Friday, 14 January 2022

A year in review: Health and wellbeing, part three

This memorial contains almost a month’s worth of parts – though not all of ‘em are about my health! – and the post you’re reading is the twenty-first in the series. 

By the beginning of March I was down to one pill a day by quitting, over a period of weeks, the antidepressant I had been taking since August 2019. 

On 10 March I cut my toenails without damaging the quicks, which I’d had problems with the last time – necessitating a course of antibiotics to combat an infection in my left big toe. Here the nail is ingrown in part of its profile so it’s a bit tricky to trim, but because I’d lost so much weight and could now, while sitting, bend down to the floor, this time cutting my toenail caused no problems. Dr Nanda had suggested, when I last saw him, and when he’d prescribed the antibiotics, getting another person to trim my toenails, adding, “But of course if you can do them yourself that’s ok, too.” Which was a very Dr Nanda thing to give out as s suggestion, he’s a paragon of moderation, which can be good (he won’t panic if there’s a problem) but on the other hand it’s usually up to me (eg weight loss) to get a ball rolling. 

Two days later I met with my cardiologist, who allowed me to wean myself off the beta blockers, with me planning to cut down this medication, for two weeks, then quit it entirely. Along with quitting the antidepressants, this would turn out to be a mistake.

The kilo illustrated by the photo above was difficult to lose, a delay of days eating at the borders of my resolve, but I persevered and came out better off on the back of applied effort. Every evening before going to bed I’d check my weight in anticipation of the morning’s reading. Normally I’d lose a kilo overnight as food was digested because of processes that carried on inside my body and so my imagination let me taste, in advance, on each day the evening result was lower – or higher (or the same) – either a small victory or a small defeat. 

It was always tempting me to eat more and in fact my appetite stayed excellent, making super sauce for simple meals. I started to skip the usual bread-and-spread in the mornings in early April (see chart below), leading to a temporarily sped-up weight loss regime. I briefly came into a routine where I ate nothing at breakfast but had three cups of coffee-with-milk, then at 10am I’d eat lunch (cheese, fruit). At about 2.30pm I’d eat dinner (protein, vege), with a low-carb snack taken at the same time to finish off the day’s intake. This schema suited my stomach as I’d get hungry at each of these points in the day’s passage from waking to sleeping, and it suited me, too, because by following it I’d be losing a kilo a week (in March I lost four kilos). 

But weight again came off slowly, and despite the new eating pattern I stayed at around 91kg for almost two weeks, then saw a drop result from the work I was doing. I eventually abandoned the regime of no breakfast and weight continued coming off.

On 12 April my left arm started to hurt when I turned it in the regular course of things. So, for example, washing dishes or putting dishes away in the cupboard would result in pain. It was worse the next day and I worried that I wouldn’t be able to drive the car so I called my GP’s clinic but the receptionist said Dr Nanda wouldn’t be in. I made an appointment to have him phone me and he finally called hours after the appointed time, but because he couldn’t examine me we then arranged for me, the next day, to visit his surgery. On Wednesday the pain in my arm had almost disappeared but I saw him anyway. At our consultation Dr Nanda said that he was happy with me staying at 90kg (I had other ideas). He briefly examined my arm but had no specific advice as to the reason for the problem. 

Regarding my weight loss, he advised me to eat a variety of foods, and added again – as he had done on a previous occasion – that about 20 percent of patients who start losing weight succeed. I took to heart the advice he gave and tried to vary intake by occasionally adding foods – such as cucumber pickles and cured chillies – that were not staples. Mostly I was having cheese and an apple for lunch – a combination mum used for herself at lunchtime when we lived in Queensland – and for dinner some meat or fish plus a spoonful of mayonnaise along with a vegetable (lettuce, mushrooms). Breakfast might be eggs and ham, or else some marinaded goat’s cheese on a slice of low-carb bread. All very healthy and because – as mentioned earlier – I was always hungry I found everything tasty, regardless how simple one of my meals might appear to another person.

My psychiatrist had mentioned the possibility of taking aspirin, and I mentioned this to Dr Nanda but he brushed off the idea so that its moment as a talking point lapsed in our conversation. He didn’t charge me for the consultation, after which I went to get my hair cut. 

I was reliably losing a kilo every ten days (see above) but the pace slowed in the final week of April and in early May I was still at the same weight.

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