Category Archives: Heart

So distracted

but that is little excuse for lack of blog-material. Maybe I should steal some. I was hoping for another 25 hour day, but the chances are we will lose most of our sleep to the ravings of the little one who is recovering from high temperatures and snotty noses (feels like more than one), so maybe a simpler, 24 hour option is ok really. Like sentences, days should be short enough and to the point.

Please take a look at this triangle (click on it, if you must save your eyesight),


which details some of the digital distractions of modern living. It does look kind of tasty if you are the kind of person who appreciates hierarchical taxonomies (unlike one of my readers.) However, I will be nice to him. He is coming up to three years since the heart attack and I’m not sure what one is supposed to do on such occasions. I was thinking of stopping the blog. However, it may be easier not to. Depending on how distracted I, um…

Triangle food is happy food

ice crea,

This is my new theory, stumbled across at lunchtime a month ago.

Since then I have been in a stupor (for stupor, read first trimester blues) and generally angry and unhappy, against all the odds. I have been making myself a lot of triangular food to cheer myself up, and my conclusion is that the hypothesis is correct. Let me explain, by way of images:





choc green triangle

You may have noticed a correlation between food with an acute angle and food which is not advisable after a heart attack. This is largely true, and can be attributed to the way that nature rarely provides these shapes in ready-to-eat snack-packs. Not so clever for fruit to grow in this way (bunches of grapes don’t count, as they don’t have the critical angle on closer inspection). Most of these foods are man-made and deliberately triangle-shaped.

So, what would happen if you wanted to market something in the shape of an apple, say?

If you want it to be a happy feel-good thing, it would probably turn out like this:


Inventing Sports

In this country we are good at inventing sports for other people to beat us at.

Maybe the Olympic organisers ought to be asking local villages in the UK what they would include in the 2012 bonus features. Cheese-rolling (Men’s 200m) or Bog-snorkelling (coxless)? Even darts was under serious consideration I believe. Don’t they understand darts are bad for your health? And also dart-related injuries, such as drinking, smoking and sitting around with greasy food. In my opinion, all sport is bad for health, as proved by Sporting Injuries.

On a completely unrelated topic, I believe America (United States of) are good at inventing sports no one else wants to be beaten at. If you want to be a real empire, you gotta mark out a few pitches and start a few leagues. However, they are Real Sportsmenandwomen, and take beating other people a lot more seriously than we do. So we can be sure that London 2012 will not be dominated by British talent in the same way that China dominated 2008 or the US dominated almost every other Olympic games this side of Ancient Greece.

Why doesn’t China invent a few sports?

Maybe they should invent more technology. I feel that is the way it may go. However, in the West we have an insatiable dual appetite for entertainment and ridiculing our politicians, which may be our downfall. Take a look at this, for example. If you are not already aware of the phenomenon that is Autotune the News you may be a little confused. Hopefully you will find some humour in it. In any case, let’s not recommend this sort of thing to any passing Olympic Committee. It isn’t quite the thing.

More Joe Green

It is now almost official that opera is good for your heart. As long as there are no frightening bits and you don’t have to run to get there on time, I suppose.

Verdi is apparently the best as the phrasing is just right.

I don’t know what kind of art is best for your heart, but I think some of the sheep on this clip might need some medical attention (e.g. a cholesterol check) before too long. Maybe they are GM.

Heart attack care to bypass Ipswich

If you like polls, you may be interested in one being run by the local Evening Star here in Ipswich.

It appears that those who have a heart attack in Suffolk on or after 1st June will have to be taken out of county. This decision was taken by bosses on the quiet. Politicians, charities and even the local PCT were in the dark until the newspapers released the story this week. Suffolk’s connections to the three regional hospitals offering the care are not great, and many people live in rural or coastal areas, miles from the fast roads. Even the kind of care has changed and the length of time recommended to get to the hospitals has mysteriously crept up to fit to typical journey times. More on the story here. Even councillors are up in arms about it!

Even if you are not the kind of person to vote on local newspaper polls, perhaps you would want to email the Evening Star with your views at or write to them at Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN. They are running a campaign to stop this change going ahead.

Dad was treated for his heart attack at Ipswich Hospital and then Papworth in October 2006. One of the things that kept me going in those frightening first few minutes when I first found out, was knowing that he could be got to Ipswich Hospital within a short time. The alternatives are much further from where he lives.

This is not the first service to be removed from Ipswich Hospital, although it certainly matters enormously as heart attack patients need to be seen quickly.



A letter arrived on my doormat this morning which warmed the cockles of mi cawber. I am now the proud owner of a £5 voucher, good for redeeming against any Covent Garden Food Company produce.

Ooh, decisions. Shall I spend it all at once?

Christmas Dinner

Traditional turkey cooking times:
• small bird – twenty minutes per pound + 20 minutes
• large bird – fifteen minutes per pound + 15 minutes

Christmas turkeys will range from 3kg up to 11kg so there is no point buying a 11kg if there are just 2 people eating it!
• 4kg Turkey will feed about 6 people with not much in the way of leftovers
• 7-8kg Turkey will feed up to 10 people
• 10-11kg Turkey will feed plenty of people, maybe 15-20 

1 pound = 0.454 kilograms
1 kg = 2.2 pounds

1. You have to feed 6 people at 12:00 – what time do you need to start the turkey roasting? Show all your working out!

2. What difference does it make if you have to feed 12 people?

Dynamic Statins

Ok, this is worth knowing.

