I have always tended to rise early. In my teens, this was the time for piano practice. Goodness knows how Rose put up with this, but Cla, also an early riser, was nearly always in his office at Mill Hill Observatory. During the earlier decades of our marriage, I was awake for most things first thing in the morning.
On leaving the Civil Service in the mid-1990s, it was very helpful to be a naturally early riser as an HGV driver. But I had to take much greater care managing my sleep patterns. Even so it was rarely difficult to get myself up at any time after 3am and take out an articulated lorry from Neil Bomford’s yard in Harleston. I combined driving with undertaking consultancy work at various Local Authorities in East Anglia. These councils were never operational before 8am. Rising early provided me the opportunity to develop programmed utilities in MS Excel and to expand a very personal view on the nature of the spreadsheet grid.
As driving and consultancy tailed off, I began an OU degree. Early morning was the natural time to study. Time management was not an issue since the need to work did not claim any priority over early morning study. But being tied to a desk/computer screen rather than being physically active may have had a major impact on my weight gain.
I described the immediate after effects of the stroke in ‘The Lurch’. My opening comment was about how tired I was, but assumed that this would disappear as the feeling returned to my right side. However, the loss of stamina appears to be a permanent factor.
Health issues never appear to present themselves singly. The over-weight factor has made me more prone to type 2 diabetes. I have been invited to join a UEA study designed to encourage patients who may be susceptible to diabetes to take steps that prevent them actually succumbing to it. This involves 6 or so group education sessions covering issues such as fats and healthy eating, getting active, portion control and labels, getting stronger and maintenance of goals achieved. Fortunately, most of the eating issues coincide with the restrictions suggested to prevent a further stroke, but there are a couple of really serious conflicts. These concern limiting salt intake and the impact that this has on dietary balance. On the other hand the approach taken towards weight loss and improving fitness is very positive and helpful.
I gave myself the target of cycling to the Rushall, Half Moon pub and back, about 6 miles. Given my previous history this did not seem too unreasonable. I had already tried out getting on and off the bicycle and tested myself on the BMX track. This was working.
The next task was to prove my ability on the road. Here family invasion intervened. Bryony drove Meredith and the children back from London. Two late nights and considerable sleep disturbance made an impact that took me quite by surprise. My first test cycle which was originally going to take our usual morning walk route had to be curtailed as shown below.
|Curtailed cycle ride|
The main issue seems to be confidence with balance rather than balance itself. I have given myself the interim task of improving confidence by cycling off road and on very quiet roads.
I’m hoping that this initial set back us due, primarily, to being overtired and not giving myself sufficient time to recover.