Under Pressure

There has been a distinct lack of blogposts and email replies of late for two reasons. Reason number one is that I'm in the 'nasty' bit of my rota, where I am working loads of twelve hour shifts and getting home only to fall asleep. My Sky+ box is filling up with the few programmes that I watch and what little free time I have is filled up with mundane stuff like taxing my car or doing laundry.

The other reason would be the new MMORPG Age of Conan – which I am having entirely too much fun with. I wish I ran a gaming blog so I could set up a guild with all my readers, as it is I suspect that only a handful of you play MMORPGS, even less on the European side.*

It would appear that everyone knows about 'blood pressure', even if they don't know what it represents or why it might be altered. Many the time when asking a patient's medical history I've been informed that they have 'blood pressure'. This is good as blood pressure is what keeps us alive – I know that they mean they have a high blood pressure, but it still amuses me.

It must be on the telly or something, all this talk about high blood pressure, I suppose that it helps that when someone goes to see their GP for their allotted twelve minutes their blood pressure is taken and if high** then they are warned and given some little white pills.

Of course, most people have high blood pressure when having it taken, and effect known as 'white coat syndrome'. This is the fear you have when being prodded by a strange doctor and it naturally raises your blood pressure. For us ambulance staff the effect is known as the 'Sitting in a dirty ambulance being prodded by that ugly bloke in green syndrome'.

I'm not going to explain Blood pressure as this wikipedia article does a much better job than I could. It's particularly interesting to see the difference in 'normal' between the US and UK…

The thing about blood pressure is that everyone has heard of it, so they all get concerned about it and ask me if their blood pressure is 'alright' even if they are complaining of nothing more than a sore throat.

I went to a woman, who had dialled 999 because she was 'feeling strange'. She'd recently had an operation and had discharged herself, apparently her blood pressure had taken a while to 'get back to normal' and she was concerned so she called an ambulance.

I arrived and spoke to her as she sat on her bed, her pulse was fine and she didn't feel hot to the touch. I suggested that I take her to the hospital.*** She doesn't seem too happy to head back to the hospital.

“Are you qualified to take a blood pressure?”, she asks.

I bite my tongue to stop myself from telling her exactly what I am qualified to do.

“Of course”, I say and lead her down to the ambulance.

So we check her blood pressure and it's perfect. By now she has decided that she would like to go to hospital so walks back to her house to get a few 'things'****

She returns and settles down in the ambulance.

“Can you drive slowly”, she tells us, “only my mum is following in the car and, unlike me, she doesn't know the way to the hospital”.

Telling her that she could have gone in the car and thus saved the NHS £400 in ambulance fees and kept an ambulance free to attend a more serious call would only lead to the possibility of her complaining against me, so once more I bite my tongue.

My poor tongue is getting rather chewed of late.

*Reynolds on the RP-PVP server Aquilonia, EU side.

**For a value of *high* insert current medical guidelines, or whatever the people who make blood pressure pills say is high that month.

***I suggest everyone goes to the hospital, it's how I don't lose my job for leaving someone at home who later dies, even of unconnected reasons.

****Like most men I try not to think about what 'things' are inside the bags that women take with them everywhere.

30 thoughts on “Under Pressure”

  1. …I'm supposed to carry all that junk? WHY?! Money lives in my trousers, phone etc live in my coat. Everything else is optional.

  2. I saw an ambulance yesterday with a sticker on it saying “This is not a taxi – don't use it like one” or words to that effect. As they say, I saw it and thought of you!I think a little constructive rudeness would be a good thing. Why do we have to be polite to idiots who waste our time?

  3. My mother was told that she had high blood pressure and would have to go on medication. She convinced the doctor to let her bring home a device that would let her take her own blood pressure and check it over a 24 hour period. Her blood pressure is perfectly normal. I wonder how many others are out there on medication they don't need.

  4. I got told that I have high blood pressure by a fitness instructor at the gym because it was 131/97 – after my work out.When I didn't look suprised or concerned he advised me to see my GP – which had I not been aware that this wasn't a problem – could have scared the hell out of someone, getting them into a panic, causing their blood pressure to be high when they saw their GP…..

    I also love the little amusement gained from someone telling us HCPs that they have “blood pressure” with a serious but proud face….bless em!

  5. We picked up a tiny old woman a few days ago whose blood pressure I took was 212/110. I didn't believe it, so I took it on the other arm and I got the same thing. That probably qualifies as high blood pressure…

  6. “Why do we have to be polite to idiots who waste our time?”Because they're in the majority?! Mobs with pitchforks, all that…

  7. In my bag it'd be makeup, face cream, toothbrush & hairbrush, soap, undies and nightwear – all to do with my shameless vanity of course. There may also be emergency sanpro, as well. Most blokes can overnight in a strange place with little more than a comb – but even women who don't LOOK high-maintenance, do tend to have far more comprehensive requirements.HTH! :o)

  8. But that is biting us back on our asses because now those idiots think that being rude/ aggresive=quicker/ ?better treatment.BTW, it's incredible anything above 120/80 is high BP across the pond. Love to see their stadistics

  9. Aw, c'mon Tom – go ahead, embrace your inner MMORPG-geekiness! Take it from someone who just spent 2 hours last night learning new and exciting ways to increase your armour repair bills in Gruul's Lair!!

