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I developed HTN (hypertension) in my early 30s. High blood pressure runs in the family so I fairly certain it was a matter of time until I got some of my own but I was surprised – and a little annoyed – it started so early. Like most people told to take medication,  I tried to weasel out of it through non-pharmeceutical endeavors, hoping to ‘prove’ to my doctor I didn’t have to take no stinking meds. Despite my exercise, the no-added salt diet, and ‘zenning’ every time I stopped the HTN Rx I nearly had a stroke so back on meds I went. For twenty years by blood pressure has been fine and stable – thanks to a daily dose of felodipine.

A month ago the dentist deduced the medication was causing gum inflammation.  It was changed to lisinopril and that did the trick. Alas, my blood pressure hasn’t been good ever since. The diastolic pressure was over 100 and I was getting daily headaches and malaise.  The lisinopril dose was raised to no avail. Preferring bloody brushing to a stroke, I went back on the felodipine.  The Good Doctor now has me trying BP Rx trial #3 (a combination of lisinopril and HCTZ). I am supposed to take my blood pressure to see if it is working.  Someone did the research and I am now the proud owner of a blood pressure monitoring device.


I show my age to remonstrate I am highly suspicious of the accuracy of a machine. Back when I was in med-school (just before the internet and right after blood-letting) the taking of BP was a precise ritual many did poorly.  This HAL Jr. techno-gizmo comes with several pamphlets and app connections I am supposed to read and do prior to sticking my arm in and starting. This alone is enough to raise my blood pressure, so already the reading is marred.

My first reading is 135/80;  normal BP is 120/80. This is very good considering I had just spent fifteen feckless minutes trying to set up the app to no avail while Someone was in the other room cursing out loud and frustrated with his own on-line endeavor.

In the past few weeks my various readings at the clinic and in the pharmacy stores have been ~ 160s/100s.  Today’s OK-enough reading is correlated to being back on a week’s worth of felodipine.

Today I start my new combo-Rx and monitor its efficacy.  I am going to need a decent BP if I am to reattempt the Kafkaesque instructions to connect the cuff to my iphone. Apparently this will generate a colorful chart for my amusement and send all my readings to my doctor (as if he really wants to know my daily reads). It will probably send my information to FB too so Mr. Zuckerberg can flog salt-free or stimulating products depending on which way my pressure blows.



Once in a while I like to promote some blogs I think deserve a larger audience. I find them clever, thoughtful, and delightful – like my men. Alas, these lovelies don’t seem to have get a lot of traffic, based on their lack of comments and ‘likes’. I don’t feel a need to promote the bloggers who are the rock-and-rollers with acolytes aplenty. Rather, I want to point out the gems which I believe are TGR (Thumping good reads). Mind! I think all on my blog list are worthwhile – why else would I include them? I invite Spo-fans to check them out to see if you fancy them.

Here are a few imperial tid-bits worth a look-see. Tell’em Spo sent you.

Cliffie’s Notes

Eileen’s blog is a report of the ongoing cabal of fish and aquatic creatures plotting to wipe out us pesty humans. The entries and zany and whimsical. It also has great ‘B-movie” reviews.

Practical Parsimony

She’s fast becoming one of my favorites. Linda relates her daily doings in a style which reminds me of Erma Bombeck if she had been more pithy and more interesting. I enjoy answering her poll questions at the end of each entry; it is also nice to read her responses.

Sooo-this is me

Steven is in Canada. I met him a few years ago when visiting Ottawa. He is a dear and well over four feet. He writes tender and self-reflective entries about his life’s journey.

Spewing Truth in the face of lies

Truthspew is my techno-wizard and political pundit. Half the time I don’t know what he is talking about but it’s a delight to read his wit about gadgets and gizmos and how he gets them to work. Celver man! Alas, I can’t seem to be able to leave a comment at his blog, but I always ‘like’ what he writes. Really I do.

Willy or Won’t he?

