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The Place is Argyle: Pressure builds up when tension runs high

Profile image for Lynn Sheffield Simmons
Lynn Sheffield Simmons

I have white coat hypertension. When I take my blood pressure at home it is perfectly normal, but when I go to the physician's or dentist's office it zooms upward. My physician suggested I monitor it at home, which I do, but I decided to do more.

Lynn Sheffield Simmons
Lynn Sheffield Simmons

I wanted to control it and so shortly before my yearly physical, I arrived home with an armload of books on how to lower your blood pressure, how to control stress, how to relax and how to eat away your hypertension.

"What's all this?" my husband asked.

"Look," I said, opening one of the books. "Did you know bananas, potatoes and raisins give us the potassium we need that might help lower our blood pressure?"

"We already eat them."

"We need to eat more," I said. "And I am going to talk less, plug up the salt shaker and push my tummy out when I breathe."

"What?"

"Belly breathing reduces anxiety. I'm also going to walk, pet the dog, learn how to focus on calming words, wear some worry beads on my wrist and buy a Magic Moon Ball."

"A what?"

"It's like the worry beads, squeezing the ball calms fidgeters."

"Now wait a minute. You're wanting to lower your blood pressure when you go into the physician's office and your appointment is in two weeks, right?"

"That's right."

"Honey, these techniques and diets are for people with high blood pressure, not people who just become anxious when they go to see a physician, and besides you would need to practice these ideas for a while before they work."

"I am taking a crash course. Did you know vegetarians have lower blood pressure?"

The next two weeks I read, ate fruits and vegetables and practiced. On the morning I was to have my physical I took my blood pressure and it was normal. Before I left I took it again and it was starting to rise.

"I'm going to have to try my techniques early," I told my husband as I walked out the door.

When I returned home my husband was waiting for me, "How did it go?"

"Awful!" I snapped.

"What happened?"

"After I left the house I began meditating on the words, 'stay calm,' but when I looked at the clock, I got stuck on the word, 'hurry.' By the time I got there I was all out of breath."

"So you got a little panicky because you thought you might be late," he said.

"Well, then I went into the waiting room and began distracting myself by mentally writing a letter to Holly, my cousin in New York, but after I finished I thought, 'Oh my goodness, I'm in the doctor's office.'"

"Did you start belly breathing?"

"Yes, and I got my breathing so goofed up I couldn't inhale or exhale. I ran to the door to get some fresh air, and while I was there I began stretching, then I pressed my temples with my fingers and dropped my jaw — moving it right and left."

"Did it work?" he asked.

"No, but it did on the patients sitting in there. They all moved to the other side of the room."

"How was your examination?"

"While I was waiting for the doctor, I sat on the table dressed in a paper thing," I told him. "My breathing was all out of whack, my feet were cold, my hands were cold, well, not the one squeezing the Magic Moon Ball, but then I remembered the technique — avoid uncomfortable situations or leave."

"You didn't!" he exclaimed.

"No, but that made me remember to be happy and think positive."

"Did it help your blood pressure?"

"No, it made me decide to start working right now on next year's physical and you should, too."

"Why? I don't need to practice all those methods," he said.

"You better. Research shows that the longer we're married the more alike our blood pressures will become."

Organizations

The Argyle Lions Club meets at noon on the first Tuesday of every month at Coffee Tree Café, 144 Old Town Blvd. in Argyle, and at 6:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month following a board meeting at 5:30 p.m. in the Community Room at Argyle Town Hall, 308 Denton St. For more information, contact Deborah Cottle via email at dcottle@temporah.com.

The Argyle Chamber of Commerce meets the third Tuesday of every month for breakfast from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at Lantana Golf Club, 800 Golf Club Drive. The chamber office is in Point Bank, 302 U.S. Highway 377. For more information, visit www.argylechamber.org or call 940-464-9990.

The Argyle Chamber of Commerce will meet from 7:30 to 9 a.m. Tuesday for breakfast at Lantana Golf Club, 800 Golf Club Drive, in Lantana. The chamber's office is located inside Point Bank, 302 U.S. Highway 377. For more information visit www.argylechamber.org or call 940-464-9990.

The Argyle Senior Center meets every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in the Community Room at Argyle Town Hall, 308 Denton St. with exercise beginning at 10 a.m. followed by card games at 11 a.m. The ASC has a monthly luncheon on the third Friday of every month at noon. Those attending are asked to bring a side dish. Anyone age 55 and older is welcome to attend. For more information, call Stella at 940-464-7438 or Karen at 940-464-0506.

Keep Argyle Beautiful meets the second Tuesday of every month at 5:30 p.m. in the Community Room at the Argyle Town Hall. Keep Argyle Beautiful preserves and enhances the town's natural environment through educational and motivational programs and special events. For more information, visit www.keepargylebeautiful.com or email Deborah Cottle at dcottle@temporah.com.

LYNN SHEFFIELD SIMMONS is the founder and past president of the North Texas Book Festival Inc. She is the author of 10 children's books and two history books on Argyle. Her website is www.argylebooks.com. She can be reached at lynn@argylebooks.com.