Week 4 was a bit of a shambles with respect to adhering to the plan because I was dragged off on leave and that meant no scales to monitor progress, or lack of, and all the newly established routines went out the door with being taken away from home and having all manner of other changes of environment.
The mokos, Amo & Whai, came to us on Sunday so we could get away around 8’ish on Monday, but I had a bit of work stuff to do first, so that delayed our departure, but we eventually got away to meet with Lou and her three mokos in Bulls …with a stop for tissues in Mana, cos the grumpy nanny had issues with the noises emanating from the back seat!
On-on from there and lunch stop for the kids in Turangi, which included a short walk for the geriatric, then eventual arrival in Rotorua at around 4’ish and settle into the digs. I suppose that I should mention here that we were booked into chalets by Kuirau Park, but on Saturday, Ann received a call to say that the park was taking in a heap of homeless people compliments of Winz. At that point we were a bit perplexed because why did they tell us that? Was it because they were informing us that we (with our five 5-9 year olds) were about to share the facilities with a bunch of meth-heads, or was it because they wanted us to move on so they could fill our discounted rate accommodation with premium paying Winz clients? Either way, bugger them!! We found a very nice home in Lynmorevia book-a-batch.
So we settled in, I went for a 30 minute walk and later on, we took the kids back to the Waikite Valley Thermal Park and that was nice and relaxing before getting some supplies and getting some kip.
Tuesday was down to the info centre, booked sessions on the Duck and at Skyline, embarking on the Amphibious Duck tour to the Blue Lake and Lake Okareka, then had lunch and a walk. My walk was accompanied by 4 scooterists, who depending on whether we were going up or down hills, they might be following or leading, but as we got back to the lakefront, there was a mention of last one and rotten eggs. At that point I mentioned that we weren’t finishing at the car, but once we had passed that, then circled the round-about, I looked over and checked that my mate was ‘still-on’ then we lit out, me lumbering and him scootering, somewhat casually I might add. I had one eye on the finish and one on him and I detected a change-up ….damn ….and be buggered, I had to step it up a notch, then the little bastard had a huge grin on his face and kicked another gear, so fat bastard had to flip to 4th to match his pace. All I can say is, that the rest of the 50’ish metres was a blur, but it was the accepted opinion that me, the fat guy with the tin hip wasn’t the rotten egg! Once we were back at the house, we had mates around for a session that evening (I was allowed one red wine).
Wednesday I went for another 30 minute walk, then we made our way to the Skyline centre ….and some fun. Unfortunately it was a little damp so the Advance track was closed, but we (4 small and 1 big kids) had three trips to take, then big kid was informed that he had to take 5th smallest kid for one ride. So, first ride was down the scenic route and big kid left last. I suppose I should mention that approaching the launch point there was a big sign that listed all sorts of conditions, suggesting that those afflicted shouldn’t participate ….I tried not to look too closely at that, did notice it mentioned heart issues but luckily I didn’t see anything about brain-fades. So, we were off, with the fat bastard (who I would have thought might have had an advantage on a gravity powered event) bringing up the rear (having given his victims a good 15-20 second start. (I should also note that I have never participated in luging prior to this, so I was a veritable novice, ….albeit a novice with a lifetime of accumulated dirty-tricks and animal cunning, so within a couple corners I had the feel of my craft and was gathering pace.)
By ¾ the way down I had picked off the 4 victims and multiple other unknown losers (who obviously didn’t know it was a race) but the last man, or I suppose that should be the first man, and last of the four, was a real joy! Ethious (the rotten egg man) has a somewhat competitive nature and on this occasion, I caught him with a bit of speed on as he was drifting from centre to right of track as I swooped through with no room to spare. That elicited a rather loud Hoyy! Followed by what would probably be described as a string of expletives and the reading of my pedigree (although a very tame 8 year old version) and one could almost hear the grinding of gears as he was demanding more pace from his ride ….and his vocal tirade continued the rest of the way down. Needless to say, there were no fist pumps but I’m sure I carried a mild smirk all the way to the top of the chairlift for the next run ….and I could hear Ethious all the way to the top!
