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Posts Tagged ‘NHS’

life log #10


Between us, although mainly myself, the Berkshire Belle and I have been keeping the NHS busy lately. I have had my annual diabetes check (results not back yet), we have booked in for our Covid boosters and will try to get our ‘flu jabs at the same time. here’s also a new app to install that allows video appointments. On the non-NHS front, but still medical, I am off to the fang-puller to talk about an implant to replace the tooth that got knocked out in a fall about a year ago. I’m also due for hearing and eyesight tests that I need to make appointments for, and I’ve had this morning my letter about my annual diabetic eye test. Seventy years of use, and abuse, have taken their toll.

One result I do have from the diabetes test is my weight on the surgery scales which I assume must be accurate. When I weight myself at home I do it wearing just my underwear, but at the surgery I was on the scales fully dressed, including shoes, and with car keys, ‘phone and wallet in pockets. 121 kg is too much, but probably more like 117 kg and that is about 10 kg more than I would like to be seeing. I am writing this at the end of a two month period in which we have had a variety of birthdays and anniversaries to celebrate and that has involved some good eating. No excuses, but, with Christmas coming up, I need to get a grip.

Finacially we are reasonably comfortable at the moment and have no worries over the energy crisis other than what a series or power cuts might do to our web stocked freezer. However, we are trying to cut back on consumption and have both turned the heating down a degree and cut back on the hours that it runs for. We have taken various devices out of service; the Alexa dots for example, and are carrying on with our usual efforts like only putting as much water as we need in the kettle. Such things are ingrained in people of our generation perhaps.

I once of my former professional careers I used to manage a large property portfolio and dealt with energy bills in the hundreds of thousands of pounds. Finding ways of reducing those costs was always a priority. Reducing consumption was only a vehicle for reducing cost, but such things become habit. Any home we might only be saving pennies rather than thousands, but every little helps and if we are working towards helping to stave off power cuts then that’s fine.

The Wonder of Wokingham and I both remember well the scheduled power cuts of the early 1970s. She was in RAF quarters back then with two young children and I was working as a stock controller. We saw the cuts differently because of those lifestyles, but neither of us want to have to go through all of that again. Today we all have so many more electric devices than back then. In the time of the last cuts not everyone had a TV, now it seems that most homes have one in every room. Then most rooms downstairs had two single power sockets and upstairs rust one. We have seven in the kitchen now and there is something plugged into all bar one of them. It is a different world and we have to face up to our excesses.

I have had another couple of weeks off work and we have tried to get out and about a bit more. That has left little time for the garden and garage, but I have been doing a bit in both. Autumn maintenance in the garden and getting the garage cleared out a bit so that I can get back to using it without risk of being buried under an avalanche. I have started getting some things off to auction so that should see a few extra pennies dropping into my piggy back over the coming months. Other stuff will go to charity and the rest to the council tip. We just have too much stuff.

Collecting is habit forming and I am especially guilty of it, to the point of an addiction at times. Fortunately some of what I have collected has accumulated in value (a lot has not), and it is the former that I am firing off to the auction rooms. None of it was bought as an investment, I bought it because I wanted it, but there comes a time when I realise that you have things that have been shut away in cupboards or the loft and start to think that it is pointless. There is little satisfaction, for me, in k=just owning something and so I have hardened my heart and started to move it on. If it generates some cash then that is doubly welcome.

With the Hastings Hottie and I having both seen milestone birthdays in the last few weeks we have decided to face up to another harsh reality and we are going to having lasting power of attorney documents drawn up in case either of us loses our faculties. We took out funeral plans earlier in the year and, whilst these things are depressing, it is worth sorting out. Having been through the problems of a parent with dementia I understand how hard it is and, should I fall foul of that, I would not want the Berkshire Belle to have to deal with the fallout without the relevant piece of paper to allow her to manage me.

Cheerfull topics are required now, so a few words on how the garden recovered from the heat and drought. We did loose some things and others were badly scorched, but most plants have recovered. As I get through the Autumn tidy up I will have a better idea of where we have issues. My move to more and more containers planted seems to have worked and we are looking around to see if we can find a few old chimney pots to add some variety. Containers can be moved and so I can shift them around as I like.

The garden isn’t getting too much attention at the moment, but another couple of weeks work on the garage should have that sorted out and I can get the garden ready for Winter. It has been an odd year again, but now that we have the fences sorted out I can have a more normal run through next year all being well. No doubt there will be odd weather again, it has become the norm, but I now have nearly 600 litres of water storage to help me over any drought conditions and I have improved the drainage in the garden to cope with the odd monsoon. The new fences give us some shelter from high winds and so we are in a better position too start a new year than ever before.

the lockdown log 15


Here we are again, one week older and, in my case, a couple of kilos lighter. Yes the paid up member of the carnivore and pudding clubs is on a diet.

It is nothing to do with the current plague, just a change to lifestyle brought on by being diagnosed as having slipped into type 2 diabetes. It all started with a prescription review back around the start of lockdown. These reviews are now done by a pharmacist rather than the doctor and, due to lockdown, was going to be over the ‘phone.

When the call came the lady on the other end was quite agitated and wanted me to come in for a blood test, but would not say what for (my last one was in early 2019). I declined on the basis that I did not want to go to the surgery at that stage of the Covid-19 outbreak and asked to defer the test for 3 or 4 months.

The surgery rang me last month and in I went. The results came back and I was asked to come in for a second test and was told that my blood sugar was too high. I had actually passed the threshold in the 2019 test, but no-one had made any contact to tell me and now I had gone up again. I provided the second blood test and have to assume that it confirmed the first one as I have not had a call to discuss what they found.

