Health Update.

A reminder came on Monday last week to go to the Pathology Lab for more tests. My how time flies.

I went to the lab to bleed and pee on the very next day.

This afternoon I drove to Woodford to chat with the doc about the results. It was a pleasure to see the happy look on his face when he saw my latest weight and heard my recitation of all the things I’ve been doing in the cause of longevity.

Then he went through my test results with me. My BP is excellent. i knew that, because I monitor it myself. My kidney function has improved significantly. This was a surprise because the expectation was that the best I might do was prevent further deterioration. So that was Good News.

Some acid of concern ( I forget it’s name) in the blood is back to normal. My liver function has returned to normal. Sodium is normal. Other stuff is normal. Too much detail for an old codger. But if it’s ok, I don’t need to remember what it is. So I just keep on doing what I am doing. Take the pills, do the exercise and physio, stick to my dietary regimen, and drink copious quantities of water.

And finally, the itchy mole in the small of my back I was worried about is not melanoma.

In other news, I finally swam 3,000 metres this morning. It took me 2 hours, 47 minutes – plus or minus 30 seconds – It’s hard to see the second hand on my watch without my glasses. It was a sustained, non-stop swim. Breast stroke, mask and snorkel, no fins. Even with my limp and walking stick I could possibly have walked the distance in that time. Or maybe not. In any case, it was a milestone for me. I’ve decided I’m not going out to beat my time but to increase distance. I’m aiming to do 5 km (in one session) at least once a fortnight within a month. It’s the best cardio exercise I can manage, and it seems to be doing me good.

Having established to my own satisfaction that I can keep it up, I now have invested in a weekly concession rate of $11 a week for unlimited pool use. Up until today I have been on a $112 for 30 sessions rate. Tomorrow -or perhaps the next day – will be my thirtieth pool visit. I may have a rest day tomorrow. Unlimited entry starts on Thursday, which is the day they debit my account each week.

Little by little I’m settling in here.


A Sense of Achievement

I went for a hat trick yesterday. Ride, Swim, Walk.

With my walking stick strapped to the bike I rode to the pool, swam my ninety minutes, followed by twenty minutes of physio exercises in the warmer indoor pool. Then I rode down to Bongaree Jetty for a walk around the park and along the esplanade and beach. I was glad of the stick on the uneven ground. Then I rode around Bongaree a bit, exploring before heading home.

I’ve finally got the handlebars and seat adjusted correctly, so I can pedal with a minimum of discomfort and pain. Nonetheless I still pedalled only about a fifth of the twelve kilometres or so that I rode. I definitely could not do it without the assist.

I was aching and weary on my return. After a light meal of low-sodium soup and vegetables I fell asleep watching The Canterville Ghost on Netflix.

This morning on my weekly weigh-in I found I have lost 14.5 kg since I committed. That is a heap of weight lost and I am still embarrassed to look in the mirror and see little change in my appearance. It doesn’t show yet. Such a long way still to go. But I’m not discouraged.

No Pain, No Gain.

I overdid the exercise yesterday. Too enthusiastic. Even with an electric motor assisting, the bones grind and the muscles strain. Swimming is one thing, pedalling another. I overestimated my ability and rode too far. I went to bed aching with shooting pains down my legs. I couldn’t find a comfortable position, even with a pillow between my thighs. For a long time I could not sleep and when I did finally, I had nightmares. I dreamed I came off my motorcycle. Not the one I have now, or even that I’ve ridden lately, but the Triumph Tigress 250cc scooter I rode for a while as a teenager. I was amongst a crowd of people I used to work with, but none of them would help me up.

The pain in my legs found its way into my dream, and my left arm was paralysed so that I could not move it at all. Sleep was not a surcease. I felt as if I was awake, which I clearly wasn’t, because of the weird things going on around me.

In the morning I could barely walk and after my usual coffee and light breakfast I crawled back to bed and spent most of the day trying to sleep while listening to my Spotify playlist.

It’s Fathers’ day here in the antipodes and I was hoping for a phone call, or a text, or a Facebook post, or something. I remembered to text my own Dad. I would have phoned you, Dad, but I didn’t feel that well today.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll swim and when I get back I’ll just pedal a short way down to the fish shop and back. I fancy some fish as I’ve been vegetarian for a while.

Barramundi, I think. The best fish available here.

This is just a setback. It will not stop me. No pain, no gain.

Turning Point.

It has arrived. 236B463E-1FDF-4883-BD16-312A91D7F306

Assembled. Now charged.  Before I ride, however, I shall take it to a bike mechanic for service and checking. I did my bit right, but maybe the factory didn’t do theirs.

