2016 AD – Welcome to the Future

Each year, The Fabulous Beth reaches five time zones across the ocean on Hogmanay to wish folks a Happy New Year from the future. You’re all here in the future now, right?

Wait, haven’t I been to 2000 before? (cover artist, Ian Kennedy)

Well, welcome. Come on in. Have a cigar. Or don’t. There are resolutions to think of. Or not.As my friend Andy recently noted on the Facey Book, it can be

a bit overwhelming to deal with the long term reflection and future resolutions that accompany New Year, [but the] fact is we can reset at any time.

Funnily enough, I find that the liberation of that idea, and ongoing attempts to live mindfully, free me up to consider items I want to approach with resolve this year.

#1: Write three-star album

To aid me in this task, I’ve been taking a look at some prior first-posts-of-the-year. Sure enough, none of them address the New Year at all. At the beginning of 2014, I was reflecting on Michael Schumacher’s recent brain injury and the ills of the 24-hr news cycle. (Fittingly, that event is now mostly forgotten.) And reading it back, at that point The Fabulous Beth and I were still quite close to the beginning of recovery from trauma.

ACTUAL PIC & CAPTION (Jan 2014): “Mrs Stroke Bloke, sans trauma”

A year later, Beth was looking back over her pictures from the prior twelve months, and came across a video of me rehearsing for the live performance of Nerd Bait‘s The Treacherous Brain. I was doing “research for a short story about a young transgender Hibs fan”.

As this year opens, I’ve just finished a story about a young American woman who finds herself caught up in the aftermath of a terror attack by the Red Army Faction/Baader-Meinhof Group (or possibly, the Stasi) in 1989. Which, given that the idea started germinating months ago, is surprisingly Zeitgeist-y, in the week British TV premieres Deutschlsand 83

…and I saw this shirt in a shop on the Edinburgh High Street

This year, I’ll be kicking things off by, among other things, popping in for a follow-up blood pressure check-up. I visited the nurse at my GP’s office last year (or, in early-December, if you will) for what they term my Hypertension Review. And she helped me kick off consideration of my resolutions.

We started with a chat about my lifestyle choices.

Wait – Bengal Boomer or Battlestar Boomer?

And it turns out that one of the benefits of a massive haemorrhagic stroke (if you’re one of the very lucky ones, like me) is that it gets you way ahead on your resolutions. Do I smoke, she asked? No. Do I drink? Very little, and certainly within government guidelines. How much meat do you eat? None.

Now much fun are you at parties? LOADS!!!

Note, this was prior to the trailing of amended government drinking guidelines. So by this point, the nurse was getting pretty desperate to find some sort of directive advice to give. ‘How much fish do you eat?’ she asked. And it turned out that a couple servings of cod/haddock/other a week doesn’t cut the mustard. I’m under orders to load up on oily fish, and now one of my 2016 resolutions has been in place for a month. I’m sauteing up four servings of mackerel fillet each week, with a dash of salt and pepper and a splash of lemon juice. I’d really suggest giving it a go – it’s delicious, and much better than what I remembered from the canned mackerel that I remember as representative of that fish.

“Are you a sardine?” “No, Stu. I’m a mackerel.”

But notwithstanding that, my BP was pretty high when the nurse took it. Hence my forthcoming follow-up check-up. And given that little scare, I’ve been monitoring it pretty closely at home, too. It may be, as suggested by a recent visit the Western General Hospital’s Metabolic Clinic, that I’m suffering from “white coat syndrome”. That is, my blood pressure could be higher when it is taken in a medical setting than it is when taken at home, because of the associated nerves and tension.

And weirdly enough, this whole episode feels kind of encouraging. Since my release from hospital after the stroke – and the subsequent, eventual control of my blood pressure (for now) after a number of emergency room visits – my measured BP has tended to be lower in a medical setting.

But not being constantly under medical supervision and thus actually being more comfortable when a medical professional is in immediate attendance is a good thing, right?

Resolve to tune in next week to find out!
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