Lockdown woes

During lockdown we had our garage and conservatory knocked down because we were told by a few different builders that the structure was unsafe and had to come down. In the process they took the back steps away which made it difficult to get down the garden. Previously, we had steps at the back of the conservatory that led to the garden and steps at the back of the garage, but they took away both sets of steps.


We made a new set of steps from two of the roof beams from the garage and some decking wood we bought. Unfortunately, the wood wasn’t thick enough and started to bow quite alarmingly while I did a test climb, and as I lifted my foot at the top, the steps crashed down and my leg grazed badly down the brickwork, looking like I was savaged by a werewolf!

I had to go to A&E 3 times to get stronger antibiotics and get it dressed as the wound wasn’t healing properly and had got infected, luckily I managed to get to see the nurse and she applied regular dressings.

The wound was sloughing (white blood cells and wound material build up on the surface as the cells die as they fight the infection but prevent the wound healing) which required several different dressing types to clean it, including honey dressings. The wound wasn’t healing as fast as the nurses liked, so they ordered a blood test.

Blood test

I had to have two blood tests at the beginning of November which they used to work out my average glucose level and determined I have type-2 diabetes, which comes with the disadvantage of slow wound healing and other complications.

Incidentally, the test for type-2 diabetes involves a test called HbA1c which measures the amount of glycated haemoglobin in the blood. Red blood cells transport glucose around the body by attaching glucose to the walls of these blood cells. The cells then use insulin to convert that glucose into energy to power the cells.

The level of glucose found in the HbA1c test defines whether the patient is healthy, pre-diabetic or has diabetes. The test is given every 3 months because the lifecycle of red blood cells is between 2-3 months before they are replenished.

I’ve enclosed the chart for the different levels of HbA1c and because they found I had 51 mmol/ml, I was diagnosed with type-2 diabetes.

HbA1c - Average Blood Glucose

Diabetes treatment

One of the problems during lockdown was the result of previous car crashes that I was experiencing a lot of back pain so movement was curtailed and that was coupled with comfort and reward eating that caused my weight to increase to 21 Stone (294lb or 133.6kg) at the point of the diagnosis, which put me in the Obese 2nd degree bracket with a BMI of 37.2

However, the self treatment for type-2 diabetes is a two pronged approach, the first is quite easy for me, cut down (not cut out) the treats and the second which is also quite easy (when I have the time) is to start walking more.

Luckily, both of my sisters are walkers and runners so walking with them is much easier, although I can cover more ground alone.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

Your Body Mass Index is a calculation of your weight (in kilograms) divided by your height (in centimetres) squared. It is an average measurement because it doesn’t take into account muscle mass nor your percentage body fat.

Workout plan

So, my plan was to look at what I eat that I can reduce my intake of (chocolate, crisps, biscuits, etc) which I did well with until Christmas came round and that went out the window for a while (since all those things are given as gifts or expectations made to consume them) and my plan was to fit in 3,000 steps every few days to get some exercise into my routine of sitting on my behind and doing 6 hours of Zoom meetings a week.

So far with the reduction in junk food and bit of exercise into my routine I’ve managed to get the weight down to 19 stone, a 2 stone improvement and moves me out of Obese 2nd degree to 1st degree category.

Fitness band

For my 50th birthday, I wanted a fitness band. The fitbit/Garmin ones were too expensive and I needed a simple one that could read my heart rate on the go, so Argos had an Amazfit band for under £20 that seemed to do the trick.

There are foibles with it though, such as walking workouts have to be started on the phone as they are ignored if started on the band. Additionally, setting a goal means the workout stops when the goal is reached, instead of carrying on when you are nowhere near a place you can get back.

One thing it does well is record my heart rate, and a brisk walk is defined as the point where you can talk but not sing, and you aren’t sweating. The target heart rate for a brisk walk is calculated by working out what is 50-70% of your maximum heart rate.

So 220 – your age = maximum heart rate. So for me turning 50 means 220 – 50 = 170, so for a brisk walk I should have a heart rate of 85-120 bpm.