A while back I went for a general medical check-up. When my doctor took my blood pressure her eyebrows shot up so high, it nearly touched her hairline. She did not say anything, she just took another – now what do you call it, one of those blood pressure measurer thingies. Wait let me look it up… Oh it is called a sphygmomanometer. Heavens above! I’ll not try to pronounce that. My tongue will get twisted and I don’t think I’ll be able to get it straightened again. Anyway, she took another sphygmomanometer (electronic this time) and took my blood pressure again. Same result. Extremely high. I told her that I don’t understand, I have started improving my lifestyle a year before. I finally quit smoking, I try to eat healthier and I exercise. She then told me, to get a better idea, she will arrange for a medical rep to fit me with an ambulatory blood pressure monitor for 24 hours. They fitted me with the thing at about 3’o clock the afternoon. I had to go back to work, we still had a meeting. The thing works like this. They fix the band bit round your upper arm. From the band bit a rubber pipe runs (underneath you shirt) to the monitor bit, which has a clip and can be fixed to your belt/waistband. Now, every half an hour I would hear the thing start to brrrr. Then I would feel how the arm band would start inflating till my arm goes numb. Later in the meeting, I was not aware of anything going on in the meeting. I was just in a state of anxiety because of this infernal thing on my arm. The anticipation of when is it going to start brrrr-ing again just killed me. So by the next time it started inflating I was in a right state. To the shock and confusion of the other attendees at the meeting, I jumped up, ripped open my shirt and continued ripping till I was free of the band, the rubber pipe and the exasperating device. I only calmed down a day later. My doctor was quite mad at me and I saw her scrawl “Pt cannot tolerate device” angrily in the file. For my sins I had to go into the consultation rooms for a few consecutive days for the nurse to take and record my blood pressure. Like an old geezer I now have to take a blood pressure tablet in the mornings and a cholesterol pill at night. The blood pressure tablets comes in blister strips, marked with the days of the week especially for the old folk, geriatrics and jurrasics. It is a known and scientific fact that white Afrikaners have a genetic predisposition towards having high cholesterol. One of our Dutch or French ancestors really did not do us a favour by passing it on. My doctor told me that if you have the genetic high cholesterol, you can only lower it marginally by means of diet. You have to take the meds. Bummer.