Fandango’s Friday Flashback

He catches me every time! He reminds me that it is Friday once again, reminds me how little I have accomplished this week! Yes, Fandango has published his Friday Flashback, and prompted me to go scurrying around for a post of my own.

I find it helpful to write thoughts down, it helps to turn them into coherent ideas. One of the reasons I like blogging in particular is that it allows me to explore subjects in perhaps a greater detail than I’d want to in a Facebook post.

One of my interests is in current affairs and politics. I’m a guy in my fifties, so many of my beliefs are pretty-much cast in stone. But some issues are ambiguous. I’m not sure. That they are ambiguous makes them interesting.

Here is one such question.

The backdrop is that here in the UK we will be coming up to Remembrance Day in a couple of weeks time. The day we take out to remember our veterans. I guess pretty similar to Veterans’ Day in the USA, although I don’t know for sure. My ponderings go a bit further though. A conflict may be right or wrong, so what responsibility does a serviceman have, to call it out when they think it is wrong?

I’m sorry, it rambles a bit – probably relects my own uncertainty on the issue. A year later (to the day) and I hope my current writing is a little clearer.

Stroke Survivor

In the UK, we are coming up to Remembrance Sunday once again. I must admit, I’ve struggled with this in recent years.

A hundred years ago, say, for example, in World War One, the average man-in-the-street would not have known about, or would have had a limited view of, world events. They would have trusted the judgement of their “betters”, who sent them off to war.

If people had known what they now know about the reasons, would they have been so prepared to fight? Especially as the “war to end all wars” was repeated just 25 years later? Certainly, as I understand it, we were sucked into war almost accidentally, due mainly to distant alliances coming into play, and was far from clear-cut.

On to World War Two, and I think is an easy one to justify, in the light of Hitler’s behaviour towards minorities such as Jews, for…

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Timebombs

Fifty is a very dangerous age. Or thereabouts. I had my own stroke just shy of fifty, a friend of mine on here had his stroke just after. We, obviously, both survived. A few years ago, one of my friends told me about his nightly visits to the hospice, where a schoolfriend of his had a brain tumour. My friend would have been about fifty, and the schoolfriend died not long afterwards. Partner, dependent kids, the lot. My best friend at university, as I was telling him about my own stroke, he responded that he had been diagnosed with MS… Others of my friends have been found to be diabetic – know the numbers, keep on top of them, and that’s a walk in the park!

In my situation, it is very tempting to look at myself and think woe is me, but at least I have a reasonable chance of improvement. Sure, it’s something that will always be noticeable to me, but not necessarily to anybody else. Funnily enough, that’s a goal – I pride myself on not really caring what people think, but that matters. It is what it is, I suppose. Maybe I’m there already in some scenarios? If you see me sipping a drink in a coffee shop, you wouldn’t know that I have trouble walking. Drinking coffee with my right hand – you wouldn’t know that’s because my left doesn’t work. Wearing my glasses? well, everybody does at my age anyway.

My theory is quite simple. That many of us have these timebombs inside us, ticking away. That our bodies can cope with abuse for so long – there were times in my twenties when I would be in the pub every night, nightclubs at weekends, at one stage I played American Football and in later years was a keen cyclist, live hard, play hard – but that sooner or later….boom! In a lot of people I’ve known, it has been around fifty. My wife lost her cousin through breast cancer earlier, but mostly…

Okay, that’s the theory. It’s not going to hold true for everyone.

In my own situation, I was quite smug. I was fit and healthy, or so I thought. I was happy that while the rest of the population was becoming obese, I was safely in lowest quarter, in terms of BMI (a kind-of height-to-weight ratio). For forty-something, that wasn’t bad. Sure, I had a couple of chronic issues, but I looked after them, right? Not right enough, as it turned out.

With hindsight, I could have done more – taken more of an interest, for a start, got to know my body a bit better. One of the big mistakes I made was to be too hands-off, not to do enough for myself, the easy stuff, and not to be persistent enough when proposed medications were ineffective. That’s a biggie – we tend not to want to bother doctors about ourselves, because they’re busy people, and the only thing wrong with us is this or that. But actually, that’s exactly why they’re there. We penalise ourselves, in a way, when maybe we should be a little more selfish.

The caring profession? Actually, the one thing it doesn’t do is care. Doctors will advise, as best they can, but ultimately they are dispassionate – we’re the ones who need to care!

Things I wish I’d done differently…