Tuesday, 8 November 2022

August Update

It’s been a while since my last post, and quite a lot has happened in between, so I’m going to break it up into three posts, one for each month.

After coming back from my trip up North to see family, I had a busy week at work, where I finally started to get my head around my new role. Then I went off to Spain with my son for a week and for then he stayed with me for most of the following week as I saw out the second week of annual leave.

I had my annual medical with the practice nurse on 9th August, everything was okay. Obviously my kidney function is still shit, but it’s a stable kind of shit, and my blood pressure was good which means the Bisoprolol Fumarate the Nephrologist added is doing its job (I found out it’s a beta blocker, which I hadn't realised, and was a little surprised by given my previous resting pulse was 50-60 bpm). I was 3kg lighter than last year, although my good cholesterol had gone down a little and my bad cholesterol had gone up a little. As a random bonus she offered me a pneumonia vaccine, as I’m apparently eligible for one, and I figured given the winter of discontent the UK is facing I’d take it!

I explained to the nurse how my weight loss has plateaued, probably due to my diet being too heavy on carbs, and my concern about how much protein I should be eating without overloading my kidney. She made an appointment with the practice dietician for September. I’m not holding out for that much as previous referrals for weight management have gone nowhere;  I’m pretty sure that shifting from carbs to protein will improve my fitness regime and help me lose weight, but I don’t want to wreck my kidneys in the process. 

Like the physio I saw a while back (which went nowhere) the nurse suggested I protect my knees by swimming rather than jogging, but the reality is swimming doesn’t have the same impact (no pun intended). I realised I hadn’t run a single 5k in 2022, the furthest I’ve managed being 3k, so I decided to do the whole couch to 5k programme again to rebuild stamina. The early weeks were pretty straightforward given I’m not starting from scratch, but it did set up the pattern I needed. I also bought a new pair of running trainers from Decathlon, their unpronounceable own brand, to replace my worn out Nike. Decent trainers and strapping being the key to injury prevention.

The week in Spain was relaxing, the hotel in Salou was nice, there was a decent choice of food and the facilities were good, although it is noticeable that things are more expensive than they used to be (partly inflation and partly the shite exchange rate). Being up on the Costa Dourada the ubiquitous local beer was Estrella Damm, but I made an effort to try as many different beers as I could (it’s a hard life sometimes) and actually became pretty enamoured with Lemon Damm, a kind of shandy beer which went down a treat of a baking hot afternoon.

We spent a few days on excursions, one to the local waterpark, one to the nearest city of Tarragona, and one up to Barcelona. The plan was to go to Tarragona on market day, to see if we could find any knock off football kits, as it was, the clothing market was pretty meh! But the indoor food market was stunning, which was just as well, as we had to hide inside for an hour to avoid a massive thunderstorm.

Once the storm cleared we took a walk down Rambla Nova to find the Roman amphitheatre. A little disappointingly we couldn't go inside as I forgot to bring a payment card with me, and the ticket office wouldn't accept cash, fortunately most of the site is visible from the park that surrounds the ruins. As we were heading back into town we came across a parade for a local festival, we couldn't really avoid it due to the sounds of the marching band and a man at the front firing a small cannon every twenty metres! After stopping for lunch I took a quick look at the cathedral, but I didn’t get chance to go around as my son was starting to get ratty from all the walking and wanted to go back to the hotel.

The following day we took a coach trip up to Barcelona; I’ve been a couple of times before, so had already visited the big attractions like Park Guell, Las Ramblas and Sagrada Familia. I had hoped to go to Sagrada Familia again, but there wasn’t time on this excursion. In the afternoon we visited Camp Nou to do a tour of the football stadium. I’d last visited about twenty years earlier, during the off season, that time it was less busy and also a lot less commercialised, but my son really enjoyed the experience. 

The final week of my leave, when we got back to England was pretty chilled. The weather was decent so we did a bit of swimming and played some football in the park. For the final week of his school holidays my son went off to Turkey with my ex and his sister and I headed back to work.

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