Old Friends

I went out to meet a friend this morning for coffee.

While I last saw my friend just a month ago, the really good thing about starting to move around after COVID again is seeing people who I *haven’t* seen for the last eighteen months. Last time out, I bumped into one person walking his dogs. Today I saw another. Both of them probably fit into that “vulnerable” category, so it was great to see them still alive and kicking.

Then I went on to meet my friend. Funny enough, he has just been over to France, too – he had the wonderful idea of watching the Tour de France climb the idyllic Mont Ventoux, exactly the kind of vacation I used to take. I’ve whined a bit about the hoops I had to jump through to go over, but he actually missed one of his crossings because of them!

Letting Things Slip

inspired by Fandango’s One Word Challenge (FOWC) of 5 August 2021, sustain.

There once was a fellow from Spain,
Whose trousers he couldn’t sustain,
As he walked down the street,
They fell down to his feet,
And resulted in quite a bad sprain.


Prompt image for the Fandango One Word Challenge prompt

Released

I ended my quarantine by… staying at home!

But I had a productive day. I started with some charity calls. Wednesday is my lighter day and, leaving five satisfied clients in my wake…

I stripped my bedding. Stripping bedding is something I can do easily one-handed. I started the washer and switched my attention to the lawn. That’s a devil of a job nowadays. The mower is about 50kg (100 lbs) and while it claims to be self-propelled, that’s useless. I started mowing again after the stroke, to try to be useful again – my first task there was to frig my way past the two-handed startup!

A cut was long overdue, in fact we had allowed the grass to grow slightly too long for the mower to collect the cuttings properly:

Finally, it was lunchtime. Our lovely chickens delivered nicely, and I enjoyed two hard-boiled eggs.

Mowing the lawn is a good barometer on how my stamina is improving. Used to be, I’d need to take several breaks just to mow what you see above. Gradually, I needed fewer breaks until, a couple of years ago I managed it all, without a break. It’s a far cry from my healthy days, but it is progress.

Yesterday I was on a roll, and in mid-afternoon I attempted our other lawn.

couldn’t resist! Don’t they look healthier than the last photos?

And that’s the reason for this post. While I don’t say much any more, the original intention of the blog was to chart my recovery.

Yesterday was the first time I managed to cut both lawns in the same day.

Does that tiny milestone maybe strike you as dumb? Well, that’s how strokes take the wind from your sails. You don’t need to understand strokes per se, but you should probably understand that this is the debris they leave behind. A guy who sees cutting grass as a big deal.

The second cut was not without incident, either.

The mower just conked out partway through. When I investigated, the cable connecting the starter to the spark plug had come undone, so there was no ignition. An easy fix, but it has never happened before in ten years, and it took time to puzzle out.

And, I had a hypo. My insulin regime is one dose in the morning, one in the evening. The morning dose is larger because it is designed to counteract both breakfast and lunch. This means that, if I skip one of these meals, I’m prone to hypos.

My lunch was the problem. The eggs are pure protein, don’t really raise my sugar level like, say, a sandwich does. So, a few hours later, I went low.

A hypo is easily recognisable. Once you’ve been there, you never forget. Extreme hunger, extreme tiredness, extreme light-headedness… With the light-headedness comes a lack of coordination, too.

There are these two competing voices in your head. One is telling you to sleep, the other to eat. You have to listen to the one which says “eat”. But it is so bad that you have food in your mouth, you feel too tired to chew it!

The answer is to eat, to raise your sugar. Carbs work for me, and we always stock some. Wheat, potatoes etc., surprisingly food doesn’t have to be sugary, just carby. Many medical people, even, don’t understand this. So yesterday afternoon I was sitting, stuffing myself with crackers! Once you’ve eaten, you have to stop. You must resist that “ravenous” urge to continue eating. All you can do is to wait for the symptoms to pass.

Incidentally, the medical advice, when you start to feel a hypo, is to test yourself. Because you can sometimes have phantom hypos. But my main priority at that moment is just to eat something. And, as it happened, yesterday’s hypo was real because when I tested myself last night (I test before every dose), I was still only just above danger levels.

I conquered the lawn, but I still had to put my bedding back on! Even though I use a single duvet these days, it is still pretty much unmanageable. But this post has gotten way too long already. Can I just summarise by saying: frustration, tears, swearing (lots!) and an hour I’ll never get back? Can we just leave it at that? At least this time, nothing got broken in the process.

Would it surprise you to learn that I was in bed by 8:30 PM?