12% of a plan…

  It’s been a month.     A month since the new heart valve was inserted… the chaffing has died down, I’ve been sensible and built my walking up, restarted my apple fitness plus bits and bobs (boy has it been a long time since I bent like that, or cycled/spun like that) and I’ve been for two runs – a gentle 3k which worked as a prelude to my return to my local parkrun… I finished, my tally went up 1, and I remembered just how tough it is to run the first mile on so soft, dry sand… In hindsight I would’ve been better to walk the first third and conserve my energy (and pool of fitness) to the prom and the grass thirds…   Relive 'Return to Parkrun!' Yes, it does look the first bit is out to sea…  Monday was a random day off work to get out and do something, so with a bit of head scratch and some nifty plotting on the OS Mapping app I wandered along the canal, and then down the Transpennine Trail & “loop line”… Almost pancake flat, I know it well from ma

It’s a kind of magic (the science kind)…

  Well, operation done – I have a funky new valve and a bit of a sore groin.     I was in hospital for 28, sleepless, hot, hours and unconscious for about 4 of them.     While the insertion points for the three catheters I had in me in at the same time heal it’s a case of taking it easy, let my body get over the various manipulations (sore throat, the impact of the still there frozen shoulder) and the simple lack of sleep from stress and some noisy neighbours on the day ward I was on.  There’s really not a lot else to say… I went in, did the usual pre-op checks, had a chat with the interventionist, had a chat with the anaesthetist, signed the all-important consent forms (kids – that’s when you know you’re an adult; parents, that’s when you know your kid is in charge), was wheeled across to a hybrid cath lab… laid down, bit of banter with the team and the next thing I knew I was waking up, sore and not actually knowing whether the funky valve had fitted me…    It had, so I had the delig

A great passes… and I’m getting knocked out again…

It seems odd, a man whose skills have meant for the last 47 and a bit years I’ve been able to do all of my adventures the only man whose had their hands inside my chest cavity, has died. Marc De Leval was a great, and not just for me… ok, even I’ve not got that much of an ego!!! Lots has been written and will be written about why he’s a great – the start of paediatric heart transplants in the UK, his 30 years of surgical practice, his work on taking congenital heart surgery around the world…  But for me, it was his humility… His Autobiography is called “Humanity & Humility: 40 Years in Children's Heart Surgery” and although I have never met Marc (well never in my memory) I have met most of the others on what I consider to be the greatest example of humility in a congenital heart surgeon -  as a surgeon he had a run of cases where children died, and did not brush this off as “bad luck”, but opened himself up to

The (re)start of a blog - New Adventures, 214 of them...

  A long time ago I used to blog a lot… maybe too much… but blog I did, as I trained for and ran marathons, ultras, multiday ultras.     I also talked about the various poddings and pokings that my medical teams call tests and as ever promised I would be honest. A lot has happened since the last post… which was just over a year ago.  We’ve lost too many loved ones to list without seeming like each name is a number, we’ve found our “bungalow” so have gone from the views of the Mersey to a garden, other people’s cats and our own front door to the world.  On the down side we have a decent chippie 250 metres away…    I’ve also had the fun of a failed valve insertion, via the blood vessels in my groin… More on that in a minute…  Shielding, a busy stress-eating inducing job (without the balance of hard exercise) has had a bad effect on my diabetes, so I’m currently running through the options and dosing to get things back on an even keel and will get my eyes lasered next month.    On the hea

In brightest day, in blackest night… (the end of shielding)

  No, I haven’t been passed a ring from an alien policeperson (nerds will get the reference).    It’s been just over a year since shielding began, it’s been just over a year since I became a virtual hermit, and that year begins to end on Tuesday.     With the exception of a magical week in Wales my world has been predominantly our flat, with a rough 3km circle of wandering there and back distance.  The physical impact can be seen in an expanded waist line, despite cycling Lands End to John a’Groats on the exercise bike and almost half way round Iceland, and becoming mildly addicted to Cockney Kim, Jamie the Lad, Gregg of the unfeasibly low body fat on Applefitness+ the simple fact is in normal times I walk about 10k a day, these days I’m lucky to average three.  I’m lucky, I have got out a bit. I have friends who haven’t. We’ve not had major problems with getting food (thank you Asda for having collection boxes you can walk to) and we’re as safe as we can be.    I may be lucky but that

Getting fit for heart surgery

  A dramatic, but appropriate, title for my first long blog in a while.     First up I’m fine – I don’t feel any different from all of the other times where my cardiology team has hinted that the time has come to do something about my aging dicky ticker.  Aging is a good word – it was 46 years ago today (if you’re reading this on the 11 th  November) where they did my original operation at Great Ormond Street.  Even back then they suggested they’d need to keep an eye on my pulmonary valve… and so they have…    My interventionist called the 46 year gap between valves remarkable – I think he was being polite, I’m a freak.  Most people with Fallot’s I know have had one or two valves by now.   So, I know I’m lucky…    The luck continues, I’m a scientist, I read the developments I watch the progress of technologies… Due to the weird internal anatomy of my heart I haven’t been a candidate for transcatheter valve implantation… until now.  The plan will be to have a good look around, check tha

In the Year 2029...

So that was the 2010s… a decade of running, running, gongs, running, fighting for services, losing friends and falling in love & getting married. Any retrospective of a decade focuses on the highlights and or the low lights, and skips over the middling murk of normal life that we live in most of the time. So, I’m not going there. Instead, I’m going to jump into my TARDIS to 2029 and look back at the 2020s… In 2029 I’ll be almost 60, I’ll still be running and will finally have got a t-shirt worthy number of parkruns done. I’ll still be moaning about my hip, my ankle and probably other bits of me. But I’ll still be plodding, often with Mrs Jiminy beside me, in costume (from the second decade of Marvel films), around courses and taking our annual pilgrimage to Newcastle and the Great North Run. Work will still be work, although I’ll note we are all complaining about the pay and car parking despite the fact that money was outlawed in 2025 and we all access work remotely by