The Washington Post

Need your blood pressure checked? Head to a fire station and get the 411 on it.

- John Kelly's Washington

Checking your blood pressure is like checking the oil in your car. You know you should do it more often, but that doesn’t mean you will.

I heard last week from District reader Elizabeth Fisher, who said she’d wanted to check her blood pressure. She doesn’t own a home blood pressure apparatus, so she went to a CVS in Georgetown.

More than 4,000 CVS locations across the country have free automatic blood pressure machines, but this wasn’t one of them. The pharmacy now sports a Minuteclin­ic. It can offer a range of services by appointmen­t, including blood pressure. But Elizabeth said Medicare doesn’t cover a blood pressure check there. She’d have to pay out of pocket.

Then she discovered an unlikely place full of people who are delighted to take her blood pressure: Engine Company 1, the fire station at 2225 M St. NW. In fact, you can walk into any District firehouse and get the 411 on your BP.

“We welcome the community into our firehouses, and all our firefighte­rs are either EMTS or paramedics,” fire department public informatio­n officer Vito Maggiolo wrote in an email. “Knowing your blood pressure is important to overall health, so providing blood pressure readings is one of the many means by which we serve the community.”

The same goes for the suburban counties around Washington. Of course, the firefighte­rs will have to be “in quarters” and not out on a run.

I like knowing people can get their blood pressure checked at fire stations. EMTS usually see people in the most dire situations, when they’re broken or burned. How nice it must be to just slip a cuff on someone who’s healthy.

Or trying to be healthy. I keep track of my blood pressure on an app my doctor’s office made me download. The medical practice is part of a large national chain that is very app happy. Whenever I take my blood pressure — which is not often enough, I confess — I enter it into the app. It draws a lovely chart that goes up and down like the stock market. (Unlike with the stock market, I hope it stays low.)

My Lovely Wife and I have our very own home blood pressure monitor, which, let me tell you, is nowhere near as fun as having your own wine cellar, infinity pool or chocolate fountain. But at about $45, it’s a lot cheaper than any of those.

Paper lace

I wrote Monday about shoelaces and how dress shoes today seem to come with the laces threaded into the last set of eyelets rather than out of them. A reader pointed me to the U.S. Navy’s Article 3501.54, a.k.a. “Descriptio­n and Wear of Uniform Components Shoes, Dress.” The regulation notes: “Keep well shined and in good repair. Lace shoes from inside out through all eyelets and tie.” (Emphasis added.)

Peyton Williams of Charlottes­ville said he was taught in the Army to lace his combat boots the “counterint­uitive” way, that is, with the last bit of lace going into the last eyelets.

“We, of course, tucked the laces into the sides of the boots. We bloused the boots (tucked the pants legs into the tops of the boots) and used excess lace to wrap around the pants leg before tying the knot. That is if we were not using ‘ blousing rubbers,’ which were rubber bands that we tucked the pants legs into and were easier to use than tucking them into the boots.

“Tucking the laces into the top of the boots not only made things neater but also kept the laces from catching on anything (brush, branches, etc.). I still do this with my hiking boots.”

John Mclean of North Beach, Md., has a pair of dress shoes that are at least 20 years old. He wrote: “I keep them straight-laced, not out of any respect for current fashion, but as a nod to a verse from one of the many versions of ‘St. James Infirmary Blues.’ ” The verse in question:

When I die, bury me in straight-laced shoes

A box-backed suit and a Stetson hat.

Put 20-dollar gold piece on my watch chain

So the boys’ll know I died standin’ pat.

 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States