Health Check

I usually try to get a fairly regular health check every couple of years with my GP, just to keep an eye on things (and with particular awareness of the family history with a whole horde of fun conditions)  However, what with Covid, lockdowns and life in general, it hadn’t happened since 2018.  I was just about due for the 2020 one when all hell broke loose, and my GP refused to do anything except urgent on-the-day appointments which I try to not take up (none of what I’m doing is urgent, and there’s plenty of people with more urgent concerns than me getting a bloody health check!)

So anyway, when I moved I registered with a new GP, got a message a couple of weeks ago that I was due for a health check, and booked it in.

That day was today. And I’m pleased to say that it all went well.  They took bloods for further analysis (nothing to worry about, all part of the process) but the highlights so far are :

  • Blood pressure of 140/70. Absolutely fine and within NHS acceptable levels.
  • Pulse – about 70. Not ideal, but nowhere near awful.
  • BMI / Weight – too high, but that’s nothing unusual. They’re both absolutely normal for me, so I’m not going to worry too much. As always, I’d like to lose some, but nothing so far has really worked, so 2023 is going to involve some other stuff.
  • Cardiovascular Risk – so far (and this one is also connected with those blood tests, so it may change) my results indicate I’m at something like a 5% risk of having a heart attack in the next decade.

I’m also booked to get further blood taken in a couple of weeks in order for proper checks of some of those family-history points.

I’ll also get a call in a couple of weeks to go over the results properly, but for now I’m happy with these data points, and happy to have been able to get it all done again with a bare minimum of hassle and inconvenience.

Health Check

It’s been about two years since I last darkened the door of my GP for a health check, so a couple of weeks ago, I made the appointment. That day was today.

I’ve done about half the stuff for now – I apparently now need to go to the local hospital in order to get blood tests done, among other things – but everything so far is apparently ‘very good’, and even ‘puts a lot of our patients to shame’. I’ll take that, to be honest.

  • Blood pressure hasn’t changed, and is 130/80.  Slightly high (according to charts I’ve then looked at since) but well within acceptable limits
  • Blood sugar was perfectly fine – on a “random” check (I had eaten within the time-span, so couldn’t do a fasting blood-sugar etc.) it came back as 7, so the proper fasting one should be lower, and well within limits
  • No idea on pulse-rate, but the nurse said it was absolutely fine, so again, I’m happy enough with that.
  • Weight, as always, is too high. I’m still working on it, and getting a couple of referrals to other departments to see what they say, or can help with.

So, we’ll see how it goes with the other stuff – I’ll get it lined up to be done this week – but for now I’m feeling pretty content with where things are.

Health Check

A couple of weeks ago, I got a letter from my local GP, asking me to go in for an “NHS Health Check”. It was a bit annoying, as the accompanying leaflet said that my surgery ‘needed to update their records as I hadn’t been in for so long’ and so on. Considering I was in there for a check in November 2014, that was kind of worrying – implying that my records weren’t up to date and so on.

Anyway, they then called me up to chase getting an appointment, and today I went in. It wasn’t anything special, but still, always good to know what’s going on.

It turns out that what they meant was that this Health Check thing needs records less than three months old – which is understandable, things can change in that time. But it would’ve been good if their own bumf had actually said so, rather than implying that the record-keeping at the surgery was bad.

Still, onwards and upwards.

The Health Check is basically a quick check of the key figures: weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and the like, as well as various health factors (smoking, drinking, activity etc.) and comes out with a ‘risk’ factor at the end of it.

All told, the figures came out pretty well :

  • blood pressure was fine at 130/80,
  • blood sugar was fine – although I can’t remember the exact figure, it was well within acceptable limits
  • cholesterol came in at 4.5 (anything under 5 is regarded as ‘good’) with ‘good’ cholesterol of 1.8
  • weight is still ‘too high’, but has kept on coming down, so *shrug*

The final “risk factor” figure was 4 – which supposedly means I have a 4% risk of suffering a heart attack in the next ten years. They’re happy with anything under 10, so I shouldn’t need to darken the surgery’s door on that score for a while.

