Tag Archives: Walking

The best time of the day…

This morning was one of those mornings…

We seem to have had more “summer” since I’ve been off work than we had in the past couple of years.  It’s very unusual on the East Coast of Scotland, but there have been several mornings when you wake up and you know it’s good to be a beautiful day.  All day.  Usually you wouldn’t bet on the weather in 15 minutes time!  This morning was one of those mornings.

Despite having had so much rest, my sleep pattern doesn’t seem to have been too disrupted over the past few weeks – good news for next week (returning to work) as waking up shouldn’t be too much of a shock!

Anyway, I was awake before the sun had done much damage.  A light fog had been laid down over night, almost as if an alien space craft had cruised through the mountains leaving a vapour trail as it went.

Cloud in Valley

Alien vapour trail through the mountains

Everything had been touched by it.  Damp.  Glistening.


The spiders had been hard at work!

Even Geoffrey was out and about (I hadn’t seen him for a couple of days)… clearly the best time of the day!


I think we’re off to the beach for a picnic.  🙂

A good day! (FD +22)

I have some days when I wake up in the morning with a feeling of excited anticipation for the day ahead.  Today wasn’t one of those days.

The feeling has, however, grown as the day has gone on.  My immediate reaction was that I’ve overdone it, I’m exhausted, but I’m happy to confirm that this is not the case!

It’s amazing what a bit of targeted pottering can do to raise the spirits!  Today was my first official day of “preparing to return to work”.  Given Wimbledon has finished and it’s a rest day in Le Tour, it could hardly have been planned better!

I’m up to over 30 mins on my twice daily walks now.  I have found a circuit that takes between 14 mins (fast, hard) and 15.5 mins (steady, comfortable).  Today was a comfortable day.  The sun put in an early appearance too.  I was home and hosed early.  A great way to kick the day off.

The rest of the day was spent connecting…

Life in a bubble (with connecting tube)

Life in a bubble (with connecting tube)

Communication was difficult immediately after the Heart Attack… not the easiest thing to drop into casual conversation (“Oh, and by the way, I’ve just had a Heart Attack”), and not something that you can leave out (“No, everything’s fine. Honest!”).  So, the easiest approach is to avoid the conversations.  People who need to will find out in time, one way or another.  As a result, it’s very easy to live in your own little bubble.  Comfortable but isolated.

For a short time this helps.  You get rest, not tired out by visitors.  Protected from the stresses and strains of every day life.

Eventually you need to re-connect, catch up, make contact.  This is not as easy as it sounds.  The longer you’ve been in the bubble, the more difficult it is.  The world moves fast (or at least it feels like it does when you’re not moving with it!).  Today was my day to grab the bull by the horns…

The day included a (very) brief client meeting and a “news” release on the website to announce my imminent return (so much easier than having to announce that I was sick!).  Both were small things, but felt big to me.

Website Photo by Daughter #2
[Not sure how long the facial hair will last!]

The highlight of the day was re-connecting with a couple of really good friends*.  Being men, I am confident that now we have spoken about my Heart Attack, there is no further need to discuss it.  More than anything, I think this has helped me feel like the worst is behind me (and, fortunately, that really wasn’t that bad either).

Oh… and I’m hopefully going fishing tomorrow!  🙂


*Pete – I know I need to call you, sorry!

Independence Day (FD + 17)

P:  “What time are you off to the gym?”
L:  “About 9. Why?”
P:  “Just wondering when to do my walk this morning.”
L:  “Why don’t you wait for the girls and go with one of them?”
P:  “What time do you think they’ll be up?”
[There is no reasonable response to this question.  Teenagers.  Week one of school holiday. Late nights.  etc.]

P:  “I could always go on my own.”

A few minutes later…

P:  “OK.  I think I’ll go for my walk.”
L:  “On your own?”
P:  “Yes.”
L:  “OK.  Have you got your phone?”
P:  “Yes.”

