Archive for blood pressure

How Trina lost her balance and other stuff

Posted in All posts, Health and fitness, Life, On writing with tags , , , , , , , on August 11, 2010 by Trina

Am I a fiction writer, magazine editor, Web designer, or test developer? Can I really wear all four hats? Apparently not very well.

I have been doing too much, or at least trying to. Until I had a scare two weekends ago. My blood pressure shot to 150/102 and stayed there, even while taking my blood pressure medication. I had to go to the doctor and add another medication in addition to the one I was taking. And I have to slow down.

I drive from Raleigh to Durham four days a week, where my day job is developing educational science tests.  During my three days off, I select the stories for Pig in a Poke magazine, as well as laying out the HTML for the pages. I am also the leader of a fiction writing group.  So, it is not surprising that I quit writing my own fiction and let my exercise drop off to one or two days a week. I have not worked on my novel in two months. The same goes for my short story collection. Nor did I send out one submission for my finished stories. As you can see from the infrequency of my postings, I have not been blogging either. The combination of sitting at the computer with little exercise and eating out or ordering in did me in.

Determined to get my blood pressure under control, I had to make some changes. I am walking or going to the gym every morning. I have cut out alcohol completely, and Harry and I are back to eating healthy and cooking together, something we both enjoy. One trip to the farmers market gave us veges for the week. Yummy.

In one week I’ve lost 5 pounds and I’m not starving myself. I am not hungry. My blood pressure is now running around 115/80. I feel both relieved and energized! My goal is to lose 20 pounds and keep it off. That means exercise has to come first. And I’ll have to lose one of my other hats to make time for it.

Yesterday, I sent out a story submission for the first time in two months. It felt awesome. I’m ready to start working on the novel again. I’ve made some notes, which is a good start.

I am also doing some soul searching to determine how I let myself get so out of balance. When I decided to take on the fiction editing and Web design for Pig in a Poke I had resigned from my job as a test developer, effective May 1, the same day the first issue ran. I had planned to take on a few freelance critique jobs as a source of income and finish my novel and short story collection.

It didn’t work out that way. A senior project director at Measurement Inc. (MI) offered me a part time contract position (four days per week), so I went back to my day job. I enjoy the work and the pay is good.

So, which hat will I drop? Not Pig in a Poke. Harry and I enjoy putting out the magazine too much. It has been very rewarding work. Something else has to go. I no longer offer freelance critiquing and I’ve made arrangements to work at MI only seven of every ten business days. I hope cutting back on my hours will be enough for me to schedule my fiction writing back into my life. I would hate to give up the day job. I like the money too much. But I also want to be around for the next 50 years or so. My health has to come first.


Working at home

Posted in All posts, Life with tags , , , , , , , , on December 18, 2008 by Trina
Alex with Squeaky

Alex with Squeaky

Four years ago Harry and I got married on Smathers Beach in Key West. Harry and I are going to dinner tonight, but neither of us is much in the mood to celebrate after the crazy day we had yesterday.

I had decided to work at home because in addition to doubling the dosage of my blood pressure medicine, my doctor had prescribed a diuretic. I didn’t want to drive until I found out how I reacted to the new medication. The prescription bottle said it may cause dizziness and to be careful driving or operating machinery, so I didn’t want to chance the 20 mile commute to Durham. Turns out, it doesn’t make me dizzy, just sleepy. I feel like I’m walking in a fog, must be what it feels like to have normal blood pressure.

It should have been a relaxing day working at home. Since Harry works at home, I was looking forward to spending the day with him. Except that we had scheduled John, from Triangle Handyman, whom I highly recommend, to come and replace our hot water heater. It took all day to change out, which meant the water and furnace where shut off. So, here I was at home, first day on a diuretic, and I couldn’t flush the toilet. At least it was warm outside so the lack of heat wasn’t an issue.

That would have been bad enough, but about 9:00 AM, as I was reviewing a batch of science test questions from a writer, my cell phone rang. I was upstairs in my office; my cell was in my purse downstairs. I decided to let it ring. Then the landline rang. Seeing a 607 area code and thinking my daughter must be in trouble, I answered. The call was from Binghamton, New York, but was not Lynn, instead her landlord. He started the conversation with, “We’ve got a problem here.”

I felt my blood pressure rise, new meds withstanding–I had cosigned Lynn’s lease. It turned out to be a misunderstanding. I called Lynn, she called the landlord, and now everything’s hunky dunky, except the rise in my blood pressure.

When the handyman left to go to lunch I let our black lab Alex out. By the time I noticed the open gate, Alex was to hell and gone. I called him, but the blockhead had other ideas, like frolicking in the mud. Harry walked trying to find him and John drove his truck (thanks John) and I drove my car, calling him. I found Alex in his favorite escape route–the yards of an adjacent street where he’s been known to get mucho affection from our neighbors. What fun for him.

The excitable boy put muddy paw prints over most of the exterior of the driver’s side of my “new” car–it’s about six months old–before I could get the door unlocked. Alex then got mud all over the back seat before I got him home. Meanwhile our water is still shut off. I can’t make a soap water to clean my car, so I used Windex and paper towels. I was outgunned by Carolina mud and soon gave up. It is now no secret to anyone who sees my car that I have a dog. I love the blockhead anyway.

Alex was restricted to the house while John was working on the heater outside. Otherwise Alex would have supervised and generally gotten in the way. But he wasn’t happy inside while John was outside. Alex paced, barked and made it clear he wasn’t going to tolerate John out in his yard without him. His continual barking kept me awake–I was tired all afternoon from the medication–but made it almost impossible to work.

Then, when John turned the water back on, water started leaking from the hot water faucet in our kitchen sink. The handle was stripped. It had been loose for a while and Harry and I had procrastinated fixing it, maybe just a coincidence that it chose yesterday for its final gasp. So, I turned off the hot water to the kitchen sink and John gave Harry instructions in how to install a new faucet. We’ll see how that goes Saturday. Meanwhile we have no hot water in the kitchen and won’t be able to run the dishwasher unless we run it on cold.

When John was ready to leave, he realized he had left his tape measure in the shed, so he went outside to get it. When he tried to come back into the house, Alex wouldn’t let him onto the back deck, let alone the back door. We certainly don’t have to worry about anyone breaking into our house.

This morning I took my blood pressure and amazingly it’s normal.

Happy anniversary Harry. If we survived yesterday, we can survive anything!