Regular Rusters will be familiar with my particular life story whereby, after playing a lot of sport (to a very average standard I should add) in my youth, I took up playing rugby again just for the joy of it in my thirties … later ruptured an Achilles tendon in my official “retirement match” … then broke two ribs five years later at the age of 42 foolishly playing as a hooker in the scrum (when all my previous rugby career I had played as a threequarter) in an inaugural game for my old school’s newly-launched Old Boys’ XV … ran in a total of four London Marathons in my mid-to-late forties … had a hip replacement aged 65 four years ago … and was later told, revisiting the surgeon for a review on how it had gone, that I’d need the other one doing as well at some point(!) … and finally found my calling during the national Covid-19 lockdown when – under the rules in force at the time – I effectively became a full-time athlete (professional if only I could ever find someone to pay me!) in March 2020.
I soon discovered that being in permanent physical training is not without its travails.
In September 2019 – on one of my regular walks idly deciding by chance to try some jogging on a newly-prepared rugby pitch in south west London – I ‘yanked’ my errant right leg’s Achilles tendon again and spent about eight months suffering from what was eventually diagnosed by my local hospitals’ ultrasound team and doctors as a case of chronic inflammation.
During this period I had several bouts of laser treatment, massage, ultrasound and enforced rest – none of which in themselves seemed to sort the problem – and eventually emerged in June/July with an outcome whereby I no longer suffered acute pain but now ‘manage’ a situation in which my Achilles occasionally gets tired and/or protests if I attempt too much exercise.
I can now provide concerned Rust readers with a further brief update.
Through a course of near-daily seven-mile walks and regular bouts of what is called “High Intensity Interval Training” [“HIIT”] whereby older generations – or indeed young ones – can improve their fitness and indeed general health by undertaking short but intensive bouts of physical jerks, I have gained a significant degree of fitness.
By “short”, I mean to say that even a session as brief as just 5 minutes can actually make an appreciable difference, for example, to someone who has spent the bulk of his/her day stuck sitting at a desk in front of a computer screen.
Since March I have apparently permanently lost approximately ten pounds in weight – in fact about a month ago I briefly weighed as little as 11 stone 9 pounds, which previous to that I’d estimate I last weighed when I was about fourteen – and I’m now mostly about 12 stone.
I feel much better in myself for all of this, although some close to me have begun saying that – for an oldie – I am beginning to appear to others as wan and frail, rather than “well-upholstered” as stereotypically those of us over the age of 50 or so are expected to look.
This week I have paid two visits to my local GPs for appointments with a nurse.
The first was on Wednesday (by arrangement initiated by the practice) for my annual flu jab.
I was in – and then out again – all in about seven minutes. The nurse was friendly and welcoming. I suggested she must be very busy at the moment – she replied that in the last ten days the practice had “flu-jabbed” over 650 members of the pubic and counting.
As I put my sweater back on again afterwards and we passed the time of day, she then commented that from my notes I hadn’t had a “health check” for over a year.
I couldn’t confirm that from memory but presumed she was correct.
Would I like one?
Why not, I thought.
I was directed to apply for one at the reception desk on my way out, which I did – being given a time of mid-morning yesterday, which I duly attended.
This “health check” (conducted by a nurse) was blood-test-related.
By nicking a couple of phials’ worth off me, they’d be able to check me for diabetes, my cholesterol reading, my kidney and liver functions, and a whole lot more besides including my prostate score of whatever-unit–it-is.
What would not be to like? It’s always better (in my view) to know the score – the worst, if you like – than avoid finding out for fear of getting bad news.
Anyway, after filching my blood, my nurse of the day then also took my blood pressure.
The Good Lord knows what dark and unpleasant secrets my blood test results – when they come back – will reveal, but thankfully what things I was told yesterday give cause for a degree relief if not optimism.
Apparently my ‘resting heart rate’ score of 62 was perfectly normal, if not better than that, for someone of my vintage.
And the news of my blood pressure (a reading of 118 over 68) was also positive – the nurse told me that it would be classed as a good reading if it had been registered by an average teenager.
Does anyone know when the postponed Tokyo Olympics is supposed to be taking place?