For the past two months or so I've been working on getting my private pilot's license. This is pretty rad and I've been having an amazing time. (For the record: when I eventually get it, anybody who is in the area is welcome to come up with me. I'll be totally looking for excuses to go up and fly -- and taking people on Bay Area tours is an awesome excuse, and I will never get tired of seeing it from the sky.)
I'm almost at the point where I can solo. My instructor is very happy with my progress and has been letting me do a lot of the flying. She's really awesome and I work with her really well. We're still waiting on the FAA to get back to me on my medical certification, though. I got "deferred" because of my ankylosing spondylitis and ... drumroll ... high blood pressure.
The HBP has been something I've had for years. It's usually in the 150/100 range whenever I get checked -- yeah, yeah, that's high. The FAA has a limit of 155/95 though, and I failed the test in the medical examiner's office. It's OK though, as long as it's being actively treated by a doctor. They just want to know that you're being observed and such.
Well, "actively treated" means I had to see someone about it. That's annoying, since I'm not very comfortable with doctors to begin with (white coat hypertension is also a strong reason I have HBP at the doctor's office!). I went to my GP about it and he wanted to talk about medication, but I asked about other approaches. (I didn't feel he was pushing medication, but I felt that he assumed -- from experience -- that people aren't very good about diet/exercise changes and would rather pop a pill.)
I ruled out medication partially because if you go on BP meds, the FAA process for getting your medical becomes pretty hard -- they require stress tests and EKGs (or so the Internet says). I figured it'd be easier to try a diet based approach, so for the past month or so I've been on a low sodium diet. My target is about 1200mg/day -- which is really low when you consider the sodium contents of most standard American food.
A slice of bread (ONE slice) has 100mg+. One pickle is over 1000mg! Forget ham. Candy bars are bad. In fact, that local deli that sells sandwiches? Yeah, one of those is 2000mg. Soda is out. Swiss cheese is basically the only kind of cheese that is possibly fine and even that's a stretch. Most everything that I usually eat is forbidden and I had to completely restructure my diet.
Thanks, though, to aposiopetic who is ever-vigilant and amazing. She researched a bunch and revamped our stores of food at the house. We're now eating lots better, eating out a lot less, and she's even packing lunches for me so that I don't have to go out to eat when I'm at work. (Without her, I would not be doing nearly as well on the diet.)
Even so, it's super stressful for me. She doesn't abide by the diet so strictly, so she can have pickles and more cheese and bread and such. That's OK, though, really the problem is when I drive by In'n'Out or something and I smell the burgers and fries. It's really hard not to just stop in and order something. Really hard. I have managed to control myself thus far, though, but I don't know. Maybe one day I will snap and it will all go bad. (Hah.)
The results so far though: lost 10 pounds (eating less and better) and my BP seems to be a little lower. It's hard to tell what it would be at the doctor's office, though, so I will just have to wait and see. I'm supposed to go back in June and check in. Meh.
In other news, I should really write in here more.
Yesterday I was looking for some stuff in my office and came across an envelope with familiar handwriting on it. "Huh, when did Janine send me something?" I thought and opened it up. Inside was the stamped "you are now divorced" paperwork from the state. I forgot that they had required us to give them self-addressed envelopes, so that's why I had a letter in Janine's handwriting. It was kind of a twinge of pain to see the paperwork, I have to admit, but that's life. It does mean I should go hang out with Janine again, though.
I'm going to get back to work now. I'll try to write more later.