Striking a Balance as a Patient and Caregiver

Striking a Balance as a Patient and Caregiver
After years of swimming in the deep end of healthcare as a patient, I’m wading in the shallows of caregiving. A week ago, my husband, Patrick, began treatment for high blood pressure. Last Thursday, the cuff of my blood pressure monitor hissed loudly instead of inflating. I asked Patrick to help me retrieve an old monitor I had stashed away on the top shelf of a kitchen cabinet. After putting in new batteries, I tested it out to make sure it still worked. My blood pressure registered at its usual level, and out of curiosity, I asked Patrick if he wanted to check his. He sat next to me on the sofa as I placed the cuff securely around his arm. I pressed the start button, and we watched the digital numbers steadily climb. My blood pressure usually runs 100/65 (anything below 120/80 is considered normal). I expected Patrick’s to be higher than mine. However, when the monitor beeped and displayed 160/95, I was astonished. Noting my puzzled and concerned look, Patrick asked if the numbers were bad. I was unsure, so we put the cuff on his other arm and checked it again. When the second reading turned out similar, we Googled the results. According to the American Heart Association, Patrick had stage 2 hypertension, one level below a hypertensive crisis that would require immediate medical attention. If his high blood pressure weren’t terrible enough, I flashed back to a few days earlier when Patrick came home early from work because he wasn’t feeling well and h
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