…And breathe…

I never fail to marvel at the complexities of the human body; especially my own.

Over the past two or three months, I have been suffering. A nagging tightness in the chest that began to radiate. This eventually caused headaches and dizziness, but it was not too long before pain and discomfort spread to my left arm.

I have rudimentary medical training. It comes with what I do. I suspected cardiovascular issues, but in a ridiculous act of fear induced denial, I did no more than wait, for far too long. Eventually just before Christmas I finally sought medical help.

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Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

The NHS wasted no time. I was plugged in, X-rayed, stethoscoped and generally very closely inspected by anyone who had served time at medical school. My GP even went to the extent of phoning me twice, in the evening.

I quickly received a letter from the Rapid Access Acute Chest Pain Clinic in my local hospital. They wanted to see me on the 21st. The letter stressed the importance of attending the clinic, but also attempted to reassure that an appointment was in no way indicative of a heart condition.

I could not ignore the pain; it was now a constant.

Sitting in the waiting room I held the company of many. Noticeably all much my senior and in varying degrees of failing health, I could not feel anything other than incongruous.

A nurse called my name.

It was ECG time again. I was asked to strip to the waist and lie down. For the ease of parking I’d travelled on the bike so my attire was a little of a hindrance as the nurse needed access to my feet for the sensors. It took longer to hook me up than it did to get a reading. Rather than getting dressed fully, I put my teeshirt back on.

Returned to the waiting room, I looked even more out of place.

I was eventually summoned by a more mature lady in scrubs, with a stethoscope around her neck. I duly followed.

She sat me down and asked me to remove my teeshirt again, so she could listen to my chest and back. I breathed in and out as requested as she moved her pre-warmed device to various locations on my torso.

She then prodded and poked.

“Does this hurt here?”

Yes

“Here?”

Yes

“Here?”

Not so much

“Here?”

Very much.

My chest spasmed and contracted away from her touch.

The Clinical Practitioner sat down. “Tell me when it hurts; for example, how do you feel on exertion?”

The pain usually subsides or is non-existent.

“Ok” she said, as she took off her glasses.

“It is my opinion that you have nothing wrong with your heart. Your ECG is fine; your blood pressure is fantastic and your bloods, although you show slightly elevated levels of cholesterol show nothing else”

I tilted my head in curiosity.

“You’ve torn a pectoral muscle working out”

So, basically, I thought I was dying, but I’ve just…ripped a tit?

She smiled. “Yes”

I laughed. Very, very loudly and slightly hysterically. She began to laugh too. This continued for some time, to the point where her colleagues came in to see what was happening.

I apologised to her [and the entire NHS] for wasting her time.

“Better to be safe than sorry” she reassured.

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Sitting astride my bike I reflected on how my mindset had changed at the impact of such a serious illness. I’d rescued my diet, taking Omega3 oils and eating a clove of garlic a day, as well as ensuring that I got my 5 a day.

I’d also considered creating video diaries for the cubs, should the eventual prognosis be, not so good.

I’m lucky. I already have a healthy regard for life and I try to remain grateful for everything I have, not less my gorgeous cubs. More importantly, it was the reality of my mortality while they are so young that weighed heavily upon me. Selfishly, I didn’t want to be without them. Watch this space…

For now, I’ve dodged a bullet but it served as a good reminder to maintain a healthy lifestyle; sleeping, eating and exercising well.

I might give the kettlebell swings a miss for now though.

person jumping on seashore during golden hour
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BSD

 

 

Come on….

Ever had one of those days, when after checking your work ‘to do’ list, you immediately buy a lottery ticket?

#truestory

BSD

The race to zero pt.3

I’m a couple of days late with this entry; forgive me. Things have been, interesting.

When I decided to create this debt reducing thread, I had a few ideas as to how I’d proceed.

My original plan was to work more and generate income, in effect creating a surplus to my monthly income. That surplus would then go to reducing my outstanding debt.

But I hit a snag. The overtime that was offered was snapped up like bread in a duck pond by keen eyed colleagues. I missed out on some great opportunities in January.

(My daughter is sitting on my shoulder and reading everything I type out loud. It’s annoying, bless her)

I also had a bout of the flu, which lasted around 3 weeks. It incapacitated me, showing another flaw in my plan.

But I have more plans – income generation.

Jumping about

Let’s back up a bit. January wasn’t all bad. I did manage to secure some overtime, some extra work delivering training, and offered my availability to do some shadowing/monitoring for some other stuff on the periphery of my day job. That was promising and it will show its rewards at the end of this month.

It also all materialised around the same time that I was starting to worry that nothing would turn up.

January is a long month

Historically it felt that way anyway. The issue of Christmas spending and a payday that can leave you budgeting for 6 oncoming weeks can make you feel the pinch, but last year I planned properly and all was well. January was just another month.

I guess sleeping through a third of it helped.

On the downside, the credit cards have remained static, rather than showing signs of reduction.

This might take longer than I thought.

Changing shape

I had meant to look at shifting regular payments onto my card, then paying more of my salary into them per month.

I haven’t yet. I will.

It might work.

Income generation

This isn’t a new thing. In a much earlier post I spoke of how some of the greatest financial whizzes out there talk of wealth creation methodologies.

Three income streams is the key. The theory being, if you lose one stream you still have money coming in.

