BP and Magnum

The end of another week and half way through the weekend. Four weeks til Christmas and lots to do.

Saw the cardiologist again on Monday evening and he gave me both an electrocardiograph and an echocardiograph. Obviously, he too could see the odd “Q” spike in my trace.

His examination of my eyes on the Friday had demonstrated that I have had high blood pressure for some time (years…) as shown by a couple of veins on the retina which cross. If you have high blood pressure, one of them squashes the other and constricts it. The echo proved that this is indeed the case. Watching the heart beat, seeing the blood flow in and out and the valves flapping around is an amazing thing to see.

The part of the heart that divides the two main chambers is the septum and if you have had high BP for a long time this tends to thicken. Mine has thickened and this means that the heart isn’t working quite as it should. The answer, of course, is to reduce the BP and this damage can be reversed. So that sounds like a plan. I asked what would happen if I didn’t reduce my blood pressure and he said that I eventually would suffer a massive heart attack – but that the stroke would probably get me first. This is a consultant I can do business with.

In order to assess how bad my BP is, he gave me the 24 hour monitor, which is an interesting experience, especially at night, or in meetings. I’m sure this one was faulty, as on one cycle, my hand went red and my fingernails blue – I was “that” close to taking it off, before the pressure dropped.

On Friday, I went to get the results, which were as bad as I thought they would be. This means that the plan is to get down to less than 80 kg and cut out the alcohol, as he had advised last week. In the meantime, he’s given me a prescription for BP reducing tablets, to prevent any more damage to my heart and he wants to see me again in 6 months or so.

Today, I have been to London to attend a symposium organised by the photography agency “Magnum”.  Organised to celebrate the release of their book of contact sheets and discuss their demise, it was very interesting. There were some very good speakers, and it was a worthwhile trip, but the venue was terrible. It was a college building in Elephant and Castle. The projector they were using was terrible, the lights in the lecture theatre couldn’t be adjusted properly and the amplification wasn’t great, especially when the speakers didn’t know how to use a microphone.

Notwithstanding these problems, I’m glad I made the effort and will get the contact sheet book out again tomorrow. Looking forward to getting home.

Finally, this month’s maintenance has been put back a week due to the strike that’s on the 30th November.. Not very pleased, I have to say…

Life is full of challenges – this is just the next one

Being diagnosed with a “lifestyle” condition is different from being diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. It’s as if you have failed yourself; let yourself down over the years by not looking after yourself. Let your family down too. When diagnosed its very hard to be non self-judgemental. (Is that a word?) It must also be very difficult for a consultant to be non-judgemental too.

The new consultant is a very nice guy indeed. Very thorough in his examination and very “kind” in his responses. He spent about 45 minutes with me yesterday and went through my entire medical history with me, including the lymphoma. He explained carefully what the initial ECG tests had shown (an anomaly in the peaks and troughs of the trace) and whether this really does mean that I have had a heart attack that I don’t know about – I might have done. He also explained what he plans to do with me.

On Monday, he will give me another ECG check and an echo-cardiogram to see what the heart is doing. He’s also going to put me on a 24 hour blood pressure monitor so that we can see what’s happening there. I have known it to be high for ages, but it’s not easy to get it down. Still, when we know what the real problem is, (if being a bit overweight isn’t it), we will know the task ahead. I see him again on Friday evening. But, there are things that can be done that would be helpful, regardless of the diagnosis and tests next week. Basically, watch what you eat, what you drink and walk about more.

So, that’s what we’re doing, from today. We don’t have an unhealthy diet, to be honest, but re-examining it won’t harm and a little less red wine won’t either. The dog will get more walks than she might care for, but that’s just too bad. So, let’s see how much weight can be lost before Christmas.

I reckon I can lose half a stone – we will see…

It never rains

Off to see the consultant tomorrow. A new consultant. This one is a cardiologist.

Through the office, all the professional staff have biennial Bupa medicals. I have had a few now and two years ago, the ECG trace showed some sort of slight anomaly. Well, this year, it’s still there and the doctor recommended that I have it checked out. Hence the trip to see the cardiologist. So, more tests will ensue, no doubt, plus a severe lack of carbohydrates, fat and wine over the coming months…

Apart from that, things are ticking along much as expected. I have had the pins and needles a couple of times since the first time so that’s something to raise when I see Consultant 1 in about 10 days and it took ages to get over the cold I picked up on the plane. Having the flu jab a week later probably didn’t help, though.

I am slowly getting things in the diary for the trip to New York in the spring. Already booked are a trip up the Empire State Building on the Sunday morning and I have made contact with Ann’s long lost American cousin. She has offered to drive into the city, pick us up and take us to the fire station where Great Uncle Pat worked in the 20s, which is very kind. We have also arranged o have some supper with a couple of friends while we are there. There has been some discussion about where to eat, but I am sure we will get something suitable sorted before we get there.

Have also arranged to see the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition at the National Gallery in January – judging by how quickly the tickets have sold, it’s one of those “once in a lifetime” events. A weekend in London in January is getting to be a habit, but it’s good fun going to the city not on business. With the usual Edinburgh overnighter between Christmas and New Year coming up, it’s going to be a good few months.

Make hay while the sun shines, and all that…

Have ordered a couple of larger prints from the German printers again. Hopefully they will be on their way shortly. One is a large canvas to hang on the opposite wall in the bedroom to the “Olives” canvas and there is also a framed black and white of the loch before The Old Man of Storr. It’s the same size at the Hadrian’s Wall one from last year, so maybe they can hang as a pair in the dining room.

I really do need to get out with the camera more… as usual.