Mr.H already has a good following of minions but I want to shout him out anyway. Willym writes one of the best blogs there is. It is full up with history, theatre, art, and politics (especially Canadian). His blog rivals Wikipedia and it has far better videos too.

And –

Facing Traffic

He’s back! The most handsome David writes some of the best self-reflective prose in blog-land. Do not dare to question this. He pops in and out of blogging like the Flying Dutchman. I hope he stays this time.


Last night Someone and I met Sean and Jeffrey for supper – here in Phoenix AZ! They are in town visiting Sean’s brother. We were pleased as punch to see them. We all met at “FEZ” which is one of our favorite restaurants full of lovely dishes including the best hummus and pomegranate martinis – not rubbish indeed!

S an J are fine gentleman both well over four feet. We had a lovely chat and we toasted our fellow bloggers, near and fear, active and inactive.

We whipped each other into a frenzied excitement about possible 2018 holidays. The modest proposals:  Provincetown; NY (to see their house); a cruise.  Neither of them have been on a cruise (the ones on water).  In contrast Someone and I are experts at cruising. We will instruct them so. We four agree a ‘blogger-cruise’ leaving from NYC and going to the Caribbean or Canada would be fabulous.  If we turn hard to port and go northwards we could visit Nova Scotia and PEI. There we can visit the fine bloggers who live in those parts.  Some of them are fine ladies and gentleman, many well over four feet.

It could happen.

It was jolly good fun.  I was glad to see them.  Safe travels to both of you as you go back East.

The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections has a hornet in their helmet – again. With them it is always something but this time the crisis de jour is a “a lack of humor” in the recent blog posts. Entries like yesterday’s that have any rancor are considered poison at the box office. They sent me a boisterous email threatening to hang me upside down and roast me until I compose something funny.


1 – Last night I heard a podcast episode  from “Hello from the magic tavern” in which Chunt the talking badger was dating a wolverine named Anne Arbour.  It didn’t work out, which makes him her ex, or in this case the X-man of the Wolverine.

I thought this quite funny but I didn’t write it.

2 – Someone is an excellent packer. The clever man managed to put away all my Halloween trimmings into a just a few boxes when the collection was formerly stored in a dozen large popcorn tins. We were able to put all the tins into the recycling bin. There is someone noisy in the neighborhood who peeps into our bins. Finding several large popcorn Halloween tins should puzzle them how on earth did we consume so much popcorn last month.

I did write this one but I don’t know how funny it turns out.

3 – I got a short haircut last weekend but dammit I still have yellow on the temples.

I don’t find this at all funny.

OK try this:

4 –

Someone find something funny; I don’t want to be roasted.


In my ten year history of blogging I’ve twice written an entry  title ‘A special place in hell”. In them I list the miscreants and malaperts Mr. Dante unfortunately left out of his Divine Inferno.  Yesterday’s entry about blowing up things made me ponder about some more I might lock up on Urspo’s special level of torment and punishment. I think it lies between 5 and 6.

Spo-fans are encouraged to leave in the comment section any villains of their own they think should join my nefarious coterie. 


Those who say “My thoughts and prayers to with you.” in reaction to yet another violent national tragedy.

Thems who use straw-man arguments.

Those who throw away half consumed plastic bottles without first draining the water out and putting the bottle in recycling.

While I am ranting about the locker room,  I will include the bodybuilders who drop paper towel and toilet paper and don’t pick them up.

The entire customer service crew at Aetna health insurance (don’t ask). 

Right-wing Protestants who say “Merry Christmas” as a dare to question this or respond otherwise. 

Parking lots patrons who do not return their shopping-carts to the appropriate stall but leave it so to block parking spaces. 

Fox new commentators. 

Young women who have “BEBE” on their backsides yet take offense at my looking them. 

The person at work who is last to sample the cookie tray or candy dish but won’t ‘finish it off’ but must leave something behind, which gets thrown out. 

The inventor of pop-up ads. 

Tony Perkins, Michelle Bachmann, and Milo Yiannopoulos are my picks to play Satre’s “No Exit” for good. 