Run two and we lined up but I took the slipway to the intermediate run, enjoyed a spirited run down and chatted to one of the young ladies working on the ride, for what seemed like several minutes until my mates arrived. We rode back to the top then I asked Ethious, “didn’t you see me when I passed you this time?” He stopped in his tracks as his brain computed that I left last and was waiting at the bottom, then I followed with, “that’s because I was going sooo faaast!” ….and the best part was that he seemed to accept that as the only possible explanation!! Yess! I’ve still got it! (even if I am down to competing with 8 yr olds!)
Run 3 and I had to take the munchkin, we were delayed as the good lady ensured my mate was tucked in properly and I was still able to enjoy a spirited ride but when I caught Whai, he had obviously been expecting us and when his head-checks revealed we were closing, he stepped up a couple of cogs and there was no way he was letting us pass! At this point I noticed that he was gaining momentum out of the sharper corners quicker than me and my mate, so my weight advantage theory obviously didn't hold water. Anyway I relaxed, content that my job had been done!
After that, I went off to visit an old Air Force mate, then watched a couple of movies.
Thursday was pissing with rain, so the morning walk, which was scheduled as a group event through the redwoods was called off. That then became a trip to chipmunks followed by the programmed jaunt to the Poly Spa and Friday was back to the Capital.
As far as being a head-case goes, I was called by an Occupational Therapist during the week and had a chat, but she didn’t have much to offer so I suppose I’m sort of on the right track. I also received another appointment letter, so I now have the ECG on 24/07/20, the follow-up with the Neuro-team on the 27th and the 24hr Heart Monitor goes on on the 28th. It was a crap week as far as exercise and diet goes as all the walks were on the short side, maxing at about 30 minutes, with no weights at all. I managed to limit the intake volumes, but a few carbs and sweets found their way into the temple, so it’s great to back where it’s easier to control the input, but it was great to get away and spend some time with the young ones.
*Sigh* …..A Friday night post spin bike ride was 92.4Kg ..... I guess that means no cava for Johnie!! ....But, to my relief, weighed in at 91.8 for the morning sample, so my bad week wasn't too bad. I was able to go to the gym though, so I made the most of it with 30 mins on the bike followed by a casual 30 mins on the cross trainer, then weights. I must say that I function much better when I can monitor the work out with readings on pulse rate, intensity level, cadence, speed, distance and Calorie burn ....but then, not knowing one's pulse rate can also prove to be more comforting.
Going through this stuff has resulted in frequent thoughts of the olds….
We referred to my mum (who died a couple of years ago) as ‘the Holy Roller’ because she was always praying for someone. I should mention though, that on occasions, she would be praying for an outcome and the total opposite would happen, which to be fair, and as it would turn out, the opposite appeared to actually be the optimal outcome!!?? Yes well, me being an attitudinous arsehole of the highest order, when she offered to pray for me, I would generally comment to the effect of “no thanks, I want this to happen!” Fortunately she never listened and now I get the feeling she is working overtime.
As for the old fella (who died 13 yrs ago), he managed to experience a few ailments in his time starting in the mid-70’s when he was paralysed from the neck-down for 8 weeks after a swimming accident in rough surf at Tairua. After he came right (he was about 50 at the time and never regained full strength and agility) he explained that he could feel the brush of a feather on his leg, but not the prick of a pin (hence my recollection when I got the pin test). He also said he could feel the water, hopping into a bath, but not whether it was hot or cold. In later years he had heart stuff, prostate stuff, the odd bit of gout and died of a massive stoke …and I guess I thought it would have been really nice and enlightening to have another chat ….or perhaps read his blog if he’d had one …and hence my decision to document this wee episode.
This week has been pretty average with no particular highlights or lowlights. Saturday I was able to hop on the pushbike and ride to J’ville and back. The purpose of that was to check out pumps at the bike shop there, both one for the pushbike because the current one I have doesn’t take the car type Schroder valves, plus a standup type hand-pump that I can use on the motorbike as well, for topping up the pressures at home prior to riding. This time I was getting the hang of it, was more stable and I was more adept with the gear changes and gear selection.
