Friday, 29 April 2011

The Tempest

It’s not often you can say ‘I woke screaming in the night’ but I do admit it. I’m not sure if it was the storm itself or the sound of my own terror that actually roused me, but at quarter to five this morning I was fairly sure the end of the world had come. The lightning, frequent to the point of being constant, so penetrated through curtains, mosquito net, sheet, blanket and tightly closed eyelids that I thought it was actually IN the room and was convinced my corneas were about to be seared.

The attendant thunderclaps matched exactly the intense flashes so the storm was obviously directly overhead and despite the wind and the lashing rain, didn’t sound to be moving in any direction as every blast physically shook my little beach cottage like bombing. I thought of getting under the bed like they did in air-raids but settled for covering myself as completely as possible with blankets and pillows in case of flying glass from the battered windows.

It was getting light by the time it moved out to sea.

I like thunderstorms. I can happily lie awake listening to torrential rain and the rumble of thunder for hours, but the power and intensity of this one, and the sense of immediate proximate violence really did scare me.

Midmorning and you almost wouldn’t know it had happened. Leaves and debris have been neatly swept up by the morning groundsmen, people are swimming, the loudest sound is the waterfall in the swimming pool. But still an occasional offshore rumble warns that the cyclone may not have done with us yet.

It’s the midpoint of my stay, and a chance to assess progress. I’ve dropped 10lbs and whilst I still have love handles at least they no longer look as though they’re attached to one of Emerald Cunard’s bulkier steamer trunks wedged in a companionway on the Queen Mary. How much of that is sweat and expelled alimentary detritus is hard to judge, as is whether it will all return with the first bacon sandwich, but my prime objective was to tackle the diabetic blood sugar levels by adopting the Ayurvedic diet, and any weight loss is a bonus.

They arranged blood tests this morning to check my sugar levels, and whilst the poor man found it hard to find a vein (I have no idea why mine are so deep seated, I don’t recall having been a heroin addict in my teens although I may have blocked it out) the results will be available in 24 hours instead of having to wait two weeks courtesy of the NHS. What I can also say is that whilst my GP takes two or three goes with my blood pressure to find a reading he’s willing to enter on the computer, usually settling for something like 135/85, here it’s been 110/70 five mornings in a row.

I also feel quite well. My mind has stopped racing. The aches and pains on raising or twisting my arm for which I’ve been seeing a chiropractor for a year now seem to have abated, as has the old cartilage problem in my knee, and as I’ve mentioned before the flexibility and freedom of movement in my head neck and shoulders has improved beyond measure with daily acupuncture. Well, not today because Malaka my favourite acupuncturist has gone to visit her parents in Colombo, but we may resume tomorrow. Her temporary replacement is the restaurant dietician who may be equally qualified or judging by the number of clients who have said 'it hurts' may just be an enthusiastic member of the hotel darts team.

I don’t seem to have any cravings, either. Not for favourite foods, or chocolate, and certainly not for alcohol: I saw a facebook photo of friends drinking outdoors in the unexpected English heatwave this week and felt almost nauseous at the thought of multiple pints of lager. Mind you, some of my friends can make you feel nauseous even without a drink in hand. I’ve certainly no intention of giving up but it’s nice to know you can survive a month without it.

If I have a food fantasy, it’s for a bacon and avocado sandwich. Not in itself a great calorific sin, at least not if you grill the bacon and drain it, and use wholemeal bread, low-fat mayonnaise and only eat them occasionally. Unlike the first two years I worked at Canary Wharf when I bought one nearly every day, almost certainly made with undrained streaky and fully-leaded Hellmans.

And the other thing I’d like is a tomato. Yes, that harmless, watery, vitamin-rich, low-fat, low-carb feature of many a Western diet plan is proscribed here, they don’t use them either cooked or cold. Apparently the cheeky little redskins unbalance your doshas. Who knew?


Cholesterol down from 4.8 to 3.4

Blood sugar down from 8.2 to 4.4, below the 'threshold' for diabetes at 7.0

All other blood tests in the 'normal' range

and one interesting phenomenon, I'm blood group O Negative, one of the rarest, less than 5% of the global population has it. So not much chance of a transfusion in an emergency ...

still, all in all, a day for celebration.

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