Wednesday 14 November 2018

Bob the Pencil

No not those pencils! Those are Science Week pencils; today I'm a metaphorical pencil. Science Week is happenin' all over the country but I'm in The Institute somewhere near the middle. It turns out that I am somewhere in the middle in myself too, because I got my vitals tested by our 2nd Year Strength and Conditioning S&C students in their Annual Mini Health Check. I did this last year, which gives a base line and I got in early yesterday before the lines built up. Well friends, it seems I am wastin' away. Last year I clocked in at 72kg [which was my steady-as-she-goes aged 18-30 weight], now I'm reporting 68.7kg fully clothed. I am not so old that I've started to shrink through vertebral compression, so my BMI has slumped from 24 to 22. The S&C lads told me that my waist is now 81cm = 32 inches. No wonder my trews don't stay up.

The final stop in the Mini Health Check protocol was to have a Lifestyle Consult with an apprentice (younger than my daughters) to that trade. I presented my docket of results and said "Okay, tell me what to do, Doc". But the current feeling in the Life-style & Exercise profession is that they are not proscriptive: they've realised that telling people what to do [esp. if it comes from a beardless boy] will achieve no good outcome. Young feller replied:
"What do you think of the results?"
"Well I'm a professional biologist - that's my office up there - and I have an idea about what the terms mean and they look like average, so I can continue to occupy my sofa until I need to get up to bring in more fire-wood". Sofa? who mentioned sofa? Bring on the sofa, with the light, the lap-top, the stove, the kettle:
Then I had a thought.
"What would you say to a big fatty who came to you? Who might actually need some advice"
"I certainly wouldn't use that terminology, for starters!"
Touché, my fine young friend!
Well I could imagine the sort of advice which would be given for such a case in the form of Socratic questions like "How do you feel about a pile of profiterols?" and "Do you ever think that minutes  mowing the lawn is better than seconds at dinner?"
Then I had another thought.
"It must be a much harder conversation when you're presented with someone who is under the recommended BMI. What do you say to such a one?"
"Have you thought about seeing a nutritionist?" That's the answer given by my colleague, the S&C coach/teacher who was i/c the whole exercise.

When I'd finished, I came up to my office and reported my blood glucose to my roomie who is a pharmacist: "93 mg/dl" I said, "within the normal range, they said".
"When did you have breakfast?", she replied, looking a little anxious.
We both calmed down when I realised that she was using very different units (mmol/Lt) to record blood glucose in her shop and my mg/dl is about 20x what she would consider normal in her clients.
FYI Normal range between meals is 70-130 mg/dl = 4-7 mmol/Lt.
Blood pressure is 121/82 and my pulse-rate is 82bpm. That reminded me to be much less dogmatic about this sort of thing in Human Physiology class. I've been saying the adult pulse rate is 70bpm, but that's just the mean and there is quite a lot of flex (60-100bpm) to be still in the normal range.

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