And with that, I regained a little bit of my independence.

Little things can make a big difference… I am able to leave the house on my own; a rite of passage I thought I’d bagged when I first nipped to the local newsagent for a treat, or the corner shop for a forgotten essential, back in the day (“Mum, I’ll be back in five minutes!”).  I’d guess that I was about 8 years old when I first did this, but it feels a bit young.

Things were different back then… Mars Bars were the size of bricks (certainly more than a chap could eat in one sitting) and you could pick up a couple of packets of Hamlet Cigars for the builders while you were there!

Mars & Brick

A Mars Bar and a Brick circa 1980

Anyway, the point is, some things have to be re-gained, re-learnt or re-earned.  I guess a lot of growing up, a lot of learning, is about being able to take things for granted… walking, reading, writing, mental arithmetic, riding a bike, driving a car, etc.  You should take these things for granted but for one reason or another some people can’t.

I’m OK walking.  For the first couple of days after leaving hospital I was tentative.  My chest wasn’t sore, but it was a bit tight.  I definitely wasn’t 100%.  I’m still not 100%, but I’m moving in the right direction.

Gentle, controlled exercise is the name of the game for me.  I’m building up strength to start my Phase 3 Rehabilitation (incorporating tailored gym routines, education, etc.).  The target is to get to walking 30 minutes twice a day by the time I start these sessions (just 2 more weeks).

We don’t believe in “No pain, no gain!”  “Pain” is not a target state for me at the moment.  I carry a magic spray that will come to my rescue if I do feel chest pain at any stage, but I really don’t want to go there!

That said, we live on the side of a hill.  It’s not possible to walk more that 5 yards from our front door without encountering a slope. Doing a 20+ minute walk incorporates many slopes… as long as I don’t feel pain, get out of breath or “over do” it, I’m fine.  So slopes introduce some variety and a (little) challenge.

I felt a strange sensation last night…

My legs ached slightly.  Just a little.  It wasn’t a scary ache.  An “I’ve done a little bit of exercise today”-type ache.  It’s the first time I’ve felt it since my Heart Attack.  It felt good.  I know I can’t push myself, but it’s the first sign that my “little” walks are doing anything more than getting the old ticker pumping.

Until recently, I’d always taken it for granted that my heart wasn’t my weakest link.  I look forward to earning that back too!

An athlete’s pulse and “little” walks (FD +13)

The drugs are working.

The combination of medication has reduced my blood pressure (to a “perfect” level) and also reduced my pulse to under 60 while resting… “an athlete’s pulse” according to the community nurse… unfortunately an athlete on performance enhancing drugs.

Not my heartbeatThe medication is laying the foundation for my recovery, and for my future health.  Some of it reduces the work my heart needs to do.  Other pills reduce the “stickiness” of my blood and the arteries, reducing the chances of plaque build-up and / or blockage in the future.

While a major component of my recovery, medication alone is not enough.  I also need to get myself fit and healthy.  The first goal has to be to get back to some sort of physical normality (whatever that means now?!).

Physical recovery initially meant small, slightly humiliating steps.  “Little” walks, twice a day.  Five minutes to start with.  Under supervision.  Wrapped in lots of rest.  The bruise on my wrist, a constant reminder not to push too hard too soon.

So far, supervisors have been willing… well mostly!  Our little walks have given us a chance to catch up on the events of the day, to get some air into our lungs, or to plan the day ahead, while monitoring my condition – breathing, heart rate, signs of fatigue or distress (none to report to date!).


We do not typically dress or walk like this

We do a minute extra each day to build strength and stamina.  This challenges us to find new, longer routes… how many times a day can you walk past someone’s house before it starts to become impolite?

I’m pleased to report that I should graduate from “little” walks to walks on Monday (we have decided 20 minutes is the official threshold).  Hopefully the supervision will continue to be keen despite the exercise “upgrade”.  I won’t need it forever… in time I’m hoping to be able to leave the house on my own… in time!