Even so, I shall not be riding it to the pool just yet, until I’ve satisfied myself I can do the distance and back.  For a while I shall just be riding around near home.  I have knee braces, which will, hopefully, keep the knee bones aligned while pedalling but I suspect I may have to build up to riding longer distances even with electric pedal assist.  I’ve decided not to turn on the no pedalling feature of the throttle as it appears to be illegal to use on the roads in Queensland and should only be used off road.  Otherwise I’d have to register this as a motorcycle.  No worries. This is going to be a benefit to my health and fitness.

Last night at my weekly weigh-in I confirmed I have lost 12.2 kg since I committed to trying to live a bit longer.  That seems awfully good and encouraging, until I remind myself I still have another 30 kg to go at least.  But I have proved to myself it’s possible.  I just have to stay on top of it.

I have learned how to manage on between 5,000 and 6,500 kJ a day and still eat foods I really enjoy most of the week. I have found at least one form of exercise that is painless and enjoyable.  I’m sleeping well and maintaining a good mental state most of the time.  I’m even thinking about how I might look for part-time work if I get just a bit more of my mobility back.  My original plan of doing locum EHO work for a couple of days a week could be back on the table sooner than I thought.  I still know where the vacancies are.

Getting it Together.

CE1B89E9-77BC-4B6C-B563-C6D8A85DF0FDA couple of posts back I indicated that I was fed up with blogging.  That was me telling me I was depressed.  Depression is not something one can just shrug off.  On the other hand it is not something to wallow in.  I was very lucky that a couple of friends invited me to join them on a bushwalk and picnic day, which I mentioned in my previous entry.  A bit of social interaction was what I needed, along with some good challenging exercise.  I have not been walking far lately, and not at all off smooth pavement.  Uneven ground is painful to my knees and leaves me feeling precariously likely to stumble and trip at any time.  I rely more and more on my walking stick.  That is why swimming is my best option.   In the water I am weightless. And painless. However, as things begin to improve I can manage walking better than I could. I should build on that.

My physiotherapist has been encouraging me to ride a bicycle.  I gave two bikes away when I left Katanning, because it was painful to ride them.  But my recent experience with an Exercycle suggests I should give it another go. I could ride to the pool. It is only 4.5 km from home, and flat all the way. But I was concerned that I could end up unable to get back if something goes wrong.  The pain can become crippling.  I thought about it carefully, did a bit of research on line, and slept on it a bit.  Then I ordered an Ebike. It has a 250W electric hub motor powered by an 16 Ah lithium battery.  This can assist my pedalling, so I get the movement and some exercise, but it can also propel me without my input if necessary.  It has a range of 80km on a charge. So it can get me around.  It is a mountain bike, with 26’ wheels and dual suspension, so I can use it on the bush trails on Bribie.  Or on the hard sand of the beach at low tide.  Sounds like a plan.


Pushing it.

My visit to the physiotherapist last night was encouraging.

He had made the appointment at the end of the day so I’d have more time with him, and so it was we had our discussion and planning session while I pedalled an Exercycle for half an hour at difficulty level four. I can not deny it hurt. But someone was watching. And I really have committed to doing this, just as I did back nearly nineteen years ago when the Ministry had a gym in the basement. I did it then, I can do it now. I think I may just get that little pedal machine.

I weighed myself, and found I’m exactly a kilo lighter than I was three weeks ago. Nowhere near the kilo every ten days I’ve been aiming at, but progress nonetheless.

I calculated that on this particular day I had so far burned more energy than I had consumed, so I rewarded myself at the Chinese takeaway down by the Bongaree Jetty, and ordered a combination chow mein. When I got it home I found it had no noodles. Just pork, prawns, beef, chicken and a lot of vegetables. Enough easily for two, but I ate it all. Reward for good behaviour, and on consideration something I should do at least once a month, maybe on pension day, for the good of my morale. Because despite the aches I felt good and slept well with a full tum and a clear conscience, in the kilojoules green.

Yesterday may have been a bit over the top, in both pushing myself, and certainly in food intake. But maybe I can make the effort after all to be consistently in the green. This is my memo to self to commit.

25 July

Swimming went well today, day three. I found that although I can’t coordinate my left arm swimming overarm forward, it works fine with backstroke. And I can swim faster backwards. Breastroke up and backstroke back for 60 minutes straight, then some larking about water walking. Feeling much better afterwards today than I did on Tuesday.

Physio this evening, they are starting me on an exercycle. Then I think I will have earned a combination chow mein, I’m in energy credit. .

If I actually can manage to complete a reasonable time on the Exercycle without ending in agony (which I am expecting) I know where I can get a small foldaway portable one that would suit a caravan lifestyle. Very reasonably priced, too.