It was a glorious late spring morning with blue skies and sunshine. Once the support worker arrived I was free until the next day. Wee-sis was going to take over when the carer left and sleep over so I was in holiday mode and looking forward to a day tidying up in the my own garden, maybe reading in the sun (if I could manage to ignore the weeds jeering at me from the flower beds and paths).
First, I was off to avail myself of the free health check provided by a charity which gives support to carers. I’d had to fill in a list of questions before the health check and a community nurse took me through my answers before the physical check was done by the trainee nurse. I think the questions were to help identify anyone who might be at risk of depression. I wasn’t, at least not before we started the examination.
Height and weight were different from what I expected – I seemed to have lost an inch in height. I did wonder if I should ask her to do it again after I’d corrected my posture but let it go, especially as by then I’d discovered I was about six pounds heavier than I thought I was. Still, the nurse assured me my weight was fine.
The only time I’ve had raised blood pressure was when I was pregnant in Pakistan and the DH had been kidnapped in Afghanistan so I wasn’t too concerned about it, at least not until the trainee nurse was checking it for the third time and looking worried. The nurse checked again, the figures were recorded and we moved on to the cholesterol test. No worries there as I do have a pretty healthy diet. Wrong, the reading was too high. Further tests were required and blood was taken.
Questions about lifestyle and diet followed. I admitted that in recent months I had not been taking as much exercise as I did in the past, mainly because it was difficult to find the time to go for a walk. I received a tick for being a non-smoker but when it came to alcohol consumption it was another black mark.
“Do you drink alcohol?”
“Yes, I do. I like a glass of red wine before bed.”
“Is it a small glass?”
“No, it’s a large glass, accompanied by a wee dish of stuffed green olives.”
“How many evenings would you say you have a drink?”
“Every evening.” I should have lied.
“You know you should give your liver two alcohol-free days every week?”
“Look, I have two evenings a week when I am at home in my own house, going to sleep in my own bed knowing someone else is looking after the Goldfish. I enjoy sitting back with my glass of wine. On the other five nights when I am with the Goldfish, I NEED my glass of wine.”
The nurse pressed on me a neat little thing which tells you how many calories are in wine, beer, spirits and a measure to make sure tipples at home are no larger than in a pub. She said when she received the cholesterol test results she’d be in touch and would come to re-check my blood pressure at home. If it was still as high then she’d want to do a 24-hour monitor.
The sun was still in the sky when I made my way home, but the shine had gone from my day.
PS: The cholesterol test came back perfectly normal. It may have been a fault in the equipment the nurse used. When she came to check my blood pressure, two of three readings were fine – the third, slightly higher one, was, I’m sure a natural consequence of having my BP checked three times. We did not discuss my alcohol consumption.