Notes by Nectar

Your destiny lies in your own hands

The final few

I went to the gym on Sunday – thankfully two of the treadmills were working, my favourite one is still broken though. I did the Fitness22.com workout for Week 2, Day 1 which consisted of:

  • Warmup x 5 min
  • Run x 1.5 min
  • Walk x  2 min
  • Run x 1.5 min
  • Walk x 2 min
  • Run x 1.5 min
  • Walk x 2 min
  • Run x 1.5 min
  • Walk x 2 min
  • Run x 1 min
  