Life (un)limiting conditions

This is not a blog which will head of into new age clap trap, nor is it one that will say that all change come from within.  This is one of those blogs inspired by a conversation with a younger person with a dicky ticker, and yes they're happy with me to post it... Its a conversation that we've had over a couple of years.

It starts with a simple statement - I am a dinosaur.

My surgery was in the first 300 of its type at Great Ormond Street.

It was done 41 years ago - the machinery used to keep me alive during that surgery is quite literally in a museum. If you walk into the Science Museum in London, walk into the gallery of scientific progress, (its a right turn after the entrance), you'll get to a big hall and on the right there's a heart bypass machine from the late 60's... It looks like a piece of industrial kitchen equipment.  Nothing is digital, nothing seems to be automated.  In short it looks crude.

That's because it was.  That's not a criticism, its a statement of scientific progress - the surgery I had was based on echoes, catheters, x-rays and guess work.  MRI scans weren't patented until 1977, real time MRI scanning of the heart - mid 80's.  3-D printing a heart so a surgeon can handle it - last couple of years.

Throw in the advances in medication, the changing attitudes to exercise, the better care all round the developed view that we're not fixed and we need life long care and the rationale for crude, is I hope apparent.

So, where is this going?  This isn't a a woe-is-me post.  I'm too old and grumpy for that.  Its an attempt to show that the youngsters and children of today shouldn't be limited by what they see my generation of dicky ticker people able to do or not to do.  And that rolls down the generations, those who are 35 aren't the same as those who are 25, and 15 and 5 and not yet born.

If you younger dicky-ticker people can be bothered to look at us, look at us as we look at things in museums, things to wonder how they kept going, occasionally admired because they still work, but never, ever to be limited by.

If you, as a younger model want to test your limits then ask what's safe, ask what's the issue is - the most powerful word in the vocabulary is "Why?" Especially when paired with "not".   I know the answer to some things - for me, as a dinosaur - so I adapt and find other ways of having fun (indoor skydiving), but I only know because I've asked.

So, when my young friend asked me how do I live with a  life limiting condition, I asked them what they meant.

Life is to be lived, no-one, not one single person on the planet can do everything they want to do.  As a dinosaur I know that asteroids hit, I've seen too many take out too many friends.  I chose to view my life as opportunity, as a life to be lived - with its scars, tablets, tears and laughs, hugs, kisses and experiences.  I am sensible and don't go, too far, beyond the boundaries I set with the help of my medical team.

As a wise person once said sometimes - you must unlearn what you have learned (thank you Master Yoda) - which in this case means define your own limits, find your own adaptations and leave the dinosaurs to their own... They may by some fluke be the same, but they are likely to be different...

Which is enough should searching - Mad Dog 10 K - my nose still isn't fully functional, and I pretty much didn't run from the half marathon to the 10K - funnily enough I was slow... 10min slower than last year. Still loved it though, the route is an old favourite, the bands excellent (Elvis is getting worse, and he wasn't good, but he is a feature) and the goody bag was beyond compare - t-shirt, medal, buff, sports towel - and a decent rucksack to keep them in!

Happy Congenital Heart Disease Awareness month!




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