Monday 24 September 2018

Bairbre Power: 'I was healthy except for a sore throat... then the GP rang'

 

Bairbre Power. Photo: Kieran Harnett
Bairbre Power. Photo: Kieran Harnett
Bairbre Power. Photo: Kieran Harnett
Ella Mills who popularised courgetti and spiralising
Bairbre Power

Bairbre Power

I'm not in and out of the doctor's surgery very often thank God, but I do 'mind' myself and I'm certainly getting more 'careful' in my old age. With regular trips away for work, I've assembled a little bag of cure-alls, from Nexium (dodgy tummy), Paracetamol (sore head), Motilium (travel sickness), Voltarol (bad back) and Rescue Remedy (airport stress). A recent addition is the DIY dental kit - just in case that problem front crown makes a burst for freedom again.

I really can't see myself mixing up cement on the spot with the mini apparatus but there again, vanity is a bitch at any age and if I'm about to go to an interview, I'll need my tooth in situ.

Last week, as the temperatures suddenly dropped, I was struck down with a dry sore throat. It came, like a burglar, in the middle of the night and kept me up until the wee hours, coughing and spluttering. So much so, the dog barked at me in annoyance and took herself off to a different bed. By 3.30am, I couldn't bear it anymore so I took myself downstairs to squeeze lemons and pour a drop of whiskey for a hot toddy.

I was disgusted there wasn't any honey. The dog watched me flinging open presses in frustration. There wasn't even one of those little hotel size ones I always throw in my bag, for occasions like this. The next morning I woke up late, exhausted with a big puffy, pasty face and red rimmed eyes. I looked like I'd been on a bender as opposed to awake half the night listening to Smooth FM. Down at the chemist, the helpful pharmacist told me there was a lot of that going. Change in weather, she said. I zoned in on a jar of Manuka honey and didn't flinch when she said it was €40. The memory of last night's tiresome dry coughing was too fresh in my mind. So I took myself off on Friday to a fancy lunch with a jar of honey and a plastic spoon where my make-up bag would normally be. Digging for honey relief, I spotted a phone call coming in on the new mobile. I looked at the number on the screen. It was from 'my hood', but so many people I know in my neighbourhood don't have landlines any more. It's one of the freedoms of the empty nester. Out go the kids followed by the landline, the need for super-fast wifi and satellite Tv with dozens of sports channels replaced by mobile phones and Netflix. No more Corrie for me!

Eventually the penny dropped. I recognised the number. It was my GP. What was my GP doing ringing me on a Friday afternoon? She hasn't seen me for well over a year. I was healthy except for a sore throat, bad back and the annoying clicky wrists that of course have come back as the mercury drops. It turns out the call was sparked from results from recent blood tests we had done at work. The numbers had thrown up a slight elevation in lipid profile (cholesterol) and liver function. The doctor reassured me not to worry, but the drama queen in me booked the first available appointment on Monday and I spent the weekend reading about cholesterol instead of diving into Cecelia Ahern's new book. Monday's visit showed that my blood pressure was normal and while I don't smoke or eat butter, olive oil, mayo, fatty foods or chips, I did fess up to liking confit of duck legs from Lidl served with the crispy skin on! I've slimmed down my desire for chocolate but there are still those collegiate 4.30pm journeys to the vending machine.

As for the alcohol, best to make it a weekend-only thing and keeping up my six miles a day walking, I'm going back for more blood tests in three months' time. By midweek, I was spouting like a born-again nutritionist and thirsty to explore more healthy eating options because the leaner you are, the better you'll age. 'Lower body fat and build muscle' was the mantra I was reciting as I trotted off to lunch with courgetti royalty, namely Ella Mills of Deliciously Ella fame who attended the launch of Holly White's new cookery book where she served courgetti, alongside lentils and other lovely things.

As anyone who cooks for one will agree, there is nothing as frustrating as facing into day three of Sunday's roast chicken. You certainly have a lot more flexibility in terms of not having to suit other tastes in the house, which is why I've decided this good life/good diet plan of mine will eulogise vegetables, especially the humble, much maligned courgette.

Irish Independent

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