  10. hahahaha, it's so true!Plus, if you're going out on a night out, you need to have some form of clothes for the next day, cos we can't go out the next day in the same clothes unlike blokes, due to the fact that we would look like idiots… Guys just wear things they usually wear, and just look classy instead! Sigh!

    Deoderant/Perfume is also an option in there.. Painkillers, cos you never know when you'll need them, camera potentially, for the same reason.

    Oh, and a wallet. With Keys. And a Phone too probably. 😀

    And you men wonder why we have such big bags. Seriously, yee should be praising us for having such SMALL bags! It's ridiculous! Especially when you consider that we don't usually have pockets in our outfits!

  11. Hee hee, the ambulance peoples we saw at the weekend nearly fell over backwards when we said we didn't want to go to hospital.My basic-level 'things' are keys, phone and money (usually in my purse). If I'm leaving the house for more than, say, half an hour, then I'll also want my painkillers, a pocket pack of tissues, and a tiny notebook and pen… and if I'm expecting any periods of sitting-around-waiting then there's a small knitting bag containing half a sock. Oh, and in winter I have this gel thing where you click a metal thing inside it and it crystallises and is warm.Beyond that, my bag-size directly correlates to my stress levels. If I feel relaxed, I'll cheerfully go out with everything I feel I might need slipped in my jeans pockets. If I'm really tense, I'll be carrying everything from spare batteries to sun cream to two books (in case I finish one).

  12. The last time I had my BP taken I was asked how I was still standing! 90/58! I generally get worried if my BP hits 120/80 e.g. Normal!I also had bite marks in my tongue this weekend following a patient who was going to report me for being rather firm with her……………… we were her 3rd ambulance that day and the 5th over the weekend…………… seizures…………. although having witnessed her 'seizures' in the ambulance and hospital it was safe to say I was happy to tell her my name and station for that report without worrying too much!

  13. It's a book, a screwdriver with a set of “security” bits, another slightly different screwdriver with 40 other bits, a swiss army knife, a set of boot disks with assorted tools on, nail clippers, duck tape, three pens, and an emergency sausage roll. What did you think was in there?

  14. only that? ;-)Dont forget make up, agenda, ipod etc.. That without going into Tampax/Always territory!!!

  15. Contact lense case, glasses, ideally contact lense solution. Have been caught out a few times with boyfriend doing the “Oh, let's just stay over” routine… Leaving contacts in overnight is not an option, but putting them back in after they've been in 2 eggcups of water isn't much better!Also, hairband. Always have a hairband. Just because.

  16. “learning new and exciting ways to increase your armour repair bills in Gruul's Lair”..that would be by listening to the Raid Leader, no? 😉 Of course I'll stand still in the middle of the Cave In, oh Wise One. (Not bitter, honest)

    Or that old favourite when healing, Getting-a-drink-and-not-hearing-the-leader-say-GO…

  17. I dread to think what some of the crap you have to put up with does to your and your colleagues' blood pressure, Tom…

  18. After a rummage a couple of minutes ago below is the list of my handbag items it is pretty normal list for my handbag….1) 1 pair scissors

    2) 1 pair artery forceps (use it loads at work for gripping and undoing things, at work they are clipped to my left breast pocket and referred to as titty grippers by everyone and always in demand. Live in my bag out side of work)

    3) Swiss army knife,

    4) 2 spare dog leads (used to catch escaped dogs and a couple of horses in the past and in general at work),

    5) Tipex,

    6) Minimum 8 pens (everyone nicks them so l keep a topped up supply),

    7) Fork for eating (hate the ones at work)

    8) Satnav and satnav windscreen holder,

    9) Purse,

    10) Metacam (NSAID) and dispenser (for the dog),

    11) Pill popper (give patients tablets at work).

    12) Ibuprofen, paracetamol, zantac,

    13) Pooper scoop bags (for the dog)

    14) Roll of sellotape,

    15) Stethoscope (use at work, outside of work lives in my bag),

    16) Glasses and case,

    17) Computer memory stick,

    18) Calculator x2,

    19) Notepad,

    20) Doggie toothpaste (keep forgetting to take it out been there 3 months),

    21) Disposable covers for thermometer & my digital thermometer, animal use only!!

    22) Clip on light,

    23) Huge bunch of keys – few keys loads of bits l love keyfobs :-))

    24) Hair comb,

    25) Notes and letters,

    26) Emerg. sanipad things,

    27) Diary,

    28) Cam phone invaluable at work & in general also phone charger,

    29) Heel repair cream (l hate shoes and get very rough heels)

    30) Book to read (in work break that we never get!)

