Belatedly, I have begun my new year resolutions which are:

1. To keep this blog regularly updated and

2. To recover physically from the injuries inflicted during 2018 – notably the fall and broken arm last August, which put paid to driving a car and walking with Archie for a number of weeks.

By making these resolutions public, I hope to stick to them and to bore readers of this blog with regular progress reports.

Ice on Deeside is making life treacherous for some of us at the moment and I am determined not to hit the ground again this year. Exercise, therefore, must needs be taken inside. At home I have an exercise bike which proudly the displays the logo “Body Sculpture”. Well, we can all dream of that Michelangelo-type figure, which, as luck would have it, is david michelangelonot unlike my own. As the original of David is readily available on the internet, I don’t need to prove that statement by displaying my personal replica of that magnificence. Here’s what Michelangelo created, so all you need do is simply re-imagine that figure as a Scotsman with a beard.

Stroke survivors, and possibly many others, will recognise the feeling of wobbly legs and total physical exhaustion associated with exercise bikes – and that’s while getting on the bike, let alone the feeling after 5 or 10 minutes hard exercise and then getting off it again.

Having spent several sessions of simply pedalling as fast as possible, both with and without resistance, I have now embarked on the sessions that come pre-programmed into the bike. They are not arranged in level of difficulty, but come in fixed 20-minute blocks with a graph showing the imaginary hills and slopes that have to be negotiated. Program 1 looked the most appealing to me, though I have to say “appealing” is a relative term. All of them look horribly spiky and daunting, but program 1 is displayed as a round fairly even dome rising from the foothills of level 1, ascending via resistance levels 5 and 7 to the summit of killer level 9, before dipping to level 7, then ascending again to the twin peak of level 9, followed by an ever so gradual descent to level 1. No freewheeling allowed. The graph looks something like this:






I am assured by physiotherapists that regularly punishing myself in this way will build up strength and stamina. Because I am an optimist I choose to believe them, although after running through Program 1 for the first time, I was in no fit state to do anything other than collapse and gasp for water. After 20 minutes of seemingly endless pedalling I had negotiated the slopes and allegedly covered a distance of 6.8 kilometres. A few days in, and I have broken the 7 km barrier, and today clocked up 7.15 km. Perhaps the physios are right after all.

The trouble is, this biking on a static bike going nowhere is boring, boring, b-o-r-i-n-g. The devil on my shoulder says “Don’t bother, son.” So either I have to get music, a radio or a personal trainer to keep my interest, or I have to make public the fact that I’m doing it – hence this post.

One of the buzzwords in health care at the moment is self-management. This is the theory that people with long-term conditions, like stroke, can learn to self-manage their condition. Personally, I need that self-management to be supported self-management, because otherwise the will is lacking. In the absence of a personal trainer to provide that support, I ask you, dear reader, to provide that support by making it your resolution to follow this blog through the ups and downs of 2019 – just don’t set your resistance to level 9.

Finally, you may care to read my article about the current state of stroke care in Scotland in this week’s Scottish Review.


About Eric Sinclair

Writer, stroke survivor, whippet owner, music lover, charity volunteer
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5 Responses to Resolutions

  1. Corkappy says:

    Hi Eric,

    Interesting content pithily expressed.

    Belated new year’s greetings to yourself and Jo.

    Let me tell you that we – you and I – are now partners in physical misfortune.

    On January1st we were all in Castlegregory, Kerry, having gone down the previous day to celebrate the new year with Kevin Junior and his wife Ann-Marie. A great time was had by all until it was time to go home at about 7.30pm on the 1st,

    Castlegregory is a beautiful spot in North Kerry, famous also for being in the ‘black sky’ region i.e no light pollution. That was my undoing. I took Ben dog out into their garden to let him have a last pee/poo in their acre of a garden. Having satisfied nature, Ben galloped back towards the house, me running as well in jolly puesuit…a thing I always do on daily walks. Anyhow, the house is divided from the garden by a concrete patio and there is a slightly upraised concrete border that prevents the grass encroaching on the concrete patio. I imagine you’re way ahead of me at this point, but I’ll say it anyway: I completely forgot about that border, tripped and went down with a fair old wallop on my left knee, cracking a bone in my patella. Maeve drove us home – a 120km trip – with me nursing the throbbing knee with an ice pack. Next day up to the hospital; x-ray confirmed what I’d thought, and I was fitted with a leg brace that comes off for washing and sleeping. As a result of the mishap I have a new mode of personal transport as you can see from the attachment. The result is that I can’t go upstairs to wash/shower, so Phyllis has to wash me down in the back kitchen while I keep a rimly firm grip on the frame. I’ve an appointment at the fracture clinic on January 30th, so maybe all willl be well at that point, I’m lucky in that I haven’t had any pain apart from the first few days, but the limited movement is a severe pain the arse! Back in the day you had a little song that proposed the notion that for persona satisfaction you preferred to use your hand. Well, at the moment, for personal satisfaction as in a pee or a poo, I have to use the frame! Still, it could be worse; I could have broken my wrist in the fall, but whipped my hand away from the ground in the last second and just grazed my shoulder.

    Apart from the above, life is pretty good. I am slowly and appreciatively sipping my way through the nine bottles of Wuerttemberg wine I had sent in the Probierpaket from the vineyard in Struempfelbach. Their Chardonnay absolutely delicious, the Lemberger divine, and the Riesling a dream. I have meals and drinks served to me on the sofa by my devoted lady wife, so it’s a case of Glueck im Unglueck.

    So Salmond has been a naughty boy? Dear me; I thought he’d be aware of the dangers of getting too close for ladies’ comfort, but then again, look at Clinton and Trump. I suppose when you’re the big boy you think you’re untouchable.

    Brexit and Trump seem so much of a piece: disorder, chaos, division. I can imagine Putin sitting down to watch events in GB and USA, smiling to himself as he downs a celebratory vodka at a job well done. There’s a brilliant Asterix comic called The Roman Spy in which a small, grubby, insignificant individual is brought to Caesar with the news that he (the spy) would bring about the destruction of Asterix’s village in Gaul by his capacity to make even the best of friends turn against each other…I strongly recommend you read the comic and you’ll find yourself thinking of Trump, Ree-Mogg, Richard Murdoch, Putin and many other horses’ tits in world politics

    All de best to you and your for now,


  2. Helen Corrigan says:

    Good luck with your new year resolutions. I have given up making them!!!

    • Eric Sinclair says:

      Thanks Helen. I can understand why, however, as a mere man I need these targets and potential challenges to my pride to keep me motivated. Trust all well with you and your family.

  3. Fiona Maclean says:

    Good luck Eric it’s tough trying to use an exercise bike and I have found that watching TV or listening to the music and trying to sing the songs we have to perform in the Banchory Singers helps and also there is the Fitbit which challenges a person all day and congratulates if achievement is made! See you at the next Writer’s session.

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