The assistant nurse just came to take my blood pressure, and she immediately jumped when she saw 79/37 “that can’t be right. That’s the blood pressure of a dead person!”
Well, believe it. When I get really sick, my blood pressure is one of the few clinical symptoms I have (besides my feeling like crap), that tells the world I’m as sick as I feel.
After the lab technician took my blood, the assistant nurse immediately took it again. 98/39.
“Ok…my much better”. (But why is the second number so low?)
And then she jumped to my other arm.
105/52. Even better.
But 52 is still much lower than normal for me.
She starting typing into the computer, and I encouraged her to write down all the blood pressure measurements she got. “It’s for the insurance companies. To help the hospital when they’re billing to explain why I’m here.”
I get so few of the traditional ‘I’m very sick’ markers, like a fever or an elevated wcb’, the one I do get that indicates severe illness–my blood pressure readings–become extremely important to write down correctly.
It’s just amazing to me how much health clinicians just want to fight acknowledging it when they see a low one.
(I understand that putting the cuff on wrong can trigger a false reading, but my diastolic reading of 37 the first time and then 39 the second time makes me conclude that there probably wasn’t a problem in the cuff that caused the low reading. It’s because my blood pressure itself is too low.)
I think health clinicians have a hard time wanting to acknowledge my low bp, because it’s hard for them to believe that it’s even possible for someone who looks as healthy as me to have numbers that low. It doesn’t add up.
And they’re right, it doesn’t add it–What’s missing, is my immune system functioning properly.
In this case, I think the low bp is mostly from the IVIG and the new antibiotics I’ve been put on working…my body is just reacting, because the infection is overwhelming (something else they can’t understand, because my WBC is normal).
I think my bp will return more to normal over the next day or two as my body gets the infection more under control. It just needs a little time to catch up.
There’s an outside chance my bp is this low because it’s bacteremia again kicking it, but if that’s the case, then the blood cultures that got pulled in the ER Thursday night will most likely catch it. Or I’ll start feeling even more worse over the next 48 hours.
But because I’m feeling a little better in spite of my low bp right now, that makes me think the low bp is just from everything working.
I’ll see what it is before I want to leave, but right now I don’t think it’s anything that will stop me from leaving for the NIH Sunday afternoon. I have to get there. Even if this is bacteremia getting worse (which I don’t think it is), I can always be hospitalized on the East Coast if necessary.
Getting to the N.I.H. is most important thing I have to do for my son right now. It’s his best chance at a normal life.