Drat! The yellow spray dye I used on Hallowe’en night would not come off even after a few washings. It was guaranteed to do so. In my frustration (and not too look heinous) I simply shaved the whole thing off.

My chin hasn’t seen daylight in decades.

I am still staring at the mirror at a face I have never seen before viz. older man sans whiskers. Last time I was glabrous was perhaps in my 30s. It is unsettling, like looking at a painting you know well only to see someone has moved the eyes a little. I suppose I look younger, but strange as this sounds I don’t want to look younger, at least not this way.

“Weird with a beard” as we say in The House of Spo – only that I don’t got one anymore.

It’s an ill wind that blows nobody good. I have ceased my continual tugging at my chiny-chin-chin, something I have done so long I can’t remember when last I did not do so.

Whether from the oddity or the novelty I don’t think I am going to stay this way. Happily, growing whiskers has never been a problem for me. I suppose by Sunday I will be sufficiently scruffy to feel less naked and exposed in public.


Urs Truly in his usual hirsute state.


Urs Truly prior to Halloween, near worthy of a post at Fearsome Beard.


Urs Truly this morning. Oh the horror.

Oh what an adventure! 

Last night we drove north to meet up with some chums of Someone to do the sunrise balloon ride in Sedona. I was quite excited. I was also scared, of I dislike heights.  But the exhilaration surpassed the trepidation.  I got to finally do this bucket list item: ride a balloon!


Here is our basket. It held 16 people and the pilot. he 12 others were from all over and many had ridden balloons in other countries.  


The staff were all courteous and every one of them quite handsome. Here is one fine crewman, blowing hot air to inflate me and uplift my balloon. 


It takes a lot of hot air and blowing to get things up.  There were three balloons in total. 


There is nothing so quiet and peaceful as a balloon ride! There is only the occasional sound of the hot jets coming on to warm up the air.  This is one of our sister balloons as we ascended Sedona.  It is my favorite photo. 


Here is Urs Truly facing his fears. At first it was scary to be high up but this quickly passed.  By the way, the scraggly beard is ‘just right’ for Tuesday when I don sword and magic helmet and become one of The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections.  


“Is possible to see here view Sedona red rocks” –  over the shoulder of Someone.  


Here is Mark our pilot. He was well over four feet. He took us to 4,000 ft in so many ways. 


What goes up, must come down. Our landing was so soft and gentle it was almost a disappointment. There was no drama no terror, just a soft plop.  Here is a photo of another set of handsome hands who were waiting to take down the balloon and deflate it into its box.

Afterwards we had nibbles and champagne.

I heartily recommend a balloon ride. It was amazing ! 



Sunday while I was having my hypertension-induced migraine I failed to notice the visitor ticker turned 1,500,000. There’s been a million and a half visits to my blog?  Unbelievable. I am honored so. Thank you all.

A special thanks to Warrior Queen and Old Lurker who account for most of them 🙂

insanity I started writing a well-written and entertaining Spo-reflection on eggs. I was halfway through it when it dawned on me to search my blog and there it was: I had more or less written the same entry in 2013.  Memory is a queer thing:  I can compose the same piece after four years but I can’t remember doing it?

I received a few emails about my comment ‘Never trust trout’. This bewildered some Spo-fans who wanted to know ‘why’. I forget where I got this axiom but it seems right; it has never let me down.  Don’t question me.

Insanity This week at work I had the tedious task of seeing three new patients I intuited won’t be returning. I caught them abusing their tranquilizers via the CPSMP (Controlled prescription substances monitoring program).  Example: Dicky Purdy is filling a prescription for 3 x day Xanax (90 tablets/month) – but every 3 weeks. I asked him how often does he take actually his xanax. Oh, he reports, maybe 1-3 day, adding there are 1-2 days per week he doesn’t take any.  When I bring up the discrepancy between his statement and the CSPMP he started to backpedal.  He gave a possible reasonable explanation his memory was faulty. However the penny had dropped: he sees I watch this sort of stuff,and I won’t be prescribing the ‘fun drugs’ other than on time.  They won’t be coming back but will find another doctor who is less watchful.  Meanwhile I have all the paperwork to do. What a bore.

