Saturday, 13 May 2017

Health issues

MK Marathon, PB well under 4 hours
A couple of health issues have cropped up recently and these have got me a bit concerned.  This post will probably be a bit personal.
Yesterday I went over to my favourite health food shop as it was about time we stocked up on some more nuts and seeds.  I always spend more than I plan (£77 this time) but Rachel never minds at all.  As normal I got chatting to Neil, the shop's proprietor and a  really nice chap.  He shocked me by saying he'd had a heart attack in January.
Neil's a little younger than me.  It seems bizarre that someone of that age should have a heart attack - and he runs a vegetarian whole food shop! The story goes that he went for a bike ride on a really cold day and returned with a bit of a tight chest, which he explained to himself as the effect of the cold air.  A few days later he was taking his dog for a walk and again had this tight chest feeling which he thought might have been indigestion and when he got home promptly took a couple of Rennie tablets.
The pain wasn't improving and he started to think the worse.  He called his wife who simply told him to call an ambulance.  Within a few minutes the paramedics arrived, diagnosed a heart attack and he was then rushed into hospital.  A while later he found himself in the operating theatre having a stent installed.
Thankfully he's on the mend, starting to increase his activity levels.  It also sounds like he's having good care from his local Doctor and hospital staff.  Here's sending you all good wishes Neil!
And myself...
You might remember me saying my blood pressure was on the high side.  The Doctor was concerned about this and has ordered some blood tests as it is now two years since my last annual check-up.  Last Wednesday I attended the surgery to have the blood samples taken and hand in my urine sample.  All these tests were following a 12 hour fast.
When the nurse took the blood samples, she said it would take 10 days for the results to come through.  So I was then very surprised when on Friday (just 48 hours later) the surgery got in touch with me and said I urgently needed to arrange to give some further samples as there were some abnormal readings.
It is always difficult trying to have much of a conversation with a receptionist, for perfectly understandable reasons.  Notwithstanding this she did say one of the tests would be for creatine (or something like that) where the normal range was a reading of 60-110.  Mine was abnormally high at 160.  I asked what this was to do with and she simply said "it's renal stuff" which I take as kidneys.  From what I previously understood, kidney damage can be caused by high blood pressure, so maybe that's what's going on. (If you're reading this and can explain more about what this means, please do so!)
Also on Friday I was in a training event-come-conference in London.  I was sitting in a room with about 150 other people and I could feel a headache coming on, quite quickly.  Then my left arm felt a little different, perhaps a bit numb, or weak.  While I was figuring out what to do it returned to normal and then my head cleared 15 minutes later.  I remembered the coffee I'd be given on arrival was probably with caffeine and so I wondered if there was a connection.
Later on I wondered if I'd had an early warning of a stroke.  I don't know and I'm almost afraid to google this.  Nevertheless I'm having my repeat blood tests again tomorrow, so I'll ask the nurse.
I woke early this morning, feeling worried about my health.  All kinds of things were rushing through my thoughts.  Was I looking at some terrible incidence like a stroke or a heart attack?  Why could that happen, I'm still in pretty good shape?  But it happened to Neil and he's younger than me!  Thank the Lord I have critical illness insurance, is it enough?  But I have been meaning to update my will; heck is there time?  I can't possible have something happen or even die, what about my family?  There's just so much I want to do, places to travel to, things to achieve, books to read, paintings to paint, photographs to take, people to meet, conversations to have and the list goes on and on.  I'm hoping to retire in five years so I can do all of these things!
And then I thought of my eyesight.  Completely independently of all this I had my annual check up with my optician who is pretty thorough.  To cut a long story short, he's referring me to Moorfields eye hospital as my central serous retinopathy is a lot worse that it was last year (which I could have told him!).  My appointment is in May.
In the cold light of day things are more easily seen in perspective.  My faith is of course reassuring but I'm not ready to go anytime soon.  And yes I know I worry about these things.  I know I worry about work related things more than I should.  I know I'm my worst critic and probably a Type A personality.  I'm thankful these things have, perhaps, been spotted and so there's time and steps to be taken to solve these issues, whatever they are.
I see this as a heck of a nudge to get me back to tip top health.  While I'm still pretty fit (I ran 10k a few days ago in under 50 minutes) I know I could be in better shape and a little lighter; my strict only-good-food diet has slipped over the last 18 months and it's now time to resume that.

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