Monday, 22 August 2016

Health check

This morning I visited my GP surgery for the periodic hypertension medication review which they do to keep an eye on my general health. The nurse weighs me takes a blood sample (usually with difficulty) and my blood pressure, which is always higher than when I take it at home. It may be my home machine is not as sensitive as the surgery's state of the art kit. The blood tests monitors for sugar, cholesterol and liver function. I learned recently that the latter is checked to see if prescribed medication is having side effects from long term use, over eight years in my case. So far so good.

Sugar is usually low as I consume little sweet stuff by choice of habit. This, plus changes in diet have led to weight loss, although exactly how much is hard to say, as I'm weighed with variable amounts of clothes on at each visit, and if I didn't insist on taking them off, shoes also. I check without clothes at home, to satisfy myself of progress. Now it seems I'm only 'slightly overweight'. I've noticed recently my blood pressure has been higher than usual, so this showed up as worryingly high in the surgery and that means a visit to the doctor before I go away. It's become an annual ritual, and has resulted in no change of medication so far. By the time I see him, it is unlikely to be quite as high. In fact, it dropped during the day, almost back to normal. 

Recently I've had a little 'grumbling' from small kidney stones, detected several years ago. They move a little, and for a while I am left feeling thick headed, as toxins don't filter out of the blood quite as efficiently, and my blood pressure goes up. Once the 'grumbling' stops, the blood pressure returns to normal and thick headedness goes away.  I've had no kidney discomfort all day, and my blood pressure is nearly what it should be, according to UK medical opinon. Not quite so bad if you're under a GP on the Continent, where slightly higher seems to be the accepted norm. Anyway, the more water I drink and regular exercise I get, things return to normal fairly quickly. I'm fitter now than for a long time, due to the amount of walking I do in Spain. I walk somewhat less here than I do there. A bad habit I need to break, a bad habit dependent on the weather, sad to say. I am most fortunate to be as fit and well as I mostly am, and as well as being grateful, I need to be sure to make the effort, at all times and seasons.

End of the afternoon, I went over to the University Optometry school and collected my first pair of prescription reading glasses for use with a computer. While I was n Spain I began to notice that in high contrast light situations my eyes were reacting unusually. I was seeing everything in what I can only describe as dappled light, as one ordinarily might experience looking at a river in sunlight. It was quite disconcerting at first, but I found that wearing my driving glasses helped. I discussed this with one of the team who said that it might be a consequence of too much computer screen time. They emit an extra amount of light at the blue end of the spectrum which strains they eyes. But, why recently and not years ago when I spent much more time working on computers? Then it occurred to me that in the past year, the three devices I most use all have brighter high resolution screens. Just working with the new specs for this evening had shown the difference they make.  

Work on the chimney stack removal slowed down during the second week, as only a few small jobs remained, like repairing the rendering immediately below the end ridge tile, where the stack had protruded, and sealing places where redundant flue outlets had been removed. The end ridge tile is a different colour and slightly smaller. It's made to metric rather than imperial measure standards, and the older matching ones are getting harder to find. It makes little difference, but it's part of the nearly 120 year old story of the house now.

Vibration from demolition work has opened new cracks in the rendering on our side, and caused some parting of rendered surface from brickwork. The wall surfaces are old,cracks may have been patched in its lifetime, perhaps as long as our lifetimes. The grey cement surface has never been painted. We've decided to see how well it withstands damp ingress over the winter, and then consider full repair and painting in white next spring. That'll help reflect more light into Clare's lovely green space.

This week the original cast iron guttering on our side will be replaced, depending on weather and workers. We've been told the end of August is a high demand time for days off in the building trade. 

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