Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Job #1--Change the numbers

3:12 p.m. Today's project was to drop my blood pressure 40 points!

Yesterday I had the scariest surprise at our doctor's office: a blood pressure reading of 164/88! It was 2:45 in the afternoon, and the day had been tumultuous. I had been praying to witness to others in the morning. By the time I came back from my walk, I was able to share briefly on the sidewalk with two Jehovah Witness gentlemen. Since Steve's caregiver was present, I went on to write my blogpost, with the Book of Revelation on my mind, contrasting the fates of the saved and the unsaved. While in the middle of writing, I had a serious conversation with two much-loved family members, where honesty all around was the key, as it should be with believers.

When the blogpost was finished, Steve and I had lunch and left for a Mary Kay appointment, to get gas, and eventually to go to Dr. Guzman'z office. We drove to the client's home, and because I was merely delivering product, Steve stayed in the car reading. Once inside, I spoke to her about joining our business, but after she began to share her very difficult childhood and areas of struggle, I realized this was a Divine Set-Up! Most of our time was spent with me witnessing to her quite vigorously, as the Holy Spirit was giving me concepts from Scripture, examples of others with similar backgrounds to hers who had found peace--not magic bullets--for their lives in Jesus Christ. I gave her my very dramatic conversion, literally a night-and -day difference, having been "delivered from the power of darkness and conveyed into the kingdom of the Son of His love" (Colossians 1:13). And Ephesians 5:8 says:

For once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.

Our conversation ended because we both had to get going, so I advised her to read the Gospel of John to know who Jesus really is. But the entire time, I felt very physically agitated and stressed, although the Spirit's words were flowing well through me, and I was not overly nervous. Even later, getting gasoline and cash for our ofice visit co-pays, the tight feeling in my chest and feeling ill at ease did not go away. This was a full-fledged attack of the enemy! I had been in an intense spiritual battle and had not fully realized it while it was taking place. I think there is much more to this gal's hurt that is below the surface--God knows. Father, intervene and cause her to accept Christ as her Savior!

As we parked at the office, Steve had lost the book he was going to take in with him somewhere in the car. (We always come prepared for long waits). I lost my patience momentarily, because we were a tiny bit late, but we walked into the doctor's office in decent spirits and he relaxed for a few minutes while I took care of our sign-in and co-pays. Steve had his usual good reading, and happily, has gained a few pounds. I had lost two pounds now that I am seriously doing low-carb eating (which I love). But, my blood pressure was appalling, considering I'd exercised that morning, too--164/88? The last time I had it done, it was 120/60, with no exercise and no weight loss! The nurse took it 3 more times, and I was able to get it down to 144/80, but with a pulse rate of 81. Not good. Needless to say, I left with instructions to take my BP daily, drink lots of water, and exercise. Yikes!

We picked some greens from the garden, had dinner early, and got ready to go out again, first to a very positive Mary Kay appointment and then on to church, where I taught my class on organic gardening, a great joy, and Steve attended Mens' Bible study. We came home uplifted and ready to finish up our day.

Steve and I cleaned up the kitchen, let in the dogs, covered the avocado tree with a sheet, and retired. Sadly, he woke up three times during the wee hours: once to go answer the front door where no one had rung the bell or knocked; the second time making loud noises because his C-pap was now off; and the third time to yell out, "Who are you?" while shaking violently.

But the Lord was so gracious to me! True to His word in Psalm 32:7, "You shall surround me with songs of deliverance," He gave me a lovely praise song that stayed in my mind and lulled me back to sleep, and allowed me to sleep in until 8 o'clock. I took my morning at a slower pace, spent time working on Heidi's registry inserts for the wedding invitations, and then went out by myself around noon to do some MK business, pick up some groceries, and take my blood pressure. The moment of truth came at CVS: 128/70, good! Steve and I walked down and up our nearby hill later in the afternoon. Doctor's orders!

Since stress seems to be the issue, it was time to look at what bugs me. It's not busyness, because I am a people person who relishes having lots of ministry, business and home tasks to accomplish. (Remember I had 5 kids, held public office, finished grad school, participated in all the school activities, and led ministries not that long ago!) A delight of my afternoon today was to run into church friends at the WalMart shopping center. But Steve's difficulties while we're driving, like calling out for me to "go!" when my light isn't green, or sending out false alarms and making "fright" noises, has almost caused an accident more than once. It's time to limit some of our outings, I'm thinking, harsh as that sounds. But if I become ill, are the kids able to step up to care for their dad?

I am also asking friends, our doctor, and our longterm care agency to find Alzheimer's caregiver support groups that meet locally. A Christian-based one would really be great. And closer to my heart, our son Kriss texted me last night:

"You need to reach out to us more, Mom. Build more conversations into your week with me and the others, it'll become a routine. But it won't happen if you don't help us help you."

Word! And may I be a doer of the word, not a listener only!!


  1. Praying for you Dana. Praying for the Lord's strength and wisdom and joy to overflow in your heart in the midst of your present trials. Hugs.

  2. Thank you, Charise! Praying for your complete healing, and much blessing as you enjoy your new little guy and your three other delightful children!