Stent plus two

Today is exactly two years since I got my stent. I’m particularly aware of this because Google Photos has told me with pictures of my journey from Addenbrooke’s to Royal. Papworth.

Of course lots more has happened in those years than my really rather trivial experience of living with my stent, and of course a lot has not happened as our freedoms have been, not unreasonably, constrained because of Covid.

This particular year started during a period of limited Covid controls, we then went into a short ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown in November (which in hindsight seems to have been of little use) and then a full lock down again at the start of the 2021. We are now free of all Covid rules but infection rates remain high. Fortunately the good people of Histon & Impington and the businesses which serve them are, in the main, continuing to observe good ‘Covid complaint’ behaviour.

I have been busy but now this is unwinding. I have worked for a nominal 3 days a week to cover the empty Sales & Marketing Director role at Cambridge-Sensotec, I continued as a county councillor until the elections and then actively supported my successor in her election, I shepherded the Histon & Impington Neighbourhood Plan successfully through it’s final stages and referendum, and I remained (and still remain) active on the Parish Council and with the Eastern Learning Alliance (previously the Lifelong Learning Trust).

I have less to do now. I am no longer a county councillor,  the Neighbourhood Plan is ‘made’ and work is back down to a nominal day a week (although Macsa came calling again at the start of the summer). I have flagged up my intention to stand down from the Parish Council and the ELA next year. And that will be it. Fully retired and then I can start to dip into my pension pots which are by and large untouched.

Health wise I must not complain. Like many others I have been free from colds and the flu; maybe the only Covid silver lining is that its rules have reduced the spread of all infections not just Covid ones. And I have continued to be able to run 5k although this was interrupted early in 2021 by a first calf muscle problem for some time. However this was quickly and expertly treated by Lotte Skodtj (pictured above) of Motus Physiotherapy at the Barn.

In terms of my vital signs my blood analyses have continued to look good with my blood lipids especially staying in the middle of the healthy range. My weight has drifted down a further 0.5kg which leaves me determinedly snacking, I’m addicted to Quaker Porridge to Go, to counter this obvious effect of my low fat diet. My blood pressure has also drifted down a little measuring more often below 120/60 and a heart rate in the mid 40s. I also sensed at times that I was ‘over-medicated’. All this was useful input to my annual review with Sally White.

That was a strange event and I felt that it was me proposing action and Sally just validating it. It made it easy of course that it could be based on evidence and we agreed that I should stop taking the Lanzoprasole but to keep it on hand (it’s not really a cardiac drug, it just enables the stomach to handle the multiple medicines it’s having to digest). More significantly we agreed that I should stop taking the beta blocker. This had been started soon after my op when my blood pressure was a little too high but has the disadvantage of depressing the heart rate (that’s why snooker players take it).

These changes have now been implemented and I’m down to ‘just’ four medicines a day, two each morning and evening. My blood pressure is up a tad, the systolic more mid 120s than mid 110s which is fine, and my heart rate is in the 50s instead of the 40s which is good.

More generally I’m no longer feeling ‘over-medicated’, I’m sleeping better and flatulence seems to be less of a problem (which must be a good thing). Other symptoms seem to come and go. I do feel the cold, especially this summer which has been dreadful, and I go through periods, as now, when my legs especially feel cold. But all round: pretty good.

I’m probably a bit obsessive in the way that I manage my health these days: daily blood pressure readings and particular attention to the dietary information on food packaging. However having been deprived of the best part of two years of my retirement by Covid I’m determined to be able to enjoy it for several years into the future. I still remember Tony Halls and I agreeing that we should both of us be good until we are 90 and that’s a way to go.

Click here to read Stent plus one.

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