It was a wake up call. I am annoyed that the surgery knew that I had a problem eighteen months ago because, had they told me, I could have addressed it then, but I can do nothing about that. What I can do is to change my diet and exercise regime and that is what I have been top to for the last 10 days or so. Carb intake has been more than halved, sugar intake likewise and I have started banging in at least a 1k walk every afternoon after lunch (except for Sundays).

When I was weighed at the surgery I was a bit down on what I had expected, but have paired off over 2 kilos since then which is pleasing, but, as we consultants would say, that is the low hanging fruit and an easy win. I have not set any targets here besides the one about power walking for at least the 1 kilometre on 6 days out of seven (I already walk 8-10k per day on average anyway, but that is not exercise, it is to do with work). I have to go back for more tests in 3 months and just aim to be in as better shape as I can manage by then.

In other news I am trying to get back on course with some of the projects around Bowen Towers. The recent bad weather, along with the news from the NHS, has knocked me off course a bit on the outside jobs and I need to get my focus back. I am slightly hampered by a couple of things that I cannot influence too much and my afternoon walks, whilst not that long at the moment, do interrupt my day. What I have done to overcome the weather issues is to switch focus to indoor projects and am making good progress on things like my internet based business activities.

Time seems to be flying past and it is hard to accept that we are on the downward slope in terms of daylight hours already. for me the lockdown has not made time drag in the slightest. I am lucky in having so much that I can occupy myself with. Away from work I can just enjoy not having to interact with anyone other than the Berkshire Belle and am very happy in isolation.

We do have to face up to the fact that we will almost certainly not be going back to America this year. Apart from Covid-19 being rampant over there we would also be due to be around for the presidential elections and have a feeling that things might get a little nasty. It already looks as though this will be a year without flying anywhere, only the second time since I first flew back in 1986, but there seems no point in taking any such risk at the moment and we will start to look at what we might be able to do in 2021.

That’s all for this week. Stay safe out there.

the lockdown log 12


Life has really not changed too much for the Berkshire Belle and I. We have refined our choice of intent supplier here and there, but the only real change so far is that the double B has not been out.

By that I mean that she has stayed in the house apart from two occasions when she has walked down the front path to bring in out dustbin and recycling crates. This she will do if the weather is good and it is important for us to get these things in quickly after they are emptied because the team doing the emptying often replace them at the wrong house. Other than those two outings she has not been outside of the house.

I am still working on the front line five days out of seven, but other than that my trips have been confined to food shopping plus one trip to a garden centre and I felt guilty about that. Last week I drove over to Cirencester and back, about a forty mile trip, on a business matter regarding something that I am currently involved in restarting on June 15th. That felt really weird, but made more so by the number of tourists I saw up there; where have they come from? Well in the case of a group of around half a dozen from Italy. I did not stop to make further enquiries.

So far here in Swindon we are not doing too badly on the Covid-19 front compared to some other areas and, whilst we are part of the South West where numbers of infections are rising, here we don not seem to be getting too many. I wonder if the mass exoduses to the beach and other beauty spots over the bank holiday weekends have contributed to the rise in cases.

Today it is raining and looks to be wet all day so my plans for a few hours in the garden have been shelved. I have to go out at lunchtime to the doctor’s for a routine blood test. I would rather avoid the place, but have already pout this appointment off once and they are nagging. To me this is an example of today’s society at its worst because the appointment is largely a waste of their time and mine.

The problem started when the health practice that I am registered at decided that periodic reviews of regular medication would be carried out by a pharmacist to save the doctor’s time. My review came up and the pharmacist rang me for a chat. She called top my records and latched on to the fact that I have had, from time to time, high blood pressure. I explained that my doctor had elected to stop the periodic blood pressure tests on the basis that he was happy enough with me to have stopped the blood pressure medication, but this was not good enough: I would have to come in and had a BP test plus a blood test for a variety of routine function checks.

And so I am going today and am fairly certain that what the pharmacist gets back will mean that she will compare the results to whatever chart it is that they have and she will want me to come in and see a doctor. There will be no peace until I do and so I will make an appointment and go in for a chat at which we will agree that I am an overweight 67 year old white male who is vulnerable too certain risks. The same 67 year old etc etc who has walked an average of 5.8 miles a day over the last 12 months (according to my tracker), works 4 hours a day 5 days a week at a physical job, does not smoke and drinks little. Whatever else we achieve from that appointment I doubt that it will be a productive use of the doctor’s time, but they have to go through the motions because of a duty of care and all that bureaucracy that is in place these days. This is one of the areas of waste that I would love to see swept away.

Please do not think that I am knocking the NHS; I am not. The health care practitioners are wonderful and have saved my life eight years ago. They have also saved the life of my son who is 38 today. It is the ludicrous bureaucracy that costs too much that is drowning the NHS, but that is a feature of the world that we have created now whereby nothing is our fault and there must always be someone else to blame (and sue).

Anyway, rant over. It is a wet day, I will not have to water my plants and my water butts will be replenished. There is alway some good in everything, no matter how bad it might seem.

Stay safe and have fun.

supporting the front line doesn’t mean holding it up


I have been very lucky over the years in that I have been able to be part of some massive changes in the businesses for whom I have worked, from small parts in the early years through to influence and then responsibility. These days my role is usually one of influence because that is what mentors and consultants do (I can’t recall who said it, but I love the line about a consultant being like a castrated bull; he can only advise), but I do love the opportunity to get back into the trenches and do something. Read more…