Do You Know Your Numbers?
One of my nursing jobs is with a company doing health screening. We go into businesses and perform three “tests” to measure one’s health: body composition (weight, body mass index, and body fat percentage), blood pressure, cholesterol, and bloody glucose. At the end of it all, a nurse reviews the numbers with each person and specifically addresses the abnormals.
I am not obsessive about health, but I think it is important, and I enjoy helping people live healthy lives. Over the last few weeks, as I have been working at these various health screening events, my main job has been to take people’s blood pressures. Unfortunately, there are always at least a few abnormals – meaning, higher than 140/90. (It’s surprising that there aren’t MORE than a few abnormals, actually). Anyways, the abnormals are unfortunate for a couple reasons: it means the person is at greater risk for things like stroke and heart disease, but it also means that I get the disapproving look that says something like, “What’s wrong with you?! Can’t you tell that I am a healthy person, and you got THAT number? Obviously, this is all YOUR fault. I was a healthy person until I met you.” And very often, they will ask for a recheck…just to make sure.
What’s funny about this is that they never (or seldom) do that to the people checking body composition or weight or cholesterol. Those are all checked with machines, so they feel more of a sense of responsibility since the machine cannot lie.
So, next time you have the opportunity to know your numbers (especially blood pressure), remember that those people on the other end are just the messengers.
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