While I was out and about this morning, a message came through from sister-in-law Ann to say that Clare's brother Eddie had collapsed at home and taken emergency unit in Ipswich hospital. It wasn't clear from the symptoms whether he'd suffered a serious stroke or an epileptic seizure. Once they had him stabilised and gave him an MRI scan, the reality was different, more serious. An aortic aneurism, striking without warning. Stranger, still, as this was what killed his father in his eighties, he'd had a scan earlier in the year to ascertain whether or not he was vulnerable, and no risk detected.
Later in the day, pondering on this turn of events, I went for my annual 'flu jab at the GP surgery, and was also given an inoculation against shingles which I wasn't expecting. My mother suffered from high blood pressure, given diet and lifestyle factors that's not surprising, and she suffered a stroke on her first ever holiday abroad in the Black Forest. I've traveled more than they could have dreamed of, and have had a fairly stressful mobile lifestyle on times, but a different kind of diet has kept the worst problems at bay so far. With medication, my tendency to hypertension is more or less under control, though diastolic readings continue to vary wildly. A dear ex-colleague, John Duncan would put this down to what he called 'mercurial celtic temperament'. There are always stressful situations in life to respond to. The question is how resilient is it possible to remain as one gets older. I owe a great deal to what I've learned about coping well from regular Chi Gung and Tai Chi practice. I was thankful I had a class to go to this evening.