“Your blood pressure is really good,” the tech commented.
Today was my pre-op appointment at Duke, and they were running through all my medications, taking vitals, drawing blood, and reviewing my pre-surgery game plan. Mom and I got up at 5 AM this morning so that we could be on the road by 6 and drive the 3 hours to Duke. We are now less than 10 days from the big day. I’ve got one week left to wrap up my projects at work, and we are about to launch a new software platform. I’m trying to make sure that everything is in place before the big day, and coordinating with family and friends without missing any important preparation. Oh, and I suffer from white-coat syndrome, which is a tendency to get anxiety in doctor’s offices. Honestly? I’m more stressed than ever. But my blood pressure reading was good.
I’ll tell you my secret: Little House on the Prairie.
Several years ago, when my white-coat syndrome was at an all time high, I started closing my eyes and picturing a happy place. At first, it was the lines of the poem:
I will touch a hundred flowers–Edna St. Vincent Millay, “Afternoon on a Hill”
And not pick one.
I would picture a field filled with flowers, the sun on the hair of a little girl as she ran through the field, her hands skimming the very tops of the petals without harming them. It usually worked to calm my pulse, but sometimes if the room was loud or my brain was racing, it was hard to focus. I needed some kind of hook to latch on to. Enter the opening credits of Little House on the Prairie.
Just remembering the theme music, picturing the Ingalls girls running down the hill of flowers, little Carrie falling down and popping back up: they allowed me to escape my fear and relax. Bingo! Low blood pressure. I’m not sure if it works just because it brings me back to my childhood Monday nights when I would watch it with my mom or if it is just the show itself.
Whatever it is, it is my blood pressure cuff happy place. Even SH has used it a few times to good result.
Thanks, Half Pint!