The important element in the management of a patient with high blood pressure is to persuade him that he will have a good time while the treatment is going on.
Because the important element consists in giving up things. And most high blood pressure patients are not of the temperament that they submit gracefully to giving up things.
The whole basis of any plan for management in these cases is to prevent strain on any part of the body. And that means rest and even more, it means relaxation. It means giving up responsibilities and worries and hard work. And the majority of the people with high blood pressure have spent all their lives accumulating responsibilities. Not only their own, but lots of those quite strange to them. It is a wrench to give them, up. They have gone so long complaining about their responsibilitiesthere is that son of a former business partner that is being put through college, and the clergyman who has the bad winter cough, and the local Institute of Commercial Artit comes as a great surprise to them to find that they are not glad to give up these loads at all. When they are gone, there will be nothing to complain aboutexcept the weather.
But when the tooth is out, there is really a great feeling of relief. When the relaxation comes, they realize that they haven’t really done it for years.
Did you ever read Charles Lamb’s “Superannuated Man”written the day he came home forever? Well, that is the treatment for high blood pressure. Charles Lamb enjoyed it. But then he was a genius, and he didn’t give up tobacco.
There are other people who have been cheerful about it. Do you remember the introduction to A. Edward Newton’s delightful book of literary essays, “A Magnificent Farce”? “In the midst of renewing old associations,” he wrote, “I discovered I was not in very robust health. This is not my discovery. I paid a physician a handsome fee for making it. His advice was `Go slow. You have been pelting along for 40 years; it’s time to relax. Let someone else do your work. How about smoking,’ he continued, `how many cigars?’
“To this I replied: `Doctor, there are some things too sacred for words, and there are some things men do not even tell their wives. But, in point of fact, I have always smoked in moderation; never more than one cigar at a time; three after breakfast, four after lunch.’
” `That will do. We will omit the cigars after breakfast entirelyyour limit will be one after lunch and one after dinner. Take up reading. Didn’t someone tell me you had written a book? Write another one, and then go to Europe, where the criticisms of it will not annoy you. My prophecy is that you will live to be a disagreeable old man.’
“I sat back. `Let someone else do your work.’ What music was in these words! `Write a book.’ What fun! `Go to Europe.’ More fun! I always said I was lucky.’