An Unexpected Change of Pace, and of Pressure

Some time ago I got to writing about my heartrate, and my blood pressure. Actually, I wrote a couple things. Anyway, long story short, I have a low resting heartrate, and mild systolic hypertension.

  • Which is a fancy way of saying that the lower number of my blood pressure reading is too high.
  • Which is another way of saying that the base load, by my heart, on my arteries, is too high.

All of which had my doctor moderately worried about my long-term health, because my age, diet and lifestyle indicated that my only risk factor for hypertension is genetics. Unfortunately, hypertension runs in my family; dad is on medication for it, and his mother took medication for it for her last 10 years.

Which brings me to yesterday.


No, wait; let’s backtrack to 1992, when I graduated from Engineering. For anyone who is interested, Engineering is a fairly tough course of study, a little on the stressful side. And the year 1992 was also a little stressful, because I graduated right in the depths of a fairly nasty recession.

For perspective, on year after graduation, the class of 1992 had a job placement rate of about 50%, in all jobs, not just engineering. The numbers were even worse for the class of 1993. In short, it was a fairly stressful time in my life.

That summer, I remember having my BP taken at my annual checkup with my GP, and, yes, I do remember that appointment from 27 years ago. There are a number of reasons, but the pertinent one was that it was the first time a doctor told me I had elevated blood pressure.

I was 25 years old.

He also told me that I shouldn’t worry, because I was in terrific shape, with a low heartrate, and that probably explained the higher pressure.

Over the intervening 27 years, I’ve had a number of doctors and any number of BP tests, and they all told the same tale; low heartrate, moderately high BP.

Then, in December of last year, the number got worrisome enough for the doctor to order a more comprehensive BP test. We did that in January and the results were the same, low heartrate and elevated BP. Enough so that they wanted me back after 6 months for a follow up test.

Well, the Wuhan Bat Soup Flu meant that I did get in after 6 months, it turned out to be 8, but that’s not really important. What is important is that yesterday I had another Blood Pressure True done and the results were:

Totally normal, nothing there to cause any concern.

Wait, wut?

For 27 years I’ve had elevated blood pressure and now,

  • during a pandemic,
  • a week before my last ever trip to my parents’ cottage,
  • with the school year in the offing,
  • with the school year in doubt
  • in a summer where I’ve bitten off way more than I can chew
  • as I fall behind in my side projects
  • while my work is busier than ever before

My blood pressure is TOTALLY NORMAL.

I have lived with the knowledge that, as I age, I will inevitably be on blood pressure medication because of family history and the slow upward creep of my own BP. To find out now, in one of the more stressful summers of my life that this may not be the case is absolutely amazing.

But it does create a question. Why has my BP been high, for so long, and why has it dropped now? What is the big change in my life that has dropped it into normal, for the first time in my adult life?


The only thing I can think is, it’s because of work. Not because it’s busier than ever, but because I’M NOT AT THE FRICKIN’ OFFICE.

  • No commute
  • No interruptions
  • None of the aggravations of other people
  • I’m in the comfort of my own home
  • I’m spending massive amounts of time with my boys

When I set out finally to create my course, I chose this topic as my basic course idea:

I help people learn to work at home, as efficiently as at the office, through a combination of ergonomics, time management and mindset.

I knew, months ago, that working remotely made me more efficient, and more productive. I never expected it to make me healthier.