Sunday, 18 April 2010

Just how healthy is self sufficiency?

Face value, I haven’t been to the doctors in fourteen years. I don’t get colds, I don’t get sniffles (if I’m unwell it is of course the worst illness in the history of the household, but because I’m a man I soldier on and don’t bring it to the attention of those closest to more than once or twice a minute). However, the fact that I don’t seek help can be a worry in itself.
The last time I had my blood pressure checked was that last visit fourteen years ago. A lot has happened in fourteen years. Until ten years ago I was living in London and was living the opposite to self sufficiently – would that be dependently?
Anyway, I guess it’s been on my mind a little lately, so when I saw an ambulance parked up offering free blood pressure checks, I decided to take up their offer.
It was a Saturday morning, and not surprisingly business was slow for the paramedics manning the stall, most of whom were sitting inside the ambulance fiddling with the equipment. Just outside were a ring of chairs. I smiled at one of the ladies and sat where she indicated.
The thing is there are times when I think my lifestyle is hard on my body. In the depths of winter I often get soaked to the skin and freezing, literally freezing cold. I’m out feeding, watering and bedding down every day in conditions that even the animals I’m caring for don’t venture into. In the house there’s no central heating and away from the fire I can quite often see my own breath.
On my diet I’m pretty sure I score points because I keep it as natural and pure as possible, but I never consider fat content, or calories, or salt levels, but then I don’t eat anything that’s processed and not made from scratch at home, and my only big no nos, are additives and preservatives. I eat butter, not margarine. I eat cheese, I drink wine, and when I get the beginning sensation of a wobble to my tummy when I move about, rather than cut back on what I’m eating, I’ll just go out an hour earlier each day and work a bit harder until I feel as though the extra weight has gone. I have never been to the gym and I don’t own any bathroom scales.
All of which you could take two ways; either I’m living a natural life and listening to my body, or I’m being foolish and not taking advantage of ‘healthy options’ offered in the shops.
All these thoughts rushed through my head in the time it took the paramedic to bring the equipment over. I gave my name, age and signed to say I wouldn’t sue them if they gave me bad news.
She wrapped the black strip, like a bandage, around the top of my arm and began pumping it to inflate.
There’s the book as well. I have felt a lot of stress lately with the book coming out. That’s natural, I don’t want to let anyone down, the publishers, my agent and not least of all my family and myself, and have found the pressure much higher than I thought it would be. I can imagine that pushing my pressure up.
When the bandage was fully inflated, she wrote on a clipboard before address me.
‘The best today,’ she said. ‘It’s very, very good.’
I felt my insides sag with relief. Only now I realised that all of the lifestyle analysing wasn’t weighing up which way the result might go, it was gathering excuses in case it was bad news.
But it wasn’t. It was good news.
Very, very good – aren’t they lovely words?
So there you have it, self sufficiency is a healthy lifestyle for good blood pressure. As if I had any doubt…

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