March 2020: Health Update

As it’s abundantly clear that I’m not making a big song and dance over the fact that I’ve now surpassed the 3000 post mark here on Beyond the Sphere, I thought I’d give a quick health update. Nothing to do with the coronavirus or anything like that, I hasten to add; this is a Feel Good blog after all.

Long time visitors may remember in November 2019 I came down with Bell’s palsy, and lost all movement on the right-side of my face. And as I was recovering from that, I was hit by a car driven by a raving lunatic (and that is the last I’ll mention of that in this post!).

I’m pleased to say I now have full movement in all of my face once again. It wasn’t really paralysed for that long, being honest. I made sure I got myself plenty of rest, and took the prescribed steroid medication as prescribed. I was also given tablets to reduce my blood pressure, as on the day I was undergoing checks in hospital (they had to make sure I hadn’t had a stroke) my blood pressure was through the roof.

On the whole, I’m generally quite healthy. I get colds and hayfever and a strange itchy skin every now and again, but I can handle them, and otherwise I’m generally OK. I feel fine, and felt fine even with the facial paralysis. I am overweight, however, which can cause a few issues.

I was sent for a blood pressure 24 hour test shortly after getting the movement in my face back, and the clinician took my blood pressure before fitting me with the monitor. “That’s high!” she exclaimed. “Bloody high in fact!”. I could actually feel it rise even more at those words, as the clinician covered her mouth with a subdued “Oops.” She had to get somebody else into the room to take a manual reading, and give a second opinion, which was pretty much the same. My blood pressure then was 205 over 115.

If you aren’t sure what the numbers mean in a blood pressure reading, I’ll quickly give a brief explanation. The reading is actually two measurements, one of which is the highest pressure when the heart pushes blood out. This is the first number in the reading and is called the Systolic pressure. The second number in the reading is the Diastolic pressure, and this is the lowest pressure when the heart rests between beats. Both numbers are measuring the millimetres of mercury (mmHg). Ideal blood pressure readings are between 90/60 mmHg and 120/80 mmHg. 140/90 and over is considered high blood pressure.

Smoking, drinking too much alcohol, being overweight and not getting enough exercise all contribute to high blood pressure, as does consuming too much salt. I don’t smoke or drink, but I fitted comfortably in the last three categories. And at 205/115 mmHg it is safe to say my blood pressure was high in those readings.

It turns out my blood pressure was slightly higher than the ‘good’ range, but it was inflated as I have a condition called White Coat Syndrome, or White Coat Hypertension. What this means is that whenever I’m around a doctor, or clinician, or in that kind of environment, by blood pressure is phenomenally higher than what it really is. The 24 hour reading revealed that my blood pressure was 154/95.

My doctor told me to get more exercise, watch my food portion sizes and eat more healthily, cut down on salts and sugars, and try to get my blood pressure to 140/90 or below. He said I will feel a lot better without the need for taking medication for lowering blood pressure if I did this. This was in the first week in January.

Since then, I have heeded my doctors advice. I’ve drastically reduced the amount of salt I eat, as well as fats and sugars. I eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and make sure I exercise daily. I mainly do thirty minutes of running on the spot each morning, plus a few other stretching exercises in the evenings every other day.

This work, I’m pleased to say has definitely started to pay off. I still have quite a way to go, but I know I’ll get there. I’m enjoying what I eat (which I will admit slightly filled me with dread at the very beginning!)

When I first started this new regime, on 11th January 2020, I weighed 17 stone 12 pounds (250 pounds or 113.4 kilos). Today, March 7th, I’m 16 stone 4 pounds (228 pounds or 103.4 kilos). Which means I’ve currently lost 1 stone 8 pounds (22 pounds or 10 kilos). In writing the numbers don’t look much, but I measure my weight every morning and record the scores on the doors on a spreadsheet, and then convert it into a chart. I think it looks quite impressive:

I’ve hit a few plateaus along the way, and there have been quite a few ups and downs with the weight, but generally it is moving in a nice downwards direction.

So, that’s the end of this little, and most probably boring, health update. I’m still rotund, only not as rotund as I was, and my clothes are hanging off me just a tad. I’m not going to buy any thin clothes until I’ve reached the point where I want to reach. Right now, I’m not sure where that is yet, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself just yet.

I’m taking each day in turn. Enjoying my transformation. And still checking my blood pressure weekly. Ooh – my blood pressure today was 115/82. Which is classed as being in the ‘good’ range, but not ideal. The 115 is ideal, but I still need to work a little on the 82.

I am a work in progress.

We all are really. It’s life. But we can and do have control over our bodies if we focus and work a little harder.

And see… not one mention of my reaching 3000 posts on this blog. I’m not one to make a big song and dance out of such a thing.

Guess What…?!

I’m taking another blogging break.

I know I haven’t really returned from the last one fully yet, but there is a different reason for this break. I have only gone and developed Bell’s palsy, and the whole right side of my face is paralysed.

I have a gorgeous smile on the left side of my mouth, and nothing on the other. I can now blink with only one eye. Flare one nostril. Pick up different sounds with my right ear. And I have a gorgeously smooth forehead – on the right side.

I can’t close my right eye, so I have to sleep with an eye mask on, and use eye drops to stop my eye drying out. I’m taking steroid medication for the muscle loss.

I have to get as much rest as I can, although I am still working and concentrating on computer screens, so I have to try to get a balance between being on screen and off, which is why I’m taking time away from my own computer.

Hopefully, this won’t be for too long, but we shall see. I can’t in all honesty stay away from Blogland for that long, so I’ll undoubtedly be popping in and out as I love reading your posts, even if I do so only as a lurker. I’ll probably be liking more and commenting less, but again we shall see there as well.

It’s only my face that’s affected, and the rest of me feels fine, and I’m handling what has happened OK. I can even see the comical side of it… especially when I laugh. When I laugh, it sets others laughing, which makes me laugh more, so they laugh more – and so on. In the end, I have to say “Don’t make me laugh… you won’t like me when I laugh.” And we laugh.

It’s a reminder really… anything can happen at any time, which makes it all the more important to enjoy the moments before that ‘anything’ happens. And really, more than ever, to keep Feeling Good.

I was going to switch the comments off for this post, but I’ve decided to leave them on. If you do leave a comment, I will try to reply as soon as I can… and this goes for all of the other comments on the other posts you’ve left recently that I’ve failed to reply to.

I shall apologise for this delay, and advise that normal service will be resumed in due course.

Keep smiling! Open-mouthed smile

An Ache Once More…

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in time, when this blog went by a different name using the old Misty Look theme (well, July 2011, but considering this blog only started in 2010 it’s almost as waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back as one can go!) I posted this as I had a particularly bad knee that day.

I haven’t got a bad knee today, but thought it would be nice to dust the cobwebs off this old post and send it out into the wide weird web once again.

For those who may be interested, I think the rhyme worked as I don’t remember the knee aching since. Everywhere else, yes, but not the knee…

I proudly present “Ode to an aching knee

Oh, knee, I ask thee why must thou throb
Whence I stand and walk or hobble
’Tis fine whilst seated and after several steps
So why must thou caust me trouble?

A heat you bring within my leg
A warmth that’s not so fair
Whence I happen perchance to walk
A steppe or two from here to over there

I ask thee knee, nay I beg of thee,
To help me on my way
I have no need for thee to throb,
So take thy pain away.

Oh, knee, kind knee, strong knee of mine,
I’m grateful for thy support
You’re part of me so you must know
The pain that brought these thoughts

My mind it says the pain has gone
My mind says this is true
My body agrees and all is well
Apart from the throb from you.