“I have confirmed white coat hypertension,” I said with all seriousness as the young lady slid the blood pressure cuff around my arm. It’s one of those things, like blushing, where one can see an emotion triggering a physiological response. I fear that my blood pressure will read high, and so, it obliges me by doing so. The numbers on the screen cause eyebrows to lift.
One brilliant nurse two weeks ago had lowered her eyebrows and told me to close my eyes. “Where’s your most relaxing place?”, she asked. “My family’s cabin in Montana, right down by the Dearborn River.” “Okay, I want you to hear the water, see the mountains, imagine the trees and just be there.”
I felt silly and couldn’t keep a smirk off my face, but I obeyed. I looked at the picture in my mind, heard the river’s gurgling song, saw the light catching on the ends of pine needles. She took my blood pressure then, and the numbers came back perfect.
So this week after the high numbers had alarmed once again they told me to lay on my side and rest, taking the reading again afterwards. Perfect. The doctor looked me straight in the eye and said, “You need to rest more. You are working your body too hard.”
I knew it was true. I had been overworking my eight months-pregnant body trying to keep up with the demands of life with four littles. Lots of cleaning, lots of laundry, lots of cooking and baking. The pre-winter chores of pruning the trees and roses. Organizing baby clothing up in the attic. The stuff of life that simply needs doing.