Having endured an anxiety racked week or so, I finally got in yesterday to have my carotids checked out. Heaven forefend, but I even got in exactly when I was scheduled. I was escorted by a woman, perhaps a few years younger than myself, back to a room with the sonogram equipment. I told her right off that I didn’t like medical stuff much and was pretty anxious, a fact confirmed by my blood pressure that was 150 over something or other (well over the 140 considered the cut off for the “normal” range).
I had to lie down of course but in my own clothes which I like and Sharon (I think that was her name) went to work rubbing this device here and there along the inside—by which I mean the front along the adam’s apple–of my neck and up to the hinge of the jaw bone. Like totally minimally invasive. No pain at all, not even your fabled “mild discomfort.”
I let her know right off my carotid artery history and about my smoking habit and how much I had tried to stop it, and how guilty I felt about it, and all the crap that has gone down this last year or so, and how I am depressed, and pretty much—I apologized—a human train wreck. To which she said there are more people like you running around that you might expect, or something to that effect. Oh, I said, I knew—there’s lots of human train wrecks running around these days.
Turns out she is Catholic and up to her neck in guilt herself and raised a daughter who appears to be in the running for sainthood what with all the time she is putting in with crazy children and methadone addicts to get in her 3000 hours for an MFCC.
Anyway, she wasn’t about to make me wait for the doctor’s report (the doctor’s report would have probably been her report in any case), so I now know that my carotids have been variously described as “great,” “very good,” and “good.” I will average it out and say that overall my carotids appear to be very good. Wide open really with some plaque but of the hard, calcified and not likely to break off variety.
When I got back to the condo, I took my blood pressure and it was back to its usual range 128 over something or other.
Sharon showed me a picture that looked a like this one—at the spot where the carotid splits and where plaque tends to collect.