under pressure

Here’s how I was taught to measure blood pressure (I believe I said they tried to make me a nurse):

Arm up and out but relaxed.  Cuff on, lower edge about one finger’s width above the crease in the elbow (we have skinny fingers in my family).  Stethoscope on the crease.  Pump pump pump, slowly release, and mark the first sound and (here’s the wonky bit) the third to the last sound.

Where my mother got that “third to the last sound” thing from, I don’t know.  And I remember thinking “but mom, how do I know it’s third to last until I hear the last?  I mean, do I have to remember every bump and then count back to which one was third to last?”  wtf?!  Me and numbers don’t go well together.  I would never be a nurse.  This inability to keep the running tally of bumps plus oh so many other things resulted in me hanging up my little plastic stethoscope and nurse’s hat and deciding to be an archeologist (who lived in Australia and drove a jeep).

Aside:  “The status of the woman in Australia is slightly less than that of the dingo,” my mother told me when I mentioned that part of my intentions.

So is this how it’s done?  Should I be checking my blood pressure to see if that’s what’s wacky when I feel so crappy?  Can I really keep all those bumps in my mind, then subtracting back to find the third to the last to get the diastolic?  Maybe an automatic system would be better, I thought, until I priced ’em.  Yikes.  Unless someone tells me I should be checking this,  I simply cannot justify dropping that much moola on what might be nothing more than a sort of hypochondriac curiosity.

What’s got me thinking about this today?  The weather, sort of.  When it’s getting ugly, I puff up and get sore.  Sore in the joints, my hands and legs are killing.  And by “puff up” I don’t mean I’m all stay puff marshmallow man.  My hands and feet get red and hot and a little swollen and the veins stand out like crazy, all blue green and ropey.  So here’s my question.  If I am all hypotensive and whatnot, what the hell is this?

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  1. You should be able to get a good automatic one for less than $50. I think we got one that even keeps track of 30 readings for 2 different people for around $40. If you think your blood pressure could be an issue, you might consider getting one.

  2. Hi Jamie,
    Thanks! The ones I saw at the drug store were pricey.

    It is definitely an issue – it gets super low. I’m just not sure if it’s “the” issue.


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