Monthly Archives: February 2014

Back in the saddle

I’ve been out of action for three days since my toe trauma*. I’ve been fighting through the pain, hobbling from place to place, putting on a brave face.  Sympathy has been hard to come by.  It seems that comedy toe injuries demand laughter rather than sympathy, sniggers rather than tears, giggles rather than concern.  So be it!

Time to “Man Up!”.

Man-Up-Nancy

I’ve been getting lots of sympathy from the ladies in my life!

After three days of enforced rest, today was the day to get back in the saddle…

Over the past week I’ve “connected” with people doing both the Euro City Cycle and “Ride the North” events.  It’s all feeling a lot more real now.  There’s less than 3 months to the start of the Euro City Cycle.  Time to start getting focussed!

It’s clear from early interactions that people are at different stages of readiness and very different levels of experience.  I guess that’s always going to be the case.  Everyone will be starting from a different base level of fitness and stamina,  Everyone’s preparation will be different.  So I’m expecting a real mix of fitness levels for the event.

untitled (73)

Personally I’m keen not to hold anyone back on any of my rides over the summer.  I also want to make sure I’m fit enough to enjoy them.  This will obviously require me to be able to complete the events without pushing myself too hard, or putting myself in any physical danger.

I’ll be seeing my Cardiologist on Monday.  It will be our first meeting since I was discharged from hospital in June (technically it’s my 3-6 month check-up).  I’m looking at this to trigger a change in focus for me from “laying the foundations” to “getting ready to ride”.  I realise I need to spend more time on my bike, and get outside.

My preparation approach is:

  1. Start now.  Don’t delay any longer.
  2. Build up slowly; there is no need to go nuts. It’d probably do more harm than good. 
  3. Don’t panic!
  4. Make a preparation plan. Set targets.  Do your best to meet them.
  5. Re-plan if necessary.  There’s still time.
  6. Enjoy it!

Personally, I’m really looking forward to the switch in focus.  Bring it on!

***

I could show you, but you may find it too distressing!

Things that go bump in the night

What is happening to me!?  I’m beginning to feel like I’m featuring in a low budget sitcom, being exposed to life’s “amusing” twists and turns.  You’ve got to laugh! (I’m not sure what the alternative would be!).

Good morning, and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night!

Yesterday’s tooth trauma was followed up by an even more comical middle of the night incident…

Since the Heart Attack I have been prone to dizziness when I stand up too quickly.  Usually this means feeling a bit wobbly, a sensation that typically passes in a few seconds.  However, on two occasions now, middle of the night bathroom visits have resulted in comedy collisions.

One of the problems is that it’s only after I have started moving that the dizziness hits – It takes a couple of seconds to kick in.  During these night incidents, I’ve been able to maintain my balance, my momentum and my course.  Unfortunately however I lose my bearings, my perspective and as it tends to be dark, my vision.  The net effect is that I keep walking until one of the following happens:

  1. I regain full consciousness and control; or
  2. I hit something.

Unfortunately our bedroom is not that large!  So, option 2 it tends to be,

The first time this happened I had a minor collision with a door frame.  Nothing serious, Quickly forgotten.

Last night, however, it was a large, heavy bookshelf that interrupted my night-time stroll.  From what I can piece together, I hit it with three parts of my body almost simultaneously.  My head, my right hand and my left foot.  I managed to dislodge something sharp and then proceed to stand on it.  Quite hard.

I’m sure it would have looked hilarious on camera. By this time I was disorientated, in pain and bleeding profusely from the underside of my big toe.

On the positive side, it was a huge relief to Louise that the ruckus was not directly Heart related.  The last time we had a night time “incident” the outcome was a little more traumatic.  (See Father’s Day (Approx. 00:30))

To cut a slightly long story short, I ended up in A&E (Accident & Emergency) first thing this morning being checked out and patched up.  Fortunately Louise’s night-time treatment using Daughter #1’s “Foot Treatment Kit” was spot on.

This little piggy went to market…

While flip flops are likely to be my preferred form of footwear for the next few days, there shouldn’t be any lasting damage.

Golden Rule #1:  Stand still for 5 seconds after standing up to allow any dizziness to disperse.

Golden Rule #2:  Don’t drink cups of tea within an hour of going to bed.

