Bad Leg

Apart from my ankle, I get by OK with my leg. It works, but it does feel different. It is difficult to explain: there is definitely sensation there, I am aware of the sense of touch, for example, and can feel heat and cold, but I can’t pinpoint exactly how it feels different.

A consequence of this is that it “goes to sleep” through inactivity, especially in the morning. If I get off the sofa in the morning, for example, my first few steps are quite doddery. This is not the case if I move regularly, or in the evening (at least, that’s my perception).

Another way in which this manifests itself is during the night, when I often suffer from cramps in my leg. Almost every night, it seems, I need to either jerk my leg in order to correct it, or sit out of bed altogether. I used to get cramp as a cyclist, after long rides, and put it down to dehydration, but not as often as I do now. And it occurred on the calf muscle itself, if I bent my leg too quicky, for example. These pains occur in my foot or the front of my leg, if I straighten things carelessly. So possibly different. And again, possibly dehydration – I don’t like to drink too much in the later part of the day because I don’t like having to get up to pee. And I can often aleviate it by using my other foot to lift my bad foot to 90°. There is a kind of acceptance that things are just “different” these days.

Carbs

I think I mentioned before was that one of the things wrong with me is diabetes. I lived with this at arm’s length for many years. Both parents were also affected, and yet with all the cycling I did I was, if anything, underweight. The diabetes might have caused the stroke. It’s possible but by no means a dead cert.

It’s a funny illness because whilst it’s generally associated with fatties, as I say above, that ain’t necessarily so. It’s only really since the stroke that I’ve padded out a bit, more through just the lack of that exercise than anything else. And whilst the headline Enemy #1 is sugar, the real danger is carbohydrates in general, although of course sugar being a carb will do the job nicely, in sufficient quantity. If I eat some potatoes, my sugar goes sky high, without any sugar cube in sight.

Whilst the cause of the stroke was unknown, this was one of red flags, and I didn’t pay attention to my sugar levels in the way that I do now. The other biggie was my blood pressure, although to a large extent this is out of your control – you go to the doctor’s, you get a tablet or two, and you hope that things get lower. Don’t get me wrong – there are steps that people can take to reduce blood pressure, but let’s just say that in my case they didn’t stop me from having a stroke at 48! In my case, the management of my blood pressure was a problem for years, even though I was a skinny cyclist. While I was in hospital following the stroke, one of the things that got changed was my blood pressure meds. Lo and behold, my blood pressure is now well controlled, although it is only measured quite irregularly, so this says to me that I could have been on more appropriate drugs all along.

No sour grapes, I’m just saying… You do end up being fatalistic – if my blood pressure was/is the problem, then there’s not a great deal I can do in any case! At least I can control what I put in my mouth.

Having said all that, I met my wife in Salisbury yesterday and we enjoyed one of those tiered afternoon teas! Finger sandwiches galore, although I was quite frugal in having just a single (dry) scone, plus a single cream cake (a minature chocolate eclair). My next task this morning is to test myself (which I now do daily), although I skipped carbs at supper so hopefully everything evened out.