Ollie’s shocked to find he’s a ticking time bomb

Pressure from his wife leads Ollie to have a blood pressure check, when he finds he’s off-the-scale high. It comes as a shock, but at least they’ve found out in time, and can do something to get it under control.

“But I don’t need my blood pressure checked,” said Ollie. “I’m a fit young man with a gym membership.” He stood in front of the mirror and flexed his biceps. “Look at those guns.”

“They’re as big as knots in cotton,” said Lizzie. “Alice’s are bigger, and she’s a five-year-old girl. And I thought the gym membership card was like an organ donor card; you know, you want someone else to benefit from it when you’re gone, which is why you’re not using it now.”

“Ooo, that’s a bit harsh. I don’t go as often as I’d really like to, it’s true, but there are so many other things we both have to do, that going to the gym tends to get pushed into the background,” said Ollie in his defence.

“Anyway, I’m being serious,” said Lizzie. “When did you last have your blood pressure checked?”

Ollie frowned. “I’m not sure I’ve ever had it checked,” he said. Now it was Lizzie’s turn to frown. “What, never ever? You must have done. But if you haven’t, then first thing in the morning you’ve got to make an appointment at the doctor’s and have a check. You could be a walking time bomb.”

Ollie thought that was a bit dramatic, and ventured to suggest as much, but Lizzie put her foot down. “Tomorrow. Just because you’re not fat doesn’t mean you don’t have high blood pressure. You know what put me onto it? I think you put far too much salt onto your food. I’ve seen you doing it, and you do it more when you think I’m not looking.”

“Eyes in the back of your head,” whispered Ollie to himself.

“And ears,” she said. “I heard that, and I’m not joking. Tomorrow.”

After the test
Lizzie picked up the phone. Ollie was on the other end. “I’m at the chemist getting my tablets,” he told her. “I have high blood pressure. Dangerously high, the doctor said. I have to start on the tablets today, and change my lifestyle. I’ll tell you more about it when I get home.”

By the time he did get home, Lizzie was looking up high blood pressure, and what to do about it, on the internet. She had already hidden the salt cellar, ordered a home blood pressure monitor, and set up a spreadsheet to record what it told them.

“OK, Banks, what did the Doc say,” she asked.

“For a start, my blood pressure is almost 200 over 120,” he told her. “And it ought to be half those numbers.”

Lizzie looked at a chart on the internet. “You’re off the scale,” she said. “Off the scale completely.”

“Tell me about it. Or rather don’t; the doctor already has. She says I’m a ticking time bomb. I could have a heart attack or a stroke at any moment if I don’t get the numbers down.”

Ever one for action, Lizzie had already worked out what they were going to do. “You’re not a smoker, and you don’t drink much at all, so we can’t reduce those things, but you’re a bit of a veg dodger, so that’ll have to change. We’ll change our breakfast cereal. Do you like porridge? And even one takeaway a week is one too many. And you need to walk more. Could you go or a walk at lunchtime when you’re at work? How about having standing-up meetings..?”

Ollie was struggling to keep up. “No, no, perhaps, not really, oh, oh, OK,” he said trying to respond to everything she was saying. “But before we get into all that, we need to know what your blood pressure is too. I’ve made you an appointment at the Doctors. You’ll be there at 9.45 tomorrow. After all, what’s sauce for the goose…”