A Slow Recovery, Slower than Expected

Mon 17 – Sun 23 April 2023

A sad week with the loss of comic genius Barry Humphries. Though a good week in the not-sad-at-all loss of Dominic Raab. Meanwhile, in my previous blog (read it here), I wrote about how the arrival of a heavy cold / light flu totally threw my plans off-course. The week gone has been about recovery but it has been much more of a slow recovery than I was expecting and hoping for.

I recall someone once said to me that recovery from a cold / flu takes about a fortnight. I constantly forget this but that has definitely been true of where I am now as I have lived through the second week of illness.

And the onset of disease followed by a slower recovery than I would like is definitely becoming a theme in my life. And often things never get back to as good as they were.

Health and Efficiency

My ongoing slow recovery

Perhaps it’s an age thing, but I always expect to recover quickly from illness. I wonder if I’m living on how I could quickly come back when I was younger? Akin to how I used to be able to put on and take off weight relatively easily which is not the case at all now.

The mucus and catarrh has lessened but has still not totally gone – still getting through the handkerchiefs. I’ve had several days when my sinuses have felt totally blocked and the pressure is giving me headaches. In fact, I’m still on my ultra hot lemon drinks though the rate of intake is reducing. Latest big thing is that I have really lost my voice and been finding it hard to speak.


This was a major thing the week before last. As in, that I kept needing to have crash outs during the day to recuperate. That situation has improved in that there have been some afternoon snoozes but it’s not been every day like before or even whole days given over to sleep.

Sleep at night has been better. Slow recovery means not waking up during the night because I can’t breathe. Indeed, I was so excited to wake on Tuesday morning after what felt like had been a perfect night’s sleep. But it was really the only one like that last week.

Tired man asleep or despondent

Gym – good news

Despite my slow recovery, I was determined to get back to some sort of normality with gym attendance. Not least because I only had one single little visit the week before due to this bloody illness. Big success to report that I made it to the gym three times last week. The usual mornings of Mon, Wed, and Fri.

All decent sessions though not pushing myself on heavy weights at all and a lot of sweatiness very much due to the bugs still in my system. Did have to cut Monday’s session short unexpectedly due to stomach problems. Definitely connected to my illness as I have never had this happen before. But important to listen to what your body is saying and not pushing things when you are going through a slow recovery.

My slow recovery

39 gym sessions since the start of 2023 divided by the annual membership = £12.70 per session.

Jog-run – more good news

Also managed to get in one of these last week. Took place on Thursday morning and I managed to do 28 mins as per the Couch to 5K programme. It actually went really well and I covered over 4 km during that time and had some good sets of time per km. Think I’m benefiting from the significant weight loss I’ve achieved and the enforced resting of my knee through illness.

No jog-run on Sunday morning as my usual course is impacted by the London Marathon. It would all be too chaotic. But perhaps the rest day is a useful component of my slow recovery and will mean I do an equally good jog-run next Thursday.

a form of exercise

Weight – and even more good news

Another small loss taking my weight to about 13 stone, 2 & a half pounds. This really is about a stone lighter than where I was when my job contract finished in December. I am really pleased though a little surprised how things have moved so fast.

There can be no doubt that my current fortnight long period of illness has had a significant impact. I really have lost my appetite and felt like puking when eating. But I can now feel my appetite starting to come back as part of my slow recovery…

Family and Friends

Mum’s eye test

Managed to spend a bit more time with mum than the previous week when I was basically quarantined at Dave’s so as not to infect her. I’m pretty sure I’m not infectious as no-one else seems to have caught what I’ve got. It feels like the potentially infectious period is past but my body is still struggling to get back to normal – hence my ‘slow recovery’.

Big thing that happened last week was that I took mum for an eye test. It’s been a while since she had been and it was clear that her current glasses weren’t up to standard. As predicted, she needs new glasses both for reading and distance. She’s also got cataracts and has been given a letter to take to her doctor’s. Be interesting to see how long a referral / operation takes to happen.

Emma from Australia

Big meet last week was with my wonderful friend (and old work colleague) who now lives in Australia. After my jog-run on Thursday, me and Dave took a nice train trip together to Haywards Heath to meet for lunch. A very decent day weather-wise (at least until we got back to London) made things very pleasant and a good part of my ongoing slow recovery.

We ate at a nice trendy cafe bar and it was so good to see Em. She and her partner are doing great. But there are things to be dealt with in England. And that is the problem of living on the other side of the world when you need to come back to sort stuff out.

We also talked about mine and Dave’s plans to visit Australia in the future. Dave would love to go for the Commonwealth Games in Victoria in 2026. What we do need to do is plan a big visit where we can spend several weeks / months there to travel across the whole country catching up with our various friends who live in lots of different places. I suspect I will only have one visit to Australia before I die.

