There’s always something going on in life as the saying goes though at this time those ‘somethings’ are not exactly what I have in mind. Another day passes by without anything further done on my projects but still I am active though in a different way. Yesterday we had bright sunshine and it was reasonably warm, only kept cooler because of the breeze. Today (Friday 11) it is quite cold, overcast and windy, a complete change. I would have taken a long walk in the morning but for the fact that I had to drive E to the hospital for her to keep another appointment. Instead, I spent time exercising on the gym equipment before breakfast and waited for E to be ready to go out. This time she was having steroid injections in her left foot in order to alleviate pain in some of her toes. Next week she has further appointments so now I have to plan my work, if I am doing any, around those times. Everything moves at a snail’s pace if I am out with E these days whereas years ago I sometimes had difficulty in just keeping up with her! Strange at it may seem her spinal problems (spina biffida) don’t appear to be causing her as much pain as the other problems she has. Until she contracted the back pain, shoulder pain and problems in her feet she managed to get around quite well. To be honest I don’t know how she would cope if I wasn’t around but I suppose she would somehow. It’s not all doom and gloom though, just something we have to cope with in our lives. I often wonder how we as human beings manage to survive the many health problems many of us face during our lives. If it isn’t one thing it’s another which strikes us unless we are very lucky though some of us are more vulnerable than others I guess.
….and tomorrow a new month. I write this on the last day of April. It is Monday and the start of a week of unknowns. Despite not having any definite plan for the day I was very busy. I had ordered clothing, floor paint and a cordless vacuum cleaner but only one of those was scheduled for delivery that day, the vacuum cleaner. I wanted the paint delivering as soon as possible so that I could finish the cellar storage room project. As I write this I still have no idea when it will arrive. The clothing should be here within the next couple of days. There was a small amount of painting to do around the door on the inside of the store-room which was the first thing I did. Following that I went into the front garden and using a watering can and soluble plant food I fed all the plants, dug out weeds then swept the pathways. It was approaching lunchtime when that was done so I stopped work and went indoors just in time to unpack and assemble the new vacuum cleaner. I am considering purchasing another for use on the upper floors but will see how this one performs first. After lunch I made myself busy by first of all sweeping up the leaves, lots of them, from the paths in the rear garden then mowing the lawn. Next, I got out the hoe and gave the flowerbeds a make-over removing the weeds. It was late afternoon when I had finished and I spent an hour in the sunshine relaxing on the patio. When I returned indoors our next-door neighbour’s son called to update us on his mom’s condition. Late on Sunday afternoon she had been rushed to hospital with a collapsed lung and could hardly breathe. She has advanced emphysema and relies on her oxygen bottles to get through the day. The prognosis wasn’t good and the doctors thought she wouldn’t survive. Her son was calling to let us know that she had perked-up somewhat and could possibly return home. She is at death’s door and the doctors practically indicated that so even if she can return home she would need palliative care. For the moment she remains in hospital. We invited our neighbour’s son inside for a chat and he stayed awhile. That was basically my day and I was tired after it all.
My plans were almost thwarted on Saturday. It was another warm and sunny day as we enjoyed the slightly unseasonal weather for April with temperatures around six, seven and eight degrees above normal. Although I wanted to spend more time outdoors I knew I had to do at least some more work in the cellar. This little project is certainly taking quite some time to complete. I was up and about around eight o’clock and after breakfast the first thing I did was to water the rear garden as we hadn’t any rain for days. It was especially important that I did it if only for the sake of the newly bedded plants I had put in the day before though all the garden plants needed it too. On returning indoors I continued with the painting and was doing fine until after an hour or so I thought I heard E calling out to me so went to investigate. She was two floors up and kind of stuck on the landing unable to move with muscular pain in her back, something she says happens occasionally. I did my best to assist but there was little I could do but to see that she made it downstairs safely. From that point onward and throughout the day I had to do the fetching and carrying for her and prepare her meals as she often eats different things to me. Once I knew she was settled I returned to my painting but my phone rang soon after I had resumed. It was our next-door neighbour who asked if I could check out a couple of garden lights she had recently purchased but hadn’t worked. I told her I would call as soon as I could and went there around thirty minutes later after completing what I was painting. The lights are solar units which charge during the day and when night falls they illuminate. There are switches on them but no indication of their function, they could either be for preventing the units from charging or from illuminating. I asked for the instruction sheet but she told me she had thrown it out with the garbage! I suggested she return them as faulty. When I returned home I removed my overalls for I knew it wasn’t worth keeping them on, my services to E would be taking preference and my project would have to wait a couple of days. At least E was able to join me out on the patio to relax for a couple of hours in the afternoon.