    31) A bottle of dr pepper and a sandwich(for work) left from work tonight never got to have them had chips instead.

    32) Medical tape for iv catheters, also to use as post it notes on things, repairs and general cuts etc,

    33) Vicks for stuffy nose and cough sweets (just getting over a cold and cough)

    34) Condoms- shoved in by a friend who met her new b/f while we were having a coffee forgotten from last b/f of hers, not see her for ages to return them then forget so they just sit in the handbag.

    Think that's it for my handbag (well small haversack really) If l leave things at home specially things l use for work l forget them so easier to just carry them about.

  19. I live in the US and every nurse I see is convinced they can tell by looking at me that I have high blood pressure, and when they take it with the regular sized cuff, it reads high. Using a regular sized cuff, it tends to read low normal.My husband has quite low blood pressure usually. and a low heart rate. Low enough that it scares nurses when they take it first thing in the morning. Low enough that it spurs jokes about not looking like an athlete on the outside. When he is in pain, his blood pressure gets high. He has fibromyalgia and so now it gets high often, especially after having trekked to the doctor's office and been made to sit in chairs with no low back support.

    The recurring theme seems to be when either of us go to the doctor that we are fat so we must have dangerous high blood pressure that needs immediate treatment.

    The doctors put him on some medication that was supposed to prevent migraines, but a little research revealed its primary purpose to be lowering blood pressure, research I did when he was so dizzy he had trouble standing.

    Heck, even my mother has had to deal with this. She has type II diabetes and though she may be over her ideal weight, she does not really obese, and she too has low blood pressure. The doctors gave her medication that lowers her blood pressure as well as treats diabetes, and don't seem to care that her blood pressure is at times far too low.

    The attitude I see again and again is that fat people all have dangerously high blood pressure, and must be treated for high blood pressure, even if it causes their blood pressure to crash. Better that than have high blood pressure, because high blood pressure kills.

    I know it does, but so can low.

  20. In the case of the ambotaxi i have on a few occasions suggested to relatives that are following up in a cars that they might actually want to take the patient (after a thorough assessment) who's condition is nowhere near being life-threatening, eg broken eyelash.They are usually more than happy to transport themselves; unless its the mother-in-law…

  21. Though my norm was low at 100/60.Just out of interest are you sluggish in the morning?

    In Germany Low blood pressure is treated as a problem, so I was astounded to be offered time off work because of it, especially as it was the Works Doctor doing my obligatory medical before starting employment!

    Also spent the first trimester of each pregnancy keeling over – office colleagues got used to finding spare chairs in strange places – I'd put them at strategic intervals between my desk and the kitchen/loos.

  22. I have no idea what the numbers of my blood pressure are. It's always been 'on the low side' but no one's ever looked worried by it (although I did once get told they'd rather not let me donate blood that day).It was slightly amusing to be told “if you feel dizzy, eat some salty snacks, that might help get your BP up” at about the same time as the UK health bodies went “eek! salt BAD!” and suddenly even ready-salted-flavour crisps were being advertised as “now virtually salt-free”.

  23. Sounds like we have something in common! I've taken to pinching salt packs from fast food places for emergencies in hot weather. I can appreciate that it's easier to add salt if you need it than avoid it if you don't when it's in everything but it makes the summer hazardous for us low BP types.Oh yeah, make that something else that goes in *my* bag – salt baggies 🙂

  24. Tom – Like you, I'm an avid MMORPG fan (And also dabble in tabletop RP as well) – Current faves are Eve Online and Tabula Rasa and am keenly anticipating WAR coming out later this year.I haven't tried AoC yet, although by all accounts, its pretty good… Anyway, just wanted to let you know that yes, a few of us MMORPG fans do read the blog…

  25. I'm in an EMT-B program in the US, and our “normal” adult BP parameters are 90-140 mmHg, systolic. What's considered hypertensive in the UK?

  26. [quote]*Reynolds on the RP-PVP server Aquilonia, EU side. [/quote]Glad to see you've moved on from WoW. Notch up another Ambo (EMD) person on Aquilonia, look up the guild Precept if you ever need someone to chat about the day and swing swords about…great stress relief.

  27. In my bag …… One Small didi Nebuliser (Onron Microair) plus nebules

    2 x Epipens

    2 X 1ml insulin syringes plus s/c bricanyl.

    Protocol for treatment

    Film pots to put bugs in (well I am an ecologist !)

    plus the usual handbag junk – all in a very neat small 10 Lt Rucksack that is no way near as big as some handbags – well I don't know where my supposed handbag is! LOL


    PS you should have seen me trying to stuff all my liquid things in a 20 X 20 cm clear bag for flying with Ryanair this last week!

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