Plane flying

Books and Reading

‘A Natural’ by Ross Raisin – a serious gay novel

Couple of very good books completed during my slow recovery last week. This one was written in 2017 and has been sitting on my bookshelves calling out to be read – alongside the hundreds of others. Raisin himself is very much an up and coming British literary star. Be interesting to see if he can fulfil that or whether the pressure and expectation prove to be too much as happens to so many.

This is a great book which I really enjoyed. It’s the story of a gay footballer which is a very popular thing in entertainment these days. But it’s much more than a first love / coming out / everything is great type of book that you might expect. It’s a book with many themes beyond just coming to terms with sexuality. Toxic masculinity and male group mentality feature. As does the crazy pressure cooker atmosphere of professional football as well as career and relationship failure.

A lovely multi-stranded book that certainly doesn’t have a happy ending. But neither is it a sad one. It’s simply a reflection that life goes on and the story never really ends rather it evolves. A reminder of the theme from last week’s blog that we make plans and God laughs.

‘What is History, Now?’ edited by Helen Carr and Suzannah Lipscomb

I have been reading this book on my kindle over the last couple of weeks as I have been moving around. Abnormal to my usual fiction as it’s a selection of very contemporary essays. In 1961, the famous historian E.H. Carr wrote a seminal book called ‘What is history?’. Based on a series of lectures, he reflected on what history meant at that time.

This collection of essays provides an update on how representations of history have changed in the intervening sixty years. It’s an ongoing refutation of the cozey idea which once existed that ‘perfect’ history could be achieved. That if the facts could be recorded totally accurately then that is all that was needed.

But we now know that views of history constantly change very much influenced by the themes and ideas that are dominant during the period any history is written. Some fascinating essays here covering many ideas and discussions that we need to take on board in society now in a broader context.

Themes such as the importance of not being Euro-centric, how to move on from imperial perspectives, using non-traditional source materials to tell stories, and how to listen to voices from traditionally excluded groups. What is fascinating is to think how views and representations of history will change over the next 60 years.

The future - next exit

Art and Culture

Steven Brinberg is Simply Barbra

With Dave and our friend Pearce to see Steven Brinberg’s show ‘Simply Barbra’ on Thursday evening. Steven performs as Barbra Streisand – more details can be found here. My Dave is a big Streisand fan, me not so. Dave really wanted to go and I agreed as we all do things to keep our partners happy. To be fair to Dave, he was very aware of my slow recovery and suggested I stay at home but I wanted to see the show as I knew it meant a lot to him.

The show took place at The Crazy Coqs venue at Zedel in Piccadilly. It’s a great place, an intimate cabaret venue. The show was great fun. I didn’t get all the Streisand gags but Dave and Pearce totally did. Steven has a great voice and in a full venue with champagne and food, it was a really nice atmosphere. Didn’t feel 100% but what the doctor ordered as it was also an early evening event.

Afterwards, we went for coffee and had a nice catch up despite my voice being hard work. Bit chilly and not quite the right weather for sitting out to enjoy the night scene. But me and Dave were back at his place by 10.30. Overall, a fun evening and the sort of evenings I would like to do more of as the weather improves.

outside a street cafe at night


A stripped back balcony

A good week in that Extinction Rebellion brought protest and carnival to the streets of central London. But a sad week in that we’ve had to really clear Dave’s balconies of plants. Despite him having won an award from the Housing Association and the ongoing climate crisis, they now think that plants on the balconies are a fire risk. Not sure that was the reason why so many people died at Grenfell…

He is allowed a minimal amount so we’ve had to strip them back to basics. Hopefully the birds will still come and visit even though it’s a far more barren space.

Close up of a blue tit

Personal Development

Need to create a good habit for non-gym days

Not a great week in terms of language learning. I got back to the gym which meant I could do elements of Duolingo whilst resting between reps. But I really didn’t do much on my non-gym days. Busy on Thurs with Emma but on other days not much excuse. I have created this good habit of doing Duolingo whilst at the gym. But I also need to create an equally positive habit that means I also do the language learning on my ‘days off’.

The Week Ahead

  • Going to push on with my slow recovery. Into the third week of illness…
  • Big 6 month meeting with my HIV consultant on Wed. Should be straight forward hopefully.
  • Next weekend, me and Dave are taking my mum up to see Dave’s mum as the latter has her 85th birthday! A weekend up north as part of my return to wellness.
  • Must not let my renewed appetite take control and start putting weight back on
  • Credit where credit is due and QPR did well last week. A 1-1 home draw with Norwich but a 2-1 defeat of league leaders Burnley at Turf Moor on Saturday! I was expecting a 7-0 defeat. Some breathing space in the relegation zone but still too tight for comfort. Stoke away next week and a big reliance on the results of the teams around us.

And Finally…

The genius of Cold War Steve

Cold War Steve

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