Discernably Me!

A Health Update

This goes back to August of last year. There was a particularly heavy thunderstorm that was causing the water level on our porch to rise. You should understand that our porch is lower than the back lawn. There is a barrier wall and a step up to get into the yard itself. The barrier wall has a drain, but I have no idea where it goes or if it goes anywhere at all. My best guess, based on observation, is that it’s more of a cistern than a drain. For most rain events, it’s enough. This particular storm it wasn’t.

The water from the storm was aleady within a foot of the back door and I didn’t want the water to back up into the house. So I took the only reasonable course of action I could think of. I got out my sixteen gallon wet-vac and started pulling up water. I would fill the tank and then take it around the side of the house where there’s a down slope and dump it. Somewhere around the tenth dump, (Quick math: water ~ 8 lbs/g x 16 gs = 128 lbs x 10 trips :: 1,280 lbs of water moved.) I got sloppy with my lifting/tilting technique and I felt my right shoulder pop. There was a burning feeling and I knew I’d done something to it.

The day after the storm, I was not able to bring my right hand to the left side of my neck. I decided to just put my right shoulder on IR. It’s not like I have a physically demanding job. I let it rest and by the holidays I decided it had rested enough. I started working it and getting some range of motion back. It was a slow process. But it was progressive. Unfortunately, I wasn’t paying much attention to what was going on elsewhere with my body though.

In February, very suddenly, I found that my left shoulder as I typed at work would go to pins and needles. It took Thea a bit of nagging but she got me to go to the doctor about it. By that time it was early March and the pins and needles had progressed to occasional numbness and ancillary pains in my back, neck and chest. I agreed with her that it was time to have it looked at. After all, it was my non-dominant arm experiencing pain and going numb. Classic signs.

At the doctor’s office, the exam was not particularly urgent. They didn’t do any lab work. I wasn’t in any pain at that time. The doctor didn’t find any lack of motion, paling of the skin or muscle loss. My heart and lungs sounded good. What he said I have is classic tendinitis of the shoulder. The inflamed nerve would block blood flow and cause the pins and needles and numbness. What did worry him was during the pre-exam my blood pressure was 170/110. I volunteered that I have always been on the high side of BP. And with that additional bit of information I was given two prescriptions.

  1. Exercise my forearms to build up the muscles there and ease the strain on my shoulder tendons.
  2. 25 milligrams of Atenolol to be taken at night before bed.

Atenolol is a beta-blocker. Like any medication, it has the possibility of side effects. For me, that side effect is bradycardia. Bradycardia is a subnormal heart rate.

I’ve been wearing my fitbit versa for many months now. My heart rate resting has always been somewhere in the low 60’s. The first morning waking up on Atenolol my heart rate was 48. I thought that my fitbit wasn’t working right. So, I used the heart monitor on my phone and got the same results. (I know. Technology. Cool)

Before I was taking Atenolol, I was on the excercise bike at night and working my heart up to the 120’s. I’d hold it there for thirty minutes. During recovery it would drop into the 90’s. I’ve been on my meds for two weeks now. It’s hard to crack the 100’s. And after exercise my heart rate almost magically drops back to the 70’s.

I related this to my sister, the nurse, and she said it best. Hypertension for bradycardia. Good trade.

My BP this morning was 117/70.

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