Sunday we has a casual 3-4Km walk along Oriental Parade, then more solo higher rate walks on Monday to Wednesday, with the Tuesday walk being about 5Km in 50 minutes, but Thursday & Friday were pissing down so I had to settle for 20 & 25 minutes on the spin bike with some minor weights. As mentioned previously, I don’t like to attack these things with religious fervour, but the push-up count is now up to 16.
Food & Weight wise….
I’ve stuck to the plan with little sugar, minimal carbs, plenty of fruit and veg, minimal chicken and some fish ….until Friday night and an old Air Force mate was in town, so we dined at Whitbys in the James Cook …..I was good though!! ….Honest!! ……well compared to last time anyway. Now look, I can categorically state that I did not fill that bowl with ice cream! I settled for a small serving of pumpkin soup (that tasted like it had pumpkin in it), a moderate plate of steamed and baked veges. A piece of baked fish, a small piece of baked chicken, a little delicious lean beef ….and a really fatty piece of pork belly!! OK, I did finish with a small desert of fresh fruit …and the tiniest piece of cheese cake ….OK, and three scoops of ice cream ….but one of them was sorbet so that doesn’t count! …..and there were at least eight flavours on offer and I only had two ….and one was sorbet!!! ….I tried to be good ….and it was a special occasion because I havn’t seen the Hamster for 20 years!! Sheesh….get over it!!
I had a follow-up call from the hospital this week, received my booking in July for an ECG and yet to be advised when I get the 24hr heart monitor. …so not much happening there.
Work wise I’ve been doing around 6hr days and topped-up with a day’s leave. That’s been quite good as the brain seems to have had enough by then and next week I have the whole week off to take some of our surrogate moko’s to Rotorua. That should be relaxing….???!!
The weight hit 91Kg last week, but bounced back to 91.7 and has been a real dog to get back down. It has been trending down all week but only in very small increments to 91.1Kg on Friday morning. This has led me to the conclusion that I need more exercise and particularly more weights. The problem is not driving, so if I pushbike to the gym, by the time I get there I have to ride home, so a workout is pointless (or rather would be overdoing it)…so I have a conundrum. Also the weather hasn’t been very friendly and I’ve been told not to get the heart rate too high, so I need to exercise for longer time at a lower rate. So that’s all a work in progress ….but!! ….this morning I had real WTF moment …..
Usual routine, get up, purge the system, weigh myself (expecting 92 or maybe 92+) …..and I was 90.6Kg. FFS, it must have been the pork belly, or perhaps the steamed broccoli?? Go figure!! So I upped the session on the spin bike to 30 minutes. Now that’s not optimal because one can’t adjust the pressure on this thing so it’s a bit like pushing a really high gear on the flat and even though we replaced the display, it doesn’t work so I can’t monitor the heart rate and I’m pretty sure it would have getting into the 120-135 bpm area. Ok, so I cool down, go upstairs and strip off for a shower, then weigh myself again ….oh, and I removed the hair-tie so I could wash my hair ….and so it wouldn’t corrupt the reading and halleluah ….I was 89.9Kg
Maybe it’s because I forgot to take my statin pill last night??
Week two started (even though week one wasn’t a full week, but my undiagnosed OCD tendencies require me to operate on a Monday to Sunday format) …anyway, week two started and I was quite concerned because, already, my weight was indicating that I had started dipping into my reserves of stored energy …and who knows when you might need those? On the other hand, I was also quite elated because my weight showed that I had started dipping into my reserves of stored energy because I had slipped under 92Kg for the first time in many months and all it had taken to achieve that was:
The Monday morning walk was 50 minute doozey, taking a circuitous route to Khandallah Village then back over the mountain that is Satara Rd again, which actually took me from a pleasant glow to the point of producing the slightest dribble from my temples and when I got home I did a few press-ups. I suppose I should mention here that during lockdown, I witnessed some wallys doing press-ups on fb and I thought, “Shit, when was the last time I did one of those? Bugger me you fat bastard, you probably can’t even do one!?” ….so I tried. Yep, yep, yep, yep yep ….naahh, Do you realise how hard it is do a press-up when one is too busy laughing at oneself, but anyway, I could do one…..and shit it was an effort, so I decided that I better start doing some press-ups and increase the count by one each time. Now I try NOT to attack these things with religious fervour, so today I was up to 10.
