Scales of justice

10:35 pm : Sunday, 14 February 2021  | 


For the past month I have been on the weight loss tablet Orlistat - usually available under the brand name Xenical. This has been to (obviously) enable me to lose some weight - something that is difficult to do when your movement is hindered by arthritis and back pain. As much as I would love to walk for two hours a day, like I did in London, my body just will not allow that at the moment. That said, there may be a chance that the slimmer me would still be similarly affected. Arthritis is degenerative and shall not be cured, unless you are afforded joint replacements.

In this one month I have managed to say goodbye to a very decent one and a half stone (21 lbs/9.5 kg). My heaviest ever weight of 21 and a half stone is now down to 20 stone (280 lbs/127 kg). There is still another 7 stone (98 lbs/44.5 kg) to be lost, but I am utterly satisfied so far. My belt can be tightened three holes smaller.

Whether I make it back to being 11 stone (154 lbs/70 kg) again remains to be seen, but I am so glad that my doctor saw fit to put me on this tablet. It is by no means a miracle cure or a passport to eat what you like. Rules have to be followed. As it is a fat absorber, it will allow fat to pass through the body undigested, which results in oily stools and serious gas. Comsuming a lot of fat will result in severe urgency and possible leakage. This fact therefore ensures that you eat less fat. Adapting to smaller portions is also essential, and I am at last managing to eat a meal and not feel like I want a second helping.

It is a shame to have to rely on a tablet to undo my own evil creation, but then I did not bank on having arthritis. These ailments are never offered or even selected as a lifestyle choice. While the old-fashioned maxim of eat less, move more will always hold true, some of us are limited in movement. Nevertheless, here's to more lard being discarded.

We prick you

8:46 pm : Wednesday, 10 February 2021  | 


Yesterday afternoon we received our COVID vaccinations. It was the Oxford/AstraZeneca version, which apparently is not so effective in dealing with the Sarth Effriker variant, but so be it. Transporting vaccines at -70°C is not exactly practical. We were told of possible side-effects, and that we would be receiving our second jabs in 12 weeks time.

It was about 11 pm when my normally arthritic knees and feet were giving me grief, and my legs were becoming stiff and painful. Not to worry, I'll put on the heated underblanket and soothe away the aches as I sleep. Climbing into that toasty bed was just wonderful. I lay there thinking: "Yessss! Sooooothe me!", and the cat came and settled on the bed by my feet. "Let us drift off into the Universe, eh pud!"

Two hours later I awake, needing a pee. Such is the benefit of having an enlarged prostate. My legs somehow struggled to carry me to the bathroom, but I made it there and back, and eagerly got back into bed seeking relief once more. Trouble was, my legs now felt like they were being seriously cooked by the heated underblanket, so I turned it down, and then had the difficult choice of whether to have my arms in or out of the bedclothes! Arms inside I was too hot, arms outside I was shivering. Baking hot legs and a now restless head. This was fever time. In all of my 48 years I have somehow managed to never suffer a fever, so there was no preparation for this.

Seriously uncomfortable, I settled on the sofa with a blanket, which alone left me feeling too warm. It was then I started to feel as though I was on a peyote trip. It was just not pleasant, and I could not settle. Any sleep I did get was accompanied by the standard sort of dream I get when ill - where I am stuck in some kind of Tron-like world, forever condemned to spin plates or play chess. Clearly the vaccine was working its magic, and I was fighting it at the severe expense of all comfort and sanity.

All that has now passed, and it is great to once again be hobbling at my usual pace. One thing to bear in mind though - when I get the second jab, the side-effects will apparently be greater. So there's something to look forward to. More hot flushes and crippling aches. It's the price we must pay for safety.