I’ve been ill. That’s why there’s been a hiatus in posting.
I’ve been ill before of course, many times, and I think that’s part of the problem.
I’ve only been very ill four times in my life. I had a bad case of whooping cough, or pertussis, when I was nine years of age. I nearly died. I was too ill to take to hospital and had doctors calling on me every day, three times a day for more than two months. My father said he’d nearly broken down a few times at work, not expecting me to be alive when he returned. I fooled them.
Even then the doctors weren’t going to allow me to get one over on them. They told my parents I might be an invalid, or not able to walk very far, and certainly not run. In later life I cycled 20 miles a day to and from work and I was never overtaken by another bicycle. That showed them.
I had influenza as a 15-year-old. I was off school for over a week and had a visit from a teacher to check I wasn’t faking it. When he arrived I was in one of my sweating/shivering periods and he refused to come into the room in case he caught it. It lasted from a Wednesday and I returned to school, much lighter, 12 days later, feeling quite energetic.
It was all downhill after that.
I got colds of course, and the fear that used to go through my parents, for obvious reasons, stuck with me and I would take pills. Two days later I’d be fine. Then I was in my 50s and things had somehow changed.
I caught influenza again. I stayed off work for a week and a half, went back to work for nearly two days, and then went sick again. It took me another two weeks to even be able to get out of bed unaided. I returned to work feeling shattered, with no energy. A month or so later I suddenly realised I didn’t feel perpetually tired. Why did it take so long to crack? I was old.
I then suffered the problem subject of another post on here.
Just before Christmas I had an upset stomach. No reason that I could find for my problems, but problems I had. But that’s all it was, and upset stomach. Yet it took me two weeks to get over it. I’m beginning to feel like an old car.
I had a Volvo 2-series that had led a fairly busy life. After a couple of years things started to go wrong. Items that had given no problem for its life suddenly stopped functioning for no apparent reason. I’d been there, I can tell you.
When investigating the cause of, say, a headlamp malfunction I’d discover that the battery was duff and I’d have to get another one. Or I’d fiddle with the starter motor only to see a hole in the exhaust.
I can’t, it seems, just have a simple problem. Everything escalates. I’ll tell you about my back in a later post, enough here to say that I went in with one problem and after investigation I was told I had four. So I came out after seeing the consultant more ill than when I went in.
The odd thing was that I didn’t find this unusual.
There was a woman who won a big pay-out on a lottery who was given a bit of stick on Facebook – OK, not the worst that can happen – for being honest. She said that as she was old the award had come too late in her life to get the full benefit. I almost, but not quite, sympathise with her.
One thing the doctor discovered was that I had an overactive gland. This came as a surprise to me and I hold no grudge against doctors in general for missing it all my life. Overactive is not how many people would describe me.
It seems that if I am quite active my blood sugar drops quite markedly and stays low for a while. It’s like Type 1 diabetes, but nowhere near that serious. It needs two things to remedy the situation: 1/ I need to take a bit of sugar, and 2/ I need to know about it.
I used to cycle everywhere. 250 miles a week was not unusual and I used to push on. I cycled to work across the Downs, on bridleways and the occasional road and if I wasn’t standing up on the pedals I was going down a steep hill. I’d leave home at 7.40 am, get to work about 8.25, shower, change and be at my desk at 8.45. I’d feel a buzz from the ride but before 10am I’d be overcome with lethargy. I once fell asleep, hitting my head on the computer on my desk. I sat up, hoping no one had noticed but the stream of blood, running into my right eye, was something of a giveaway that the bang had come from my direction.
I felt better after the morning break but would often play a sport during lunch and the afternoon would be a problem. I thought everyone had the same experiences but, it seems, no. The ride home would be on the back of a snack at the afternoon break and I’d have my evening meal within an hour of getting home. So I only had problems at work.
So I went to see my doctor for one thing and came out with a kit to monitor my blood sugar levels. They are highish but not dangerously so, except after exercise when they drop to the upper 3s. All I have to do to remedy the feeling of tiredness is to eat a sweet.
I have a packet of Starburst on me at all times, even in the gym. I can recognise the symptoms – they don’t come that often as I mustn’t let my heart-rate exceed 150bpm so it is not as if I’m pushing the envelope – and I can take one of the little squares. I don’t like the sweets so as soon as I feel the lift, which starts as I unwrap it, I spit half out into the wrapper and throw it away. Unfortunately, given that I often press the packet of sweets against items of equipment, it can be difficult to unwrap.
I was performing on the mats after 20mins on a treadmill when I got the dizziness. Next to me there was one of the muscle-bound weight merchants who stand looking at themselves in a mirror as they perform their pointless poses. As I fought to unwrap the sweet he stopped what he was doing and stared at me. I glanced up.
‘It’s one of my five a day,’ I said, and smiled at him.
The poor guy was confused. No doubt fearing contamination he wandered off, with an occasional glance over his shoulder to ensure I wasn’t following.
It’s great that I’ve finally discovered I have something easily remedied that is wrong with me but I can’t help wishing I’d known about it earlier in my life, and not only because I’d have one less scar on my head.
But I don’t feel at one with the woman upset at winning the lottery. She was honest and that is a positive, but it wasn’t something she’d just discovered. If she thought that there wasn’t much point, why did she continue to play?