues, but did not reveal the information to the person making inquiries.
Time never stood still for anyone – why would I be the exception? In my hubris, I thought that somehow I would live forever – and I suspect we all have secretly felt that way, even though we know it’s a fantasy.
One can argue that forgetting something on a regular basis is a sign of advancing age and it’s time to for a neurological evaluation, but based on the number of young people who need to replace a lost smart phone (too bad it’s not smart enough to warn its owner that that they have become separated – or is there an app for that too?), I safely can say that losing “stuff” cuts across the generations.
For quite a few days in late December, Toronto was transformed into a breathtaking – literally and figuratively – frigid winter wonderland, where every twig, leaf, car door, and outdoor wire and cable was totally encased in ice. When the sun shone the landscape was blindingly brilliant as if billions of diamonds had been glued to everything the eye could see.
Outside is a winter-white wonderland replete with dazzling trees, wires, and sidewalks seemingly wrapped in glittery silver foil. It’s quite lovely to look at, which is about all I can do since I’m stuck indoors. Icicle-laden tree branches are bent and hunch-backed by the frozen heaviness of their popsicle-like burden, and the voices squawking from the battery-operated transistor radio I am listening to are warning people not to go out since walkways and roads are extremely slippery, and there is real danger from falling trees.
The necessity of speaking up when you “have a hunch” applies even more when it comes to shidduchim. One little girl did just that – she said something – and I was fortunate enough to be in town for the very joyful, lively wedding that resulted from her speaking up.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/can-too-much-pressure-turn-you-into-an-ostrich/2009/01/28/
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