Obviously I’m going to keep on working on losing weight, and being healthier/fitter, but having a quick summary like that is good for pointing out that I’m not doing too bad, and could be doing one hell of a lot worse than I am. I can live with that, to be fair.

Health Check (Kind of)

So – how the hell does a GP surgery manage to be no less than 40 minutes late for appointments by 9.40 in the morning?  I’d be impressed, if it weren’t for – well – being 40 minutes late.

Even then the full check hasn’t been done – I’ve had the bloods taken to check for Diabetes, Thyroid Levels and Cholesterol, but no blood-pressure test or anything.  Supposedly “the receptionist should’ve booked you for a double slot so I could do all that, I don’t have the time to do it all in one slot“.

Of course, that just pissed me off.  Other things can cause delays of 40 minutes, but you’re going to just ditch me off because you haven’t got the time? Perhaps it would be easier if you were slightly more organised, and didn’t take half the time I was in there to faff about trying to find things?

So far though, all OK.

I’m now due back in two weeks’ time to find out the results of the blood tests and so on, and at the same time they’ll do my blood-pressure.  (Mind you, it’ll likely still be low-normal, which always befuddles the GPs who look at my height/size, and then retake it twice more)

Health Check

One of the real pains (and one I haven’t yet written about on D4D™ – believe me, it’s coming) with our house-buying process at the moment has been that as part of the entire mortgage malarkey, we’ve both been advised to get some proper life-insurance, that’d cover the whole amount of the mortgage should one of us suddenly develop a ‘critical’ illness or drop dead. Of course, that also means having to deal with another load of financial scumbags – insurers.

Back in Jan 2005, I got one lot of cheap-ass life insurance on Herself’s insistence (in fairness, she got some too) which became not-such-cheap-ass insurance when the insurance scumbag underwriters at Norwich Poxybollocks Union decided I was overweight, and whacked an extra amount on my premium. Not a lot, to be honest, but still rather more than the initial quotation had been. Bastards.

Since then, I’ve lost a fair amount of weight, although (as I’ve commented many times) I’m still never going to be 12-15stone without going through at least one limb amputation. That’s a fact of life. I’m not unfit – OK, I’m not fit either, but there we go – and… oh, chuff it, you all know the score by now.

Anyway, with the mortgage application and insurance guff, the scumbag insurance underwriters have – again – thrown a wobbly. And they’ve insisted that this time I don’t just pay extra, I have to have a ‘health check’ too before they might deign to take my money.

So while you’re reading this, I’m in a random doctor’s surgery, having a basic medical and healthcheck for scumbag dirtwad insurers . Whoopee Doo.

Organising That Health-check

So yes, the healthcheck that finally happened on Friday was an utter nightmare to organise.

It started off with being told that I needed to sort one out, and that the insurance company had engaged a third party who would contact me to organise an appointment at my convenience.

Yeah, right. What actually happened was that the company called me up and said “We’ve made an appointment for one of our nurses to come and see you at home on Tuesday at 4pm”. Which is hardly at my convenience. So I called them back and told them so.

Them : “But why don’t you want an appointment at home on Tuesday at 4pm? We’ve made all the arrangements”
Me : “Because I’m not going to be at home at that time. I’ll be at work. If your company is willing to pay me to take half a day off work to come and see you, I might consider it”
Them : “No, we can’t do that. But we don’t understand what the problem is with this appointment, it’s at your home at 4pm”
Me : “Amazing as this may seem to you, I work. Maybe I’m the only person you’ve ever dealt with who works, but there we go. So 4pm on a weekday is not convenient. I’m home for about 7pm, if that helps”
Them : “Oh no, our nurses only work 9-5”.

At which point I ended up going back to the insurers and telling them they could stuff their business. The people they engaged would have problems discerning between an arse and an elbow, and there was no way I was using them. So they promised to organise something else, a proper medical at a proper doctor’s surgery. However, it would still be organised through a third party.

And then I got another call about a week later, from the first third party, still trying to make a ‘convenient’ appointment for me on a workday at 4pm, and which for an appointment ‘at my convenience’ was strangely immovable. This time they got told to sod off.