Falling apart (literally)

Yesterday saw my latest visit to the Doctor’s Surgery.  Unless anything unexpected happens, regular visits are scheduled every three months.  Recent appointments have been spectacularly uneventful, and I’m pleased to report that yesterday’s was too.

The only measure that’s regularly taken is my Blood Pressure, which was “perfect”.  My medications are at the “optimal” level and I feel fine.

Happy and Healthy!

We discussed some minor “issues” that under normal circumstances I wouldn’t give a second thought to, but that take on greater significance having recently experienced a Heart Attack.  Apparently they’re all “normal” too:  Light, but fairly regular nose bleeds are due to the anti-clotting drugs I’m taking, occasional dizziness is due to the artificially low blood pressure, again due to the medication, and the “sensations” in my chest are likely to be a combination of aches from exercise and an overly active imagination, they certainly didn’t appear to cause alarm.

So, it’s all good!

For the past 7 months I’ve been taking care of myself and doing all the things necessary to maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle… well, almost!  Until this morning I had not visited a Dentist.  In fact I hadn’t visited a Dentist for a while… a long while.  This morning this oversight (technically more of an avoidance I guess) bit me on the behind!

Having been to the pool for an early morning swim, I was enjoying a breakfast of Muesli and All Bran when one of my teeth disintegrated.  Not so good!

It could have been worse!

As it turns out, I have 29 teeth that appear to be strong and healthy, and 1 that is an absolute basket case.  I wasn’t in pain, but even I could recognise I didn’t have much of an option other than to visit the Dentist.  Fortunately they were able to see me immediately – I don’t know how lucky I am! (apparently)

The good news is it’s just a tooth.  It’s not a hugely prominent one either; it would more naturally feature in the “big cheesy grin” line rather than the “Smile” line.  I have a few days to decide what to do next but this whole “falling apart” thing does take a bit of getting used to.

At least it’s forced me to get all my teeth checked out.  On the plus side, it also allowed me to complete a medical form without having to tell any white lies, in particular about the “Units of alcohol consumed per week”… a big fat zero!

Hopefully this will be the final stage of the healthy new me, and my newly formed support team:  Optician. Dentist. GP. Cardiologist.  Fingers crossed that will suffice… for the time being at least!

Making connections

I’ve found Sunday mornings are much more enjoyable with a warm glow of satisfaction from some early morning exercise inside me.  This morning, having managed to drag myself out of my warm bed I spent a productive hour in the pool.

I may be deluded, but the pool seemed quieter and more business-like than it has done in recent weeks – perhaps the impact of New Year Resolutions is already being diluted.  We can only hope!  The fact that it was almost light at 8am also made a positive difference… roll on spring!

This morning my fire has also been stoked by increased levels of Social Media activity, which is always exciting…

The arrival of February saw the start of “Heart Health Month”.  The Press & Journal, North of Scotland’s local quality newspaper, kindly marked the event with a feature on my Heart Health story looking forward to the Euro City Cycle in May.

P&J

(Unfortunately at time of writing the Press & Journal online “Lifestyle” section is “down”, as is the British Heart Foundation Healthy Heart Month web page.  I’ll update the links when they’re up and running.)

The Press & Journal article was picked up by the “Ride the North” team and publicised on their Facebook page (which is up and running!) and has resulted in some fantastic publicity, and some sponsorship for which I’m really grateful!

Ride the North

“Ride the North is a two day, 170 mile cycle challenge through the beautiful scenery of the Grampian Highlands in the North of Scotland.”  It’s a fantastic and highly sociable way to see the area.  Given it’s held in Scotland in August, perfect weather is almost guaranteed!

The event started in 2011 with a group of 38 cyclists.  Since then it’s really caught the imagination of the North East Cycling community – this year there will be over 600 cyclists taking part.  The event works closely with its Charity Partners and Sponsors to raise some serious amounts of money!  It’s amazing what a few good people with a common goal can achieve, and I’ve a suspicion this is only the start!

Spaces for this year’s event are sold out however there may be some Charity places available if you’re interested.  If it’s the same as this year, entry for next year’s event will go on sale in November.

For me, “Ride the North” will be the third, final, and, I suspect most physically challenging cycle of the summer.  I’m hoping by that stage I’ll be over the feelings of “can I do it” and be able to focus on “doing it”!  Can’t wait!