If It Disney Work, Just Keep Trying…

Four things have dominated the LCFN timeline this week:

  • Disneyland
  • CHADSVASC
  • Storm Barbie
  • TCNGC17

So let’s crack on and take ‘em in that order…

This time last week, I’d never heard of Matt Denning, nor, I guess, had you. I know Matt’s a (fellow) Brummie cos I’ve seen the Disney videos, but I don’t know whether he’s a Baggie, a Doghead, A Bluenose or a Saddler. I sure as hell hope he ain’t a Villain…

Matt runs a charity that he founded in 2011 called Matt’s Mission. His goal is actually very simple and goes straight to the heart of the matter: making children’s smiles glow (I pinched that off his logo). Matt’s website is http://mattsmission.co.uk/ but here’s the crux of what he does:

The charity’s aim is to give families VIP trips so that they can have quality time together which is often lost when the child is in hospital. The charity also supports the siblings as they also go through many emotions when their brother or sister is poorly as well. The charity supports severely disabled, and life limited children and children with life threatening illnesses.

From where I’m sat, Matt Denning looks like a bloke with a fantastic big heart. I do hope he’s a Baggie. The first I got to know that something was afoot was when I noticed that Gail had taken down a post on Facebook a wee while back, before Cerys spotted it. Even if it wasn’t gonna give the game away, it was obviously gonna get her wondering what mummy was up to…

So last weekend, the Facebook posts started popping up about Princess Puddles being in London. Nice, a wee weekend away after a difficult year. Nope, more than that. Saturday morning, a video popped up of Eileidh and Cerys getting ambushed at the Eurostar hub in London, by Matt, spilling the beans that they were going to Disneyland. The girls hadn’t a Scooby Doo. Nor me. I must apologise to Gail at this point because when I see photos +178, I know I don’t have the time to go through them all: I just wait on the best ones appearing from some other source. The videos were great, the photos that I saw were great, but something else was extra special about the stuff that I saw: other people’s kids were just sitting there, or just standing there, looking at this wee Princess having THE time of her life. This is the Princess Puddles that I fell in love with; this is the Princess Puddles that half of Australia (slight exaggeration…) has fallen in love with; this is the young lady that, going into 2017, sets the standard for dealing with all the sh!t that life can throw at you.

See when they’re giving the gongs away next week: just give one to Puddles. As in make it happen. Dame Puddles of Forres.

Santa has already delivered the best present ever to Eileidh and Cerys and Christmas Day is still two sleeps away.

Matt Denning… Gud jab mate. Brummies one n all.

So with all these wonderful images flooding in from Paris, I was left to go about the day job (the one on the bike). In the old days, when I was employed with security, I used to think of myself as a careerist with a bike hobby. These days, post redundancy, I look upon myself as a bike hobbiest with a special interest job: that’s not to say that I don’t like my job, or that it somehow takes second place: no, I weave my creative self in and around my hobbiest job by having ideas out on the road then coming back and trying them out in my development work.

Let me tell you a story: this actually happened today. If you didn’t read last week’s blog, then I would ask you follow this link because it’s relevant to what’s coming up https://lifecycleforneuroblastoma.com/a-stroke-of-luck/

This week, every time that I’ve been out on the road, something has been bugging me. Being out on the road is my thinking time. I know I’m concentrating on other stuff, like trying to stay onboard in the dark, but when work is fun, as well as being work, then thinking about it is stimulating and creative instead of being a pain in the arse.

So here’s the deal, on the back of last week’s blog (which hopefully you’ve read now), there’s a metric called CHADSVASC, which in medical terms estimates your risk of having a stroke. This bit was in last week’s story but I’ll reproduce it here to keep everything in focus:

C             Congestive heart failure

H             Hypertension

A             Age

D             Diabetes

S              Stroke

Vasc       Vascular disease

And finally…

G             Gender

If you have C, H, D or V, you score a point for each. If you are aged between 65 and 74, you also score a point. If you’re 75 or over, you score two points. And if you’re a woman, you score another point: sorry girls. Add that lot up, and you have a score. If you have AF, then the CHADSVASC score defines your chances of having a stroke. Roughly speaking, if you score 2, you stand a 2% chance of having a stroke in the coming twelve months. 3 and it’s 3%; 4 and it’s 4%; 5 and it’s almost 7% etc.

And here’s the bit that’s bugging me: you only have a CHADSVASC risk score on your medical record if you have Atrial Fibrillation (that’s an irregular heartbeat, by the way). If you’re non-AF, then you won’t have a score.

But surely the risk score matters, whether or not you have AF?

That’s my question.

Suppose I’m type 2 diabetic, and I have hypertension (high blood pressure) and I’m female and I’m 66. Surely that risk score of 4 is gonna ring alarm bells: after all, there’s a 4% chance that I’m gonna have a stroke in the next twelve months. Throw in a wee bit of heart disease and suddenly you’re up at a five. Nope, you’re under the radar…

So last week I made an appointment to see my GP. He’s a fabulous bloke: the best GP I’ve ever had. The appointment was today. I walked in, we shook hands, as per normal, then I informed him that I’d never felt better. “Nothing wrong with me”…. Well, you can imagine his response: it was a bit like a scene from Flowery Twats.

Constrained by time, I then explained (a) what I’m doing (b) why I’m doing it (c) I’m concerned that people with a significant CHADSVASC score are walking about, under the radar.

We concurred.

So after my spiffingly good doctor explained that there’s actually no money to be made in researching this, we also agreed that it was a fundamentally good thing to do: to prolong the quality of people’s lives by detecting and documenting their risk…

2017, you’re looking good already.

Next: Barbie Girl…

The media has been going apeshit all week about Storm Barbie. Windguru told me ten days ago that Friday into Sunday was gonna be sh!t. I knew, I had time to think about it, and I was “yeah, bring it on!” Let me give this a bit of perspective: I’ve ridden across the Fenwick Muir in the dark in 50mph of lashing rain; I’ve stood on the pedals in the pitch black, giving it every last ounce of power, to maintain about 2mph on the Fenwick Muir in said lashing rain just to stay upright. I’ve even done it at 3am to keep the wind down to 40mph. Been there, done that: worn the T shirt. So now I look upon a wee storm as fun time, my fun time.

Barbie was fun.

While Scotfail was busy telling the folk that stay in Kilmaurs, Stewarton, Dunlop and Borrheid that you were gonna get a reduced train service this afternoon because their on time KPI’s (in Glasgow Central) matter more than your journey, the LifeCycle Man was out there, getting smashed in the wind, and having fun. Actually that’s a fib: see hedgerows out in the countryside: they offer great protection when you’re on a road bike… you just gotta use your head and pick the right route. Today was fabulous fun. 4C, lashing rain, loads (Princess) puddles and the outcome was never in doubt: more miles, cos on this journey, we just don’t do giving up.

So Barbie, thanks for the ride. It was fun, but here’s to the next time. I ain’t missed a day in December yet…

And finally: but this is just a taster… TCNGC17

TCN is The Celtic Network. It drives my Inverness supporting mates mad cos they think I’ve turned. No, I’ve been accepted: for what I am and what I do. There’s a difference. The Celtic Network is the hub of Celtic FC websites across the globe. TCN hooked onto LCFN back in 2013 simply because it was a ludicrous challenge to take on: and they’ve been promoting the bike ride ever since. It’s a match made in heaven: facing up to ridiculous odds stacked against you, but coming out on top. A bit like dealing with the SFA.

Next week, as 2016 draws to a close, I’m gonna pen a special one-off blog dedicated to TCNGC17, as a wee taster of what’s to come. The 17, if you haven’t already guessed, is 2017. It’s gonna be a good read, because these are some seriously charitable guys.

Have a very Merry Christmas, and remember, if it Disney Work, Just Keep Trying…