Hypertension, Magic and Hedonism

A few months ago, my brother Paul and I both discovered that we had high blood pressure.  Paul made the sensible decision to see a doctor, who put him on medication, with remarkable results.  Meanwhile, I decided to make up my own solution, including supplements and dietary changes.  Most importantly, it included complete elimination of alcohol and radical control of sodium intake.  I got to a borderline acceptable range — say, 125/85.  A few drinks and a meal in a Mexican restaurant can get me to 150/100.  But these are just numbers to me.  I mean, I practice martial arts, do lots of other physical activities and feel really good.  So, what me worry?  Well, there’s an apparently unanimous chorus of doctors out there telling us that these are numbers we should be scared of.  Even though I can poke holes in the science that backs up most of what doctors say, and even though I know they are just technicians themselves, I still feel like I’m pushing it.  But the sheer austerity of lifestyle needed to stay in a range that wouldn’t make the medical establishment freak out got to bothering me.  So I’m starting to wonder if the Way of the Pharmacy might have some merits.  I decided to check in with my brother about his medicated lifestyle.  I wrote him this little query with a mythological tone:

  • Now that you have a magickal potion from the wizard, are you able to consume the spirits with Impunity without incurring the wrath of the Blood Pressure God?  I long to be free from the curse of spending all my time with Chastity and Austerity, somber nymphs who know not the spirits.  If I stray from their sad company, the BP God strikes me down with a visitation from his son Severity who squeezes tight all the pathways of my body, raising up in my mind a deep foreboding of a possible visitation from his elder brother Calamity!  Oh how I long for those lost days in Impunity’s company! That carefree nymph would bring along her bosom companions Alacrity, Felicity and Impetuosity, and together we would share such delights as can be neither spoken nor recalled!
    O Blessed One, I eagerly await your response!

He replied poetically, including an implicit ode to Ogden Nash:

  • Candy is Dandy
    But Liquor is Quicker,
    Though Quicker to where?
    To more than One Twenty?
    Than Eighty?
    I swear,
    For Old Ones aplenty
    The Cuff is the Measure
    of the End of All Pleasure.
    But no, not for me!
    Enter the Apothecary!
    Once daily I swallow
    A Pill Small and White
    (its name now does follow)
    Amlopidine’s right
    For my BP to fight!
    Though Drugs are not all
    That keeps BP small;
    A sensible diet
    Will keep him quite quiet …
    But CHASTITY ???
    Extreme, I do think!
    My recommendation
    From Mine to Your Nation:
    Drugs form a solution;
    They work.  (that’s my view)
    What say you?

He also said something about the Geek Brothers (guilty as charged!).  Anyway, I’ve decided to consult a wizard.  Meanwhile another Ogden Nash aphorism is going through my head:

  • I often wonder which is mine:
    Tolerance, or a rubber spine?