The German and Spanish lessons are progressing but I tend to mix up the two languages, particularly when I can’t think of a word in one language. My brain fills in with the word from the other language.  It is sort of like eating a bratwurst mit queso und salsa (sin cebolla). Viel SpaB and mas rico.

I recently spoke with the Lovely Neighbor (in Virginia) who wanted to know of the across the street neighbors are having their ‘alternative’ block party this year. I don’t know as I was not invited. I suspect they are. However, my house is definitely the most fabulous on the street. She thinks I should give out really super good candy on the proviso the beggars skip the block party or (better yet) soap their windows.  According to Fractured Fairy Tales ‘there is a little witch in all of us girls” and this is even more so at Halloween with The Lovely Neighbor – and Urs Truly.



My highly anticipated dental appointment (long overdue) was canceled after the resident (who is well over four feet) took my blood pressure and exclaimed it was over 160/90. We tried a few weasel ways to bring it down (short of a snort)  but the dastardly diastolic declined to dissipate. Worse, my DDS in-training doesn’t have an opening until December. An afternoon wasted.

In hindsight the high blood pressure explains a lot in my health these past four weeks: yesterday’s migraine; my general malaise; the ongoing low grade headaches. They have been active every since my long time HTN Rx was changed four weeks ago. Ironically it was the same dentist who suggested I do so. On the positive, my long time gum inflammation cleared right up away and I could breathe out of my left nostril for the first time in years. I was pleased as punch.  On the negative my blood pressure is dangerously elevated.  I was fortunate I didn’t have a stroke running around with such pressure.

The Good Doctor will be upset to hear on my own I doubled the lisinopril dose today to see if ‘more is better’.  I see TGD on 31 October. As it is Halloween I will dressed as a member of The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections. I hope he realizes he will be talking to a patient heavily armed.

If this self-adjustment is a bust I may just go back to the old medicine. I bleed whenever I brush my teeth on it but at least I don’t pop a piston.

Until the blood pressure goes down I should forgo lifting weights or start running as I’ve been planning to do. I should avoid stress in any form particularly bad tea, termagants, and CNN headlines.  Alas alas it is too late to cancel this weekend’s balloon ride. If I stroke out from the excitement or the altitude they can just toss me over the side for a Sedona sky-clad bon-voyage.

I will keep you posted if I have any sudden change in vision or loss of arm motion.

BONUS: If you don’t know your blood pressure, please get it checked. It is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease. 

Also, did you know in order to take a proper blood pressure reading one needs to do over ten things?  – And almost NOBODY does them all/right ! Urs Truly does, which is pretty good for not being a real doctor.  

My Sunday was spoiled by a migraine headache. I was surprised as I haven’t had one in years. I never had any in life, until 2000 or so when I had a week of them. They disappeared and I had none until yesterday. The headache had the usual symptoms or pain with light and sound sensitivity and some nausea.  Tylenol and Motrin hardly touched it. I had so much I wanted to do that day but it was all curtailed by the nasty headache.

Yesterday’s migraine was not as sharp as the ones I had in ~2000 but it was enough to completely ruin the day. I spent all of Sunday trying to find a comfortable position (with little success). The doctor/scientist in me kept trying to figure out ‘why’ it happened. There were many possible contributing factors. The dirty secret of Medicine is often when something happens and the patient and physician try to figure out the etiology the answer more often than not is there is no clear reason ‘why this is happening’.  It’s a disappointment for everyone likes a clear simple answer of cause and effect.  Better to just work on ‘what to do about it”.

Alas there wasn’t much I could do but close all the drapes and crawl into a ball. It felt a day lost. I couldn’t do any of the Sunday plans, including bake pumpkin spice snicker doodles.

Today I feel weak but not in pain. Having a sour headache raises my empathy level for my patients who have them. One of my patients told me his migraines can last a week long. Yikes. I should count my blessings I get a mine every ten years apparently.

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