In these days of redundancies and corporate collapse, we need all the security we can get.

Passive income seems to be the ideal. But does real passive income exist?

I’ve been working on a couple of digital sidelines and I can tell you, they take work! I’ve no doubt that once they’re up and running the time taken to tend them will fall away but for now, it’s work work work work work.

Investing

So here’s the key; the realisation that opportunities to work more in my current role are susceptible to my health and the speed of my response to an email has led me to the realisation that I need to invest more in my sidelines. This will mean investing in myself by getting some training/mentoring.

Gurus here I come.

BSD

January 2017

Card 1= 97.9% utilisation

Card 2 = 99.4% utilisation

Not quite there yet.

Has everyone had a nice Christmas?

I have, and so have the cubs. It was so far removed from what I endured last Year that it’s incomparable.

In those 365 days I’ve learnt so much about myself and the people that come into my life and more importantly, those who remain.

The cubs have had a brilliant time and have been showered with love (and presents). So much so in fact that I have decided to donate some to a local children’s hospice. I want to give back and the only reason I’ve written about it here is to maybe trigger thoughts in others as to how we can give back or help those less fortunate.

This isn’t my review of 2017, in fact I’m not going to do one; I’m not that interesting.

I will be doing one more post and that will be regarding the second part of the race to zero.

Resolutions

To read more of your blogs. I love doing so as it gives me inspiration, advice and makes me chuckle.

They also serve to remind me that I’m not the only one pushing forwards and trying to make sense of this all.

Keep on keeping on folks xx

PS.

Like a glutton for punishment I had both of them in my bed last night as they’ll now be with Mum for a week or so.

Both of them expanded like magic bath toys, moaned every hour on the hour, leaked a nappy onto me and said bed and I’m so sleep deprived I feel I may expire but, I couldn’t be happier.

BSD

Honesty 

Always the best policy. 

I picked the cubs up after to work today. The order was reversed as I was in the north of the county so daughter was first, followed by son. 

I walked into after-school club and she was sitting alone on a sofa. This is quite unusual for her as she is normal a social being and would normally be in the midst of her friends. 

She turned and saw me; and immediately I could tell, all was not right. She moved to the middle of the seat, hugged me and burst into tears. 

Through the sobs

Her school has a reward system called ‘Golden Time’, which is awarded to children for good behaviour. They collect tokens throughout the day which gives them time back to do something they like. If they’re well behaved throughout the whole term, they get a certificate. Since starting school 3 years ago, she’s never missed one. She parades them like a badge of honour. 

Today, she had lost her entitlement to Golden Time. 

A minor idescretion had led to it; she was inconsolable. 

Rebuilding 

We hugged; a lot. Then we talked.  

We discussed mistakes and how important it is to make them. We then talked about the importance of learning from them so that we could avoid them in the future. 

I also told her that I make mistakes quite often. That seemed to do the trick. 

The assistants at the club were concerned that something had happened whilst she was under their care as she had been ok up until the moment I arrived. 

She’d been holding on to these feelings for most of the day before they finally exploded into full blown tears.

 

Thinking

I was reassured that despite all the inner turmoil she’d put herself through before I arrived, she’d confided in me completely as soon as she saw me. 

This level of trust is critical; I need her to come to me regardless. Communication and compassion above all else. 

BSD 

More serious questions 

This morning’s drive in turned plenty deep plenty quickly.

“Dad; would a hurricane blow the hair off someone with Cancer?”

Whoa

After skillfully not crashing; I ponder a suitable response. I’d have preferred a ‘Where do babies come from’ as I have a script for that one but this was left field.

‘Those two things are quite unrelated darling; how did you put them together?’

Silence..

“Well; I’d noticed that when people get Cancer they lose their hair. I suspect that Cancer makes it loose so if you’re in a hurricane, those strong winds will only make matters worse.”

I can see her logic and decide to tackle the big one first.

‘Ok; it’s not the Cancer that causes sufferers to lose their hair, its the treatment. It can be quite aggressive’

Having lost my mother to the big C, I know enough about the topic to feed her facts. Preempting her next enquiry, I continue.

‘Cancer happens in the body at a cellular, microscopic, level. Every part of us is made up of cells. Technically we are constantly regenerating ourselves but slightly older than the version before..”With Cancer, somehow the message to create a new cell gets messed up and misunderstood, so the new cell isn’t quite as it should be. If there are enough of these not-so-right cells, they can attack the good cells. That can be really bad’

She looks creeped out.

‘It’s a gradual process; we call it mutating

Less creeped and now showing the look of ‘I’m gonna tell folk this in the playground’.

“So is a cell small? what’s the smallest living thing?”

Now I’m wading out into deep waters…

‘I think it’s a single celled, protozoa but I’m not sure; I’ll check this evening’

It’s been a while since Biology class.

“I think it’s a woodlouse”

The hurricane went unmentioned.

collapse

BSD

 

On the drive in..

“Dad? What makes us different from animals?”

Not your everyday question, but the kind of thing I expect from my daughter on the drive in to school.

Well, it tends to be our ability to express a range of emotions such as compassion grief love et cetera. That and the fact that we can display intelligence. 

“Not like Donald Trump then?”

One high-five later, daddy 🙂

BSD