When the second third party finally called, the first thing they said was “So, you need an appointment in Norfolk?”. At which I think I growled. The woman at the other end certainly seemed surprised. I re-explained the situation (actually, that’s probably more like re-re-re-re-explained, but there we go), and they finally discovered a surgery that was close to the workplace. Halle-bloody-lujah.

But all told it’s still taken four weeks to organise a poxy medical. But if my blood-pressure is too high (I doubt it will be, but still) I’m going to blame it all on the poxy fucking insurance company and their medical third parties. So there.

Healthy Figures

I said a while ago that I’d write this, and then never got round to it.  (I also thought I’d written it before, but a couple of searches didn’t find anything. Which is odd.)

Anyway. Back at the start of 2018, I did my semi-regular checkup visit at the local GP, which all worked out as “fairly healthy in general“. As usual, the main ‘problem’ was that I’m significantly heavier than I “should” be. So I asked for help from the GP, asked what they could do or suggest. And the response? “Oh, you’re not obese enough to get NHS treatment“.  Well OK, that’s about as helpful as a kick in the cock.

So, being me, I pushed for some referrals – I already wanted to lose weight, but that kind of attitude really steamed my piss, and I wanted to get some better figures and find out more about what was going on.  I’ve been logging my food intake for years now, and also keeping track of what I walk and so on, so I knew beforehand that my usual calorie intake was around the recommended 2,500 a day mark (albeit with some days/weekends of excess) and I walk an average of at least 10,000 steps a day.

First, I got a referral to Slimming World – and the less said about that, the better. An unremittingly negative and unhelpful experience all round.

I also got a referral to the Dietician service at Bedford Hospital, which wasn’t much more positive, but did end up with some good connections and results.

With the service, we tried a set of calorie-reduction diet plans, none of which worked. However, through it I also got a connection to the Uni of Beds’ Sport Science department, where I was able to (finally) get one of the tests done that I really wanted – an RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate) test, to establish what level of energy I’m actually burning. RMR is basically a measure of the calories the body burns if it’s simply laying in bed doing nothing. No food intake, no exertion at all. It took about an hour to run from start to finish, and then a couple of weeks to crunch the data and produce a report.

So. My RMR is 2,800 calories a day – even if I just laid in bed and did sod all, I’d need more calories than the recommended 2,500 a day. Taking into account calories for digestion, as well as exertion, It’s likely I’m burning around 4,000 a day. (As it turns out, I did write about BMR/RMR – ten years ago!)

On the downside, this information never really sank in with the Dietician. They kept on insisting that eating less had to result in losing weight. And in all honesty, it should – but didn’t.  Looking at the figures, I’m already taking in less than I’m expending, and dropping the intake simply widened the gap even further.  All it did was leave me even more tired, and seriously grouchy.

It ended up with a bit of an argument as my sense of humour finally failed, I wrote a full bulleted list of what was happening (with all the information from above) and why I suspected things weren’t working.  That actually finished things fairly positively, although they didn’t have any better suggestions once we were outside the standard answers.

Also along the way, I ended up joining a local group called “Gutless” for overweight men. It consisted of two hours a week, one of food education, and one of physical exercise and workouts. For me, I didn’t learn much from the food education, but the training was positive, and started me doing more than I had. And since the Gutless course finished, we’ve maintained the exercise routine with the same trainer, which has also remained positive.

All told, I feel happier with how things are – if nothing else, my health record contains the whole list of things tried from the Dietician, and the RMR figures from the Uni of Beds. It means that when the GP tries their “you’re overweight” thing again, they can see what’s been tried.

However, I don’t really know what the answer is. My food intake has stayed much the same (and some of those weekends of excess actually make me lose weight) and I do more, with the extra workouts twice a week, and the archery I’ve recently re-taken up as well as maintaining the walking I do. I’m far, far stronger than I was, my shape is better, my stamina is fearsome, and I feel far healthier – but somehow, my weight hasn’t actually changed in a good decade, no matter what I do.

I’d like to lose more some – it’s just that still, everything I try isn’t working.  I think that at some point I’ll have to go back and get more data and ideas, but really I don’t yet even know the right questions to ask.

I’ll figure it out one day, I’m sure.