After too many weeks of illness I am at last approaching normal health – my voice still sounds as though I have been gargling a combination of broken glass, maracas and dog whistles, but otherwise I can almost pass for well – my wife, however, a good week or so behind me in disease progression, remains quite unwell and so occupies a different bed in a different room – although she has yet to decide to leave the house. She is not sleeping. She reads, she watches TV, she thinks of all the things I haven’t done. I know this because I lie awake listening to her. She is the noisiest non-sleeper I have ever known. Each time I stumble out of bed, trip over something, turn on the light, walk into the door, flush the toilet, turn off the light, walk into the other side of the door, trip over whatever I failed to pick up when I crossed the landing the first time and huff my way back into bed, I can hear her coughing.
My own cough, save for the obligatory morning hack, is now a thing of the past. I am quite able to hold a conversation with anybody who is in the least bit interested in talking to me (so I don’t talk much). I have yet to return to running – to be honest, I have yet to return to any form of exercise that does not involve chocolate or twelve year old malt – but I have begun to consider it. Currently my mind is telling me that it is a good idea whilst my body is telling me to get a life. Gulping down enough oxygen to make the end of the street is all that is currently holding me back.
I am left pondering upon a single unknown: have I taken so long to recover because this particular virus is insidious, ever-changing and particularly obstinate, or is it because I am getting old? I scour the internet for evidence of the former. I find nothing but proof of the latter. My contemporaries are dying in their droves. If you are my age and famous, you might as well hand in your cards: you are going to be on the news really soon. I wonder if we are a particularly unfit generation. I eat well (I refuse to believe that chocolate is anything but healthy), I exercise and I follow all of the doctor’s advice (except the bit about alcohol). I am generally well (except for when I am ill) and I can still do most of what I want to do without stopping for oxygen. I have four grandchildren and I would like to see them grow, but I want to enjoy them, and me, for as long as I can. I refuse to wrap myself in cotton wool (knowing my luck, I would be allergic to it anyway).
We all know that for most people the last few years, months or weeks of life are less than ideal, so I figure I need to have some decent memories to cling on to. If they involve me making a complete prat of myself, well… that’s fine. It’s kind of what I think I’m here for.
My weight has risen just a little bit (in elephant terms) over this period of illness and inaction, but my blood pressure and my heart rate have stayed pretty constant, so I think a return to the running shoes may be imminent (if I can muster the energy to tackle the laces) and a first run of 2023 could be just around the corner (where, perhaps with any luck, somebody else might live). Exercise bike first I think, then actual bike before putting in the plodding joyless running miles around the village, wondering when it was, exactly, that I became this stupid – perhaps a return to Couch to 5k might be the way forward. I’ll give it plenty of thought.
It doesn’t pay to rush things at my age…
Should you wish to know where all this old age exercise nonesense started, you could do worse than look at this post from May 2020.