The weather is glorious and spring like here in Southern Ontario. I was fortunately not trapped for long in the chemo unit today. I didn’t have any of my favorite nurses, nor did I have any of the really awful ones.
Before every treatment my blood pressure is taken. After the drug is injected it is taken again. If my blood pressure drops more than 10 points I have to hang around and receive extra hydration. The thing is, if my blood pressure drops, after two years of experience, I can say for certain it’s not because of the medication.
Here’s the thing. My blood pressure is generally quite low. It is, however, sensitive to an agitated state, as much as I try to keep a zen-like cool at all times.
So what causes agitation for me at the chemo unit?
I might be agitated from having waited an interminable amount of time. Once I am in the chair and the IV is in, I am usually calm. But by then, I’ve already had my first blood pressure test and by the time I’ve had the treatment, my blood pressure has dropped again. The nurses usually understand that one.
What else causes agitation? Arriving to find that I have one of my least favorite nurses or a nurse who I know gives painful injections will cause agitation. These are more difficult to explain to the nurse.
“Sorry Ms. Albert, you have to stay on for hydration as your blood pressure has dropped”.
“But you see, nurse, I became agitated when I saw you and knew that you would be my nurse. My blood pressure is dropping now because it is almost time to leave you”.
Would you say that to the person who may be holding the needle for you again the next week?
What I try to do now is to actually make myself more agitated at the end of the treatment in order to demonstrate that my blood pressure is not dropping. Then I can say “gee, look, my blood pressure actually went up! Isn’t that a son of a gun.”