The other half live pretty well by all accounts.
If the Bupa clinic I was sitting in was anything to go by then life in the healthcare private sector was both financially rewarding and relaxed.
Faced with a choice of several exceptionally swanky looking seats when I arrived in reception I chose one of two striped sofas in the corner with a head height back and arms.
I sat myself down gingerly (things tend to unexpectedly break with me if i’m not careful) but I needn’t have worried.
This felt gooooood. It was sturdy and comfortable! I liked this sofa. I could snuggle up in it and the world couldn’t see me. It was great!
I looked at the selection of magazines on the coffee table.
This appeared to be unfamiliar territory. I had never heard of either of these publications.
I needed to be careful not to betray myself. They mustn’t find out that I was a commoner. I mustn’t seem overly impressed.
Play it cool Dave.
‘I like your sofa!’ I shouted to the receptionist, who was out of sight on the front desk.
‘It’s got really high arms!’ I said, checking around me in case anyone could see me before I bounced up and down on it. ‘And its springy too!!’
‘Thank you.’ The receptionist replied, shuffling my paperwork before calling me over to sign it.
I’d booked myself in for a health MOT to see whether my efforts with Slimming World were making any difference, particularly to my diabetes.
Two years ago I’d refused to do this when asked to because I couldn’t face up to the truth. Now I was trying to think differently.
‘Your nurse – Emma – will be with you in a minute.’ The receptionist told me.
I returned to my place of rest, moved the coffee table to the right, extended and crossed my legs, sank into the sofa, folded my arms and looked at my surroundings. I was early for my appointment and I might as well relax and take in the luxury.
Beside me were rows of shiny light green doors, all a perfect uniform colour – each with their own room number etched onto a brushed aluminium plate. If Ikea made hospitals – this is the kind of hospital it would make.
Later than expected Emma arrived to find me half asleep and cordially greeted me with a handshake before leading me upstairs. On the way the young nurse discussed what my health check (paid for by my soon to be no more company health plan) would entail and started asking the first of many important and searching questions.
‘Do you want a wee?’ She asked.
‘Ummmm…’ I answered.
‘If you can do me one I can test it.’ she said – handing me an impossibly small sample container with a smile.
‘It needs to be mid-stream.’
‘I think I might struggle at the moment.’ I admitted – immediately knowing I’d be unable to produce anything of value working to a deadline.
‘No problem. Would you like water?’ She said – already pouring me a large glass from the tap.
She turned and handed it to me.
I played it cool again.
‘Your glasses are green – just like the doors!’ I said.
‘Yes.’ she replied and led me a the room, ushered me in and motioned to a comfortable fabric seat.
‘AND the chairs are green as well!’ I enthused.
‘Yes. They all match.’ She agreed.
‘AND the walls!’ I said, pointing at the wall.
‘You’d be really screwed if I had a phobia of green things!’
‘Yes. We would.’ She smiled.
I think I pulled it off. Casual and worldly. Nailed it.
The exam began. We started with an ECG.
‘We’ve had problems with this today.’ she confided. ‘Its hot and the pads aren’t sticking. People are all sweaty.’
Sure enough, nothing stuck. Little sticky pad after little sticky pad fell to the floor or flopped onto the gurney. Sweaty is clearly my super power.
I suggested surgical tape – but she looked crestfallen and said that she had none and that more drastic measures were needed. She leaned over me and produced a small plastic safety razor from the drawer.
‘Is it ok if I shave you?’ She asked.
‘Ummmm… OK…’ I replied.
I learned later when she took blood and sellotaped cotton wool to my arm that this was a convenient fabrication and there was tape. I now realise that this was instead an excuse to shave a trench between my moobs (much to her amusement) and give me an incredibly itchy (and messy) landing strip…
(please forgive the borderline pornographic and arousing nature of this intimate photography)
After this ritual humiliation my blood pressure was investigated with not one but two cuffs – and then followed by blood tests.
Emma hinted at my sample jar but I shrugged. Wee was still a distant dream. We ploughed on regardless.
Soon she went to collect my results. I was hopeful for a win from the efforts over the last two months with Slimming World – and keen to see the current state of affairs. Pleasingly my blood sugars appear to be more under control than they were in January when I was drinking like a fish and eating like a pig.
My Hba1c test shows 51 mmol/mol, which is a lot better than the last time it was tested. An HbA1c level of 48 mmol/mol or above indicates type 2 diabetes, so I’m now just above the minimum amount classified as diabetic. When I was first diagnosed and my levels were at their peak I was pissing like a racehorse every 30 mins and it was 96 mmol/mol.
My blood pressure is also good – resting at 112/72 mmHg meaning I’m firmly in the green. On occasion in the past this has crept up – and since I got told I was being made redundant yesterday I’m pretty pleased that I’m this chilled 🙂
Cholesterol however is not so great. I’d decided a few weeks ago (after reading about Statins and their relationship with diabetes) to stop taking the Simvastatin prescribed by my GP and see if my healthy eating would have the positive impact that I was hoping for.
Sadly it’s crept up without the pills and is now 6.57 mmol/L whereas I’d previously had it down to 4.1. Looks like I’m taking the pills again 😦
Oddly I’m also deficient in HDL cholesterol which is irritating because I’m eating oily fish like it’s about to disappear from the planet. Many Mackerel have fallen on my dietary sword lately, and it looks like many more more will have to in the future, along with increased volumes of nuts and seeds.
Tests have proven I also have excellent hearing – which will irritate my brother no end as I’m sure he thinks I’m deaf. I can now prove in arguments beyond any doubt that actually he talks really quietly!
Yay for science!
So – my efforts with Slimming World and elsewhere appear to be having benefits. I’m in a good mood about my Hba1c of 51 mmol/mol– and glad I had the tests. It’s good motivation to keep up with the exercise and the diet and keep moving onwards even if I hit a low week (so far this one has been tough on so many levels.)
Well internet – if you’ve managed to retain your lunch after looking at my moobs then I wish you all the best. You’re of hardy stock. Man cleavage will soon be a thing of the past however, so enjoy it while it lasts!
I will continue to waddle onward and upward (or maybe on the same level – verticality is very tiring).