OK, I think after one week of not taking the blood pressure medication, I can confidently state that I don't have hypertension.
I've been monitoring my BP regularly throughout the day since I stopped taking the med (today is day seven without it), and my readings remain constant (avg 118/68). I'll continue monitoring it, but I am not going to go back on the med unless I start seeing an increase (anything approaching 140/80).
And of course, I'll discuss the issue with my doctor when I see him at the end of June.
My leg cramps have returned to their usual "annoying" level but they are nothing like the debilitating pain that I was experiencing while taking that medication.
Therefore, my jury is in on that experiment: the medication was absolutely affecting my leg cramps, just as the diuretic did a few years ago. Which suggests that if I ever do develop hypertension, I'm in big doo-doo because it will have to be treated -- but how?
I have also been taking my sleep med every night for the past week and a half.
And it has worked, insofar as helping me feel better rested, in spite of my still having to wake every couple of hours to change position.
However, for the past couple of nights (actually, since I'm not wearing the athletes' taping), the pain is permeating my sleep and I'm waking in extreme discomfort, not feeling nearly as rested as I had been.
I expect that my body would really like me to increase the dosage of the sleep aid. While I have wiggle room in that area, I'm reluctant to go that route because of the residual effects that might be left the next day.
I'm going to stop taking the sleep aid again, to get my body used to sleeping without it because I don't like the idea that it's looking for more: that suggests dependence and I simply won't go there. So my body will go without until the sleep deprivation gets too onerous again. Stupid maybe, but I can't risk the alternative.
Both Thursday and Friday, when I was without the athletes' taping, my legs felt like they had walked a marathon and it was terribly painful to move any distance.
Today, I'm wearing my TENs machine and it's quite interesting how quickly I had forgotten the level of relief I get from that little unit. It's really remarkable but as soon as I turn it on, there's this tremendous "AAAAAHHHHHHH" effect as it sends its pulsating signals down my legs. And it too allows me to walk almost normally, just as the athletes' taping did.
So I'll go back to wearing the TENs machine every day again, just as I had been doing before my physiotherapist started applying the taping.
The drawback to wearing the TENs, of course, is the limitations it places on what I can wear because of where I have to place the electrodes (a pair on each hip, with the wires extending up through my waistband, and the radio transmitter attached to my waistband). It can be cumbersome and awkward with some outfits and going to the washroom can sometimes be very tricky!
I had quite a discussion with a good friend about my physiotherapist's suggestion that I look to biker's shorts as a possible alternative to the athletes' taping. We jointly decided that perhaps the new "girdles" might provide adequate compression (the biker's shorts maybe not being the best idea for something that I would be wearing almost full time).
So now I'm on the hunt for Spanx or Flexees undergarments, which I understand are today's version of girdles -- just a lot more comfortable. And they have shorts and mid-calf lengths that might do the trick. I just have to leave my little enclave of Mississippi Mills to find them (read: I have to make a trip to the big city).
My next scheduled trip into Ottawa is Tuesday, so I'll discuss this alternative with my physiotherapist (just in case she feels that these might not provide sufficient compression). If she approves, I'll stop at Sears on my way home to check out the Flexees; my research tells me that they are "more comfortable" than the Spanx. Since I'll be wearing these things for extended periods, comfort is a prime concern for me.
Of course, we could always go with my original solution: just cut off my legs at the hips. That should stop the pain, don't you think? I know very well that is not the answer but believe me, there are many evenings when I think that solution would be a blessing!