My life has always been governed by routine and I suppose that is true for most people despite what they may say to the contrary. Routines are one thing and plans another. My life is also governed by plans and yes, probably everyone else’s are too. We all make plans in life. Plans are the promises we make to ourselves but sometimes don’t receive or carry out. After a complete rest on Sunday I was ready to resume the routine of working on my plan, a project I had given myself (like all the others) to fill a portion of my days with something to do but something else had to be done first. I had to have my six-monthly appointment with the doctor for check-ups and prescription renewal. I planned to do a little shopping after the appointment and then do a couple of other errands before returning home. The appointment was for 0910 but as is usual I didn’t get to see the doctor until twenty minutes later. On leaving the surgery I walked into town to purchase a few things one of which was a blood pressure monitor before returning to my vehicle to drive home. According to my doctor my blood pressure was again just as the previous time very high. On that occasion I had subsequently been loaned a monitor to carry out the tests at home and they proved my blood pressure wasn’t high at all. The doctor suggested I might purchase a monitor or have another check-up by the chemist. I chose to purchase one so that I could take several tests and submit them to the surgery. Later at home my tests showed once more that my pressure levels were not high at all. I told the doctor that my results were always high when I visit the surgery. Now I suppose the reason for that is I don’t find it easy to relax at the surgery. I took my purchases home and immediately drove off again to dump some rubbish and unwanted items at the waste recycling depot returning home via the builder’s depot to purchase granite dust and cement. It was lunch time when I got home and after lunch I didn’t much feel like working but did a little plastering in the cellar storage room. The day hadn’t turned out anything like I thought it would, it had been totally disrupted. I thought later that I should have concentrated on installing the replacement shower cubicle glass instead but there was always tomorrow.
I wasn’t out of action for very long after I had damaged my little finger, only one day in fact but I didn’t resume my work on the pit until the day after that. I don’t know about you but I find certain foods affect my gut and I suffer from re-flux and wind problems if I eat them though strangely not every time. I love fish and on Wednesday evening I had mackerel. It is a particularly strong in flavour and is one of those foods which cause me to burp a lot after eating it. It isn’t my favourite fish by a long way, in fact it is pretty much at the bottom of the table. Sea bass and rainbow trout are favourites with me though I don’t often eat them. I suffered a lot after eating that fish on Wednesday and it followed through to almost lunchtime on Thursday. However it wasn’t just the fish causing me problems but also the muesli I had at breakfast. I usually eat muesli with fruit or porridge with fruit at breakfast and they have little side effect as long as I don’t do any work which requires bending. If I do then it can upset my tummy. Most of the time I don’t start working for an hour or two after eating breakfast. Anyhow I decided I had to push ahead with the pit project and I got this far before finally taking a break for a late lunch.
The slope turned out almost perfect but I had to fill in a few places where trapped air had caused one or two dimples in the concrete (top picture). I relaid five stone tiles at the far end of the pit as seen in the bottom picture. The space on the left is that concrete block I mentioned in previous posts. It is extremely hard but I managed to chip away at it in order to get it below the floor tiles. I won’t bother spending more time on it but at least I can cement over it now. Before the work started it was a couple of inches above the floor level. After lunch I assembled and installed the hand rail.
In yesterday’s post I talked about continuing with the work in the garden and the weather thwarting that possibility. Wednesday (27) was a far better day for working outdoors as it was dry and sunny for the most part though I have to add much colder than it had been in the previous week. I didn’t get out of bed especially early as I might have done another time but I was downstairs exercising on the gym equipment by nine o’clock even so. After a brief cooling off outside I returned upstairs for breakfast before taking a shower and getting dressed for the day. Over the last couple of days our youngest son has been staying here and his car is left parked on the driveway in front of the house when he is here. The vehicle is supplied by the company he works for and he normally gets it cleaned in a car wash station. His employer pays for that but I suppose only once a month. It stood there looking as if it had been in a coal mine for weeks but as he said, driving up and down the motorways in the rain keeps it looking that way! I put on my overalls and with a bucket of warm water, liquid soap and the nylon bristled sweeping brush I keep in my van for cleaning the van I set about cleaning the car. It didn’t take long and at least it would look much better for a while…
Having done my good deed for the day I returned to the rear garden and set about fixing the stones in the rear edge of the small bed that is now occupied by the new fan palm…
I mixed some fine concrete to fill in the gaps and used what was left to fill holes elsewhere around the garden and one of the surface water grids. When I returned into the house through the cellar door my son was using the elliptical trainer and then the bench press to do some weight lifting. He, just like his brother, are certainly a healthy and muscular pair of guys. They each have membership in their preferred gymnasium but obviously take advantage of the equipment we have at home when they visit. It is good to see they are looking after themselves by keeping fit. I wonder where they get that from?
A few weeks ago my doctor called me in to see her. I have to attend surgery every six months for routine blood pressure checks because of the medication (hormones) I have to take each day. On my last visit I was told to make an appointment with the nurse who take blood samples and send them off for analysis. That was done and I then had to see the doctor again for the results. That happened on Friday (10). My readers will know that I am a Christian believer and place my trust in God knowing that He loves me. I don’t like visits to the doctor to be truthful and though I appear at ease by my demeanour I am usually tensed inside. I arrived at the surgery and parked my van but before going in I prayed to The Lord that all would be well with my results and there would be no necessity for any further action. I went into the surgery and waited to be called. I was with the doctor for less than a minute……..there was nothing wrong with my blood pressure nor the resultant blood tests. I praised The Lord. I knew in my heart the results would be normal, He had given me that assurance.
I have learnt over the years to have more faith in God and to trust in His love. I know He loves me and will take care of me. He proved His love on the cross. Jesus Christ died for me and that act demonstrated pure love. He paid my debt and set me free from the bondage of sin. All I had to do was believe in Him and accept His gift of life. No ,matter what God's plans are for me I know I can trust Him. I just know...
I was up early on Monday morning but didn’t dress for the day at that time. Instead I put on shorts, a vest and my runner’s shoes and spent some time on the treadmill….running. I had neglected my treadmill exercise routines to the point that I was using the treadmill very infrequently and I had to correct that. For the past couple of weeks therefore I have disciplined myself to spend more time on the treadmill as I had been doing previously. In just a short time I found myself improving with each session, pushing myself just that little bit more each time and feeling the benefit for it. For quite some time I have been taking walks and here too I have noticed a steady improvement, walking faster and going further is the trend but I knew it would be. After my stint on the treadmill I went for a walk later too. You see for many years exercise has played a major part in my life and I know the benefits regular exercising can provide. The key word here is ‘regular’, it is of no use exercising sporadically because that can be worse than not exercising at all. Sudden exercise for someone not used to it can cause heart failure in some people as well as other physical problems. If one is to take exercising seriously then it should be planned, short periods of light exercising at first then progressing to harder regimes over a period of time. Marathon runners and sprinters, swimmers and cyclists didn’t start at the peak of their disciplines but gradually built themselves up over a period of time by exercising regularly and improving slowly along the way. There is only so much a person can do when exercising and much of that is affected by their weight, size, capability and age not forgetting their health status. Know your limits should be your motto. Your body will tell you if you are overdoing things and if you are you must take note. Improvements and benefits are gradual but they do happen eventually for those who exercise on a regular basis. As I am fast approaching my 72nd birthday I know I can no longer run as I used to and neither do I want to. There are those who at my age and even older will think nothing of running a marathon or two and if that is what they want I am happy for them but for myself I don’t think I need to aim that high in order to benefit from exercise. All I know is the exercising I take gets better each time, gets longer each time and I feel good each time I do it.
By noon on Friday (27) I was worn out but soon after lunch all was right again, though I remained a little tired till bedtime. It all began with my going to bed early the previous night as I was beginning to doze off in the chair around nine o’clock. This meant I fell asleep at ten-thirty as my head hit the pillow and slept through until five o’clock.
I had an appointment with the nurse at the surgery who was to take some blood samples to be sent off for analysis at my doctor’s request following my last visit to see her. The appointment was at five minutes before ten o’clock and I had hours to spare before then. I didn’t arise until seven however and I decided to spend some time on the treadmill before taking a shower and then getting dressed. I couldn’t eat breakfast because I was supposed to fast for at least twelve hours before the blood samples were taken. I hadn’t eaten since six o’clock the previous evening, more than enough lapsed time. I remained hungry therefore until the samples were taken. I walked down to the surgery which is about a half-mile from home. I had put on my walking boots and a suitable coat in order to go for a walk once I had seen the nurse. I probably walked another two miles before reaching the point on the seafront I was aiming for. I ate the banana I had taken with me along the way. No collecting pebbles and stones this time as on my last journey I had collected enough to finish the work I was doing in the flowerbed at home. I was home before noon so whilst it was warm and sunny I thought I’d mow the lawn and hopefully for the last time this year. The grass however was wet with dew as expected but it was the moss that was retaining the water, not the grass. Even so the mower made short work of it. Now I was hungry and tired. I prepared and ate lunch as by now it was one o’clock. Usually I dine with E but she had been busy in her workshop and didn’t arrive downstairs until almost two o’clock. I was too hungry to wait that long. She asked if I had enjoyed the walk, which I always do. I told her I’d cut the lawn since my return which is why I was feeling a little tired and she hadn’t noticed. Our lawnmower like most isn’t exactly quiet but she hadn’t realised the ‘buzzing’ sound she could hear faintly was the mower! Her workshop is at the top of the house though, four levels above the garden and double-glazing seem to be effective in blocking out the world. The day was so pleasant and warm I found a little time to sit on the patio with a coffee in the afternoon. It didn’t last too long though after all it was late October.
Every six months I arrange an appointment with my doctor for a check-up, specifically to have my blood pressure monitored. Up and until a couple of years ago I underwent regular blood checks for lipids also but for one reason or another those checks lapsed. That was partly my own fault I know but the surgery should have reminded me too. As I take hormones I have to watch my cholesterol levels, hence the lipid screening. At the same time and in order to keep my cholesterol levels down I have to be a little strict in my eating habits, low intake of dairy products for instance. Now due to the fact that I’ve not had any blood checks for around two years I basically forgot about my health in that respect. A case of out of sight out of mind I suppose. Consequently I have allowed myself to slip into bad eating habits by consuming more of those foods I should be steering clear of! On Monday I had an appointment to see the doctor to arrange for a repeat prescription and expected and received a blood pressure check. I get six month’s worth of hormones to save the need for frequent visits to the chemist (drug store). The doctor brought up the subject regarding blood checks and I have now been put back on track so to speak. Since my old doctor retired over ten years ago I have been attended to by a number of different doctors at the practice but not all of them were shall I say too conscientious with regard to my blood check-ups. This new doctor whom I have been seeing for a few months seems to be more on the ball. Having arranged for my prescription to be repeated she took my blood pressure, which was high, and she arranged for a blood test. At any rate she has reminded me to take more care of what goes into my mouth too and not to wander from the path I should be on. With immediate effect I began to put my diet back in order and at the same time increased my exercise regime, not that I really lacked in that department. Happy days.