Blood pressure

Sometimes, when my husband and I are driving in the car, he will tune in to a talk radio station, because I will eventually start arguing with whoever is doing the talking, and my hair will stand on end, and fire will come out of my eyes.

This is amusing to my husband.

I have always figured that my blood pressure rises whenever I listen to talk radio. Now I can check!

Last week, I bought an automated, self-checking blood pressure cuff at the drugstore. I never knew you could get such a thing.

I had to buy one that wraps around your wrist, because they were sold out of the ones that wrap around your arm.

It looks like a gigantic Fitbit.

You wrap it around your wrist, push the start button and the cuff tightens up, blinks numbers for a while, then displays your blood pressure and your pulse rate.

Ideal blood pressure is 120/80 or lower. The top number measures the amount of pressure when your heart contracts, the bottom number measures the amount of pressure when your heart relaxes. If your numbers get too high, it can mean your heart is having to work too hard.

Since I had a brand new blood pressure cuff, I spent a day playing with it. (My daughter has a stethoscope, but she won’t let me play with it.)

DISCLAIMER: I did not use the blood pressure cuff as intended. I did not follow the instructions to sit still with my feet on the floor. These are not true blood pressure readings. They are for entertainment purposes only. (Although somebody once wrote a letter to the editor complaining that I was as funny as a dead dog on the side of the road, so this may not be for entertainment purposes after all.)

Some sample readings:

• Standing in the kitchen, melting butter and chocolate to make a brownie pie to satisfy a sudden sugar craving: My blood pressure was 147/71, pulse 55. (You’d think I’d be more excited than that.)

• Standing in the kitchen, realizing I didn’t have enough eggs to finish making brownie pie: Blood pressure 152/93, pulse 61.

• Standing in the kitchen, listening to my son play drums in the basement. Blood pressure 145/83, pulse 85. (He was playing the drums really fast.)

• Sitting around the kitchen table after eating spicy Thai food: Blood pressure 134/62, pulse 78.

• Driving on the Parkway, going veeeeerrrrrry slowly because there were 100 cops patrolling: Blood pressure 109/83, pulse 78.

• Driving on the Parkway, passing a truck while a woman going 80mph zoomed up behind me and rode on my back bumper: ERROR MESSAGE ERROR MESSAGE.

• Sitting in the driveway listening to classic rock on the car radio: Blood pressure 123/80, pulse 65.

• Sitting in the driveway listening to talk radio: 131/89, pulse 69.

I had to stop playing with the blood pressure cuff after that. My wrist really hurt, and my hand was starting to fall asleep. Plus there was fire coming out of my eyes.

Lisa Davis is Features Editor of The Anniston Star. Contact her at 256-235-3555 or ldavis@annistonstar.com.

Features Editor Lisa Davis: 256-235-3555.