That was followed by a visit from my business partners and now I have to give James a hug when I see him because he brought flowers! He reckoned they were for Ann for putting up with me, ….but he brought me flowers!
Tuesday and it was off to the hospital to see the neuro people. We arrived just after 0730, parked up and went in to wait as the appointment wasn’t until 0830. We got seen by one of the experts, plus agreed for a final year student to sit-in and that was the start of the next stage in the saga….
It turns out that this was my third stroke and this one had happened within the two weeks up to that time, but the others most likely sometime in the past one to two years!!
Tests started with lights off and checking pupil dilation and the back of my eyes, then the stethoscope came out to check how the ticker and flow was sounding, next some tapping to test reflexes, followed by resistance checks to prevent-movement and cause-movement in limbs, hands, feet, fingers and toes. That was followed by eye peripheral vision and eye-tracking, then off the bed to test balance & co-ordination by walking toe to heel, then on toes, then on heels. I was caught off guard a little on this one and Ann picked-up that I had to focus to keep my balance, so I suppose they did too. Finally the pin came out to check the nerve sensitivity.
Next came an ECG, then bloods, then ultra-sound of the carotids and finally another chat with the doc …sounds like all was good and I could hear the flow rate on the ultrasound, identifying that the pulse rate at rest is still pretty slow. The chat included a prescription of Statins to reduce the cholesterol, the fact that I’d be wired up with a monitor in a few weeks so they could get more data for a better idea of what was happening and that was hard case because afterwards I mention to Ann, “You know what ran through my mind when she mentioned about wiring me up with the monitor,?” … “No, what?” …. “That I should get on the bike and go for a 1000 miler and see what that does!!” …..Hehe, the response to that was something along the lines of “Friggin idiot!” ….OK, OK, she actually said, “That won’t be happening!!” (gosh some people are narrow minded.)
We left with a better understanding at about 1245, but also, not really any better off, because it would seem that we are all individuals and different. Therefore there’s no set criteria or guidelines as to what is needed get through this. I mentioned that I’ll take antibiotics etc, but generally I’m loathe to even take a painkiller, so what’s the target weight and position for taking the statins. That led to discussing BMI and a target of 25 ….which equates to about 81Kg!!! OK, not to far off my 85Kg target but the fat headed, fat bastard is now on statins for the next month!!
Great start to Wednesday at 91.0Kg on the scales, had some muesli, went to the salon with Ann and had a 30 minute stroll around the waterfront and town, then we went to Porirua to look at desks, chairs and monitors to set the office up properly at home, had another 20 minute stroll and came home to do a bit of work. (Ann was just doing the one client as a favour for the day).
Rest of the week was pretty uneventful because I was basically on sick-leave, but doing little bits from home. On Thursday though, I needed to get the pushbike sorted and tested. Yes well!! The fat bastard put a backpack on, wheeled the bike out, gingerly and wobbily hopped on it ….then got about 15mtrs and remembered he should have a helmet on (to be expected though I suppose ….the poor bastard has had a stroke!!) I turned around and decided the tyres needed more air as well.
What a bloody saga that was! Started pumping with a dodgy stand-up type hand-pump but that seemed to be letting air out faster than in. *Sigh* ….I knew I had an old bike pump somewhere but couldn’t find it so in the end, used the compressor off the bike. Put the lid on, hopped on the bike ….and forgot to take the backpack!!!
First stop the bike shop down the road to check out pumps….they were closed! Next stop Mitre 10 to check out what they had ….nothing but the cheap-shit crap that fails after a few uses (I know because I’ve destroyed several) ……next stop ….I might as well go to the office to sort some printing and get the feel of the bike!
It’s a pretty flat ride from Ngaio to Khandallah …..in the car! The bloody pushbike was a different story. It felt unstable (I don’t know why because my recollection is that I’m a competent rider) and the gears didn’t know which was was up….or down. No worries though, I don’t think I got out of 2nd, got to the office and collapsed in a heap!! Shit it’s funny being a fat old bastard!
I spent a couple of hours there then took a circuitous, but relatively flat and generally slightly downhill route home. That was good because I got the hang of those gear changing thingys, which is a bit of a waste of time because a day later and I’ve forgotten which way is up again, but the bike will let me know next time I get on it!
Ann’s working over the weekend so I guess that’ll be more quiet time at home with some exercise thrown in. Will he be a Johnnie Walker? ….or will he be a Rider on the Storm?
I got a bit of unwelcome news yesterday!
Last week (Friday) I got to work and had difficulty distinguishing the numbers in my spreadsheet and I guess the only way I can describe it would be to say it was a bit like having a migraine.
Now I’ve never known the pain of a migraine, but I experienced my first ‘No-Pain Migraine’ in my mid-teens when I was on the rugby field ….playing at the time I might add! It was the most weird experience as, all of a sudden it was looking down a tube where I couldn’t really focus properly on the centre of my visual field and all around that was these swirling strips of light. Every now an then I get these things, they last 5 or 10 minutes and that’s it ….but in this case I didn’t have the swirly bits and it didn’t go away.
I went back into work on Saturday to paint one of rooms as we were converting it to be the new boardroom, but before I started, I logged in and dropped the banking, only to find I was still having the problems with my vision and that prompted one of those WTF responses.
Also, I guess you could say I had a gay old time trying to cut-in on the painting around the covings, skirtings and windows!!
Come Tuesday, things felt a little better with the vision but I had made up my mind to contact the optician to get it checked, she had a slot available at 1030, so I took that, tested OK except for a minor black spot ….and she referred me to the Eye Clinic at the Hospital, where they had a slot available at 1500. Bloody marvelous, I said I’d take it.
I ended up spending 1430 to 1930 at the hospital doing some of the same tests and some different ones, then saw one of the ophthalmologists, she said vision was OK, rang her boss, then rang the neuro team and said I was good to go. I must say though that at the time, I was thinking, “what the hell are you ringing the neuro team for because I already know I’m a psycho!!”
I went back to work and on Thursday morning I got a call from the nice Asian Doctor (but I can’t even remember her name), and she advised that the Neuro Team would like me to have an MRI and there was a slot free at 1500, so I took that, called Ann and she came with me. …Friggin’ noisy things those MRI machines, but I’m pretty sure I managed a couple of wee naps during the half hour I was in the thing!
Anyway, the week went in a flash and on Friday at about 1700 (yes I was still at work), Asian Doctor Lady rings again, she asked if I was OK to talk and dropped a clanger! “You’ve had a bit of a stroke!” she said!
Bugger Me! I sat there and a few moments later it hit me! My Great-Aunt Dolly was a stroke victim who was cared for by my Grandmother and I only remember her as requiring a stick and had difficulty talking. …and my dad died of a massive stroke at 83 in 2007!! That resulted in a couple of quiet tears, I packed up and gapped it to pick-up Ann.
As I drove from Khandallah into town to get Ann I went through a flood of thoughts and emotions….Poor Me, an effing stroke! ….Lucky Me, a minor effing stroke and I’m OK …serves you right you fat bastard! ….an effing stroke!! …poor me, tears ….lucky me ….more tears and by the time I got to Capital Gateway I was somewhere between numb and a mess. (PS. I think the tears were because I knew I wouldn’t be allowed to ride!!!) (Also, I should mention that I’ve been driving all week with no problems because I was blissfully unaware there was one!!)
Ann hopped in, I blurted it out, we swapped seats, went home, had a feed, I checked out a couple of things online, settled down, had a good night’s sleep and now, like always, I thank my lucky stars, my guardian angels (because I know there has always needed to be a team of them), my ancestors (although they’re the bastards that passed on the dodgy genes) for looking after me and letting me off with a wake-up call.
Blood pressure is good but I need to lose at least 7Kgs …ok, maybe 10 or more but 7 is about a stone and with that, the cholesterol should drop a notch or two and I should be OK?
I suppose I’ll know in a week or a month or a few months ….but in the meantime, feel free to call me Johnnie Walker!! …and depending on what stage of the cycle you catch me ….and how long I’ve been off the bike, I might laugh ….or I might punch you!!
This blog is pretty much just about motorcycling ...but every now and then I might rant or dribble on about other things.