Statins (as I understand it, drugs given to help lower cholesterol), are also very useful for those who are healthy. Read all about it. How healthy one has to be, I do not know. It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. There’s lots to discuss there, but I don’t have the time.

Let me quote the article. ‘Overall, the chance of a heart attack, stroke, hospital admission for chest pain or death from cardiovascular disease was cut by 44%, researchers said.’ And this is for a large group of 17,800 men and women.

Well, as I teach statistics, I often cringe when I see them reported. In the marrying of precision mathematics and precise language, reporters often have to choose between making an article exciting or accurate. You can’t have both, which is one reason why maths coursework has been axed. Anyway, I took a look at the claim. A lot of healthy-ish people were given a drug they wouldn’t normally be prescribed, and in the event, their chance of dying from a heart problem was dramatically cut.

In other words, you could take drugs which you don’t officially need and still have a heart attack. This is enough to put some people right off, but then some people still play the lottery. Overall, however, most people would seem to do better for it, and the side effects are minimal with this particular statin.

‘So, where do I get some?’ I thought to myself?

Then I realised the shocking truth.

I am probably Not That Healthy.

I have not been in full ownership of my body for (12 + 9 =) 21 months now, but recently stopping feeding Lily might help that. Even so, I could have been exercising, but I have not been. I could have been changing my eating patterns, but I still eat unhealthy foods. I could have made sure I drank enough water, but I haven’t been.

I am the kind of person who thinks that the public ought to meet the NHS halfway. Smokers ought to make serious efforts to quit, that sort of thing.

So really, I am being a hypocrite if I say that I ought to sign up for statins as soon as I can, if my lifestyle is not suited to developing a healthy heart.

It begins with me.

But I’m not feeling all that well today, so I will put it off a bit.


It is two years since my dad’s heart attack today, or 731 days, if you prefer to count it that way. It would have been 730, but we had a leap year.

It interests me that my little girl will be turning one at precisely 366 days old, which puts her in a select minority who have to wait that little bit longer for the celebrations to begin. We hardly know how to celebrate a first birthday at our house, not remembering much about each of our own. So far the plans involve me making a rag doll and a sponge cake, my husband collecting some balloons and empty boxes and an idea or two about messy play. We may or may not have grandparents about on the day, owing to other commitments locally and a baby expected in the north of England. In any case, changing the day seems not to matter for the sake of enjoying time together. We had a ‘pre-birthday get-together’ with Lily and all six of her parents and grandparents on Sunday and had a walk in the countryside, which was lovely. Dad had cooked one of his roast chickens using a spray for the roast potatoes to keep them healthy and taught me the difference between hips and haws (it’s a whole different ball game).

In my opinion good company and good food are some of the greatest pleasures in life. But perhaps I am oversimplifying. Maslow would have agreed in part. Each evening in my diary I record the best thing that happened that day, and often it involves food or encounters with people. I realised recently that I have been keeping a basic diary of facts for 15 years. I have learnt that I spend a large number of days not achieving great things or paying off the whole mortgage, but I know I am travelling in the right general direction. It is the little things that make the big differences. Who cares that Lily will be 366 days? Or 365 days? These are only arbitrary timescales on which we can hang some well-earned celebrations.

What is more important is how I parent her daily, how I nourish her in all aspects of her development. I cannot treat her as a statistic, but as a little person who needs our love and care and will accept our imperfect and sometimes disappointing parenting. I cannot fix dad’s health completely either, but his daily routines are improving his stamina and reducing his cholesterol levels. He walks at quite a pace now, even when he is teaching you.

Each day matters, because each of us matter. Some days are special, which is good for us all. Some days aren’t special on paper, but they are needed as part of the overall sum. And some birthday cakes are technically not great for people who are very young or who do not eat saturated fats.

Pure Hearts and Wet Feet

This is the title of my sermon for tomorrow evening.

There is a verse in the Psalms that says ‘Create in me a pure heart, O God’. Actually it is half of a verse (Psalm 51:10). I am leading a meditation on what each part of it means.

The Wet Feet element is so that there is something to draw the crowds in when they see the title, and because I often feel like my heart isn’t pure enough, even when I mean well (just like Peter when he wants to walk on the water like Jesus in Matthew 14).

In a physical sense, having wet feet is not necessarily conducive to having a healthy heart – unless you are swimming regularly perhaps.

The heart in the Old Testament though isn’t the physical heart, but the centre of the human spirit. The place where emotions, thought, motivations, courage and actions take root. The inner person, you might say today.

I want to have a pure heart, even when I don’t feel like stepping out of the boat. Having a distorted and self-absorbed way of living is never very fulfilling. I have been praying this verse a lot in recent weeks and have discovered God changing me and my attitudes in all kinds of ways. I’m not there yet. It doesn’t matter if it is only me who is changed by this. I can’t change anyone else, but if I am changed, the world is a better place.

Being pure isn’t trendy unless you are a bottle of water.

Getting your priorities right sometimes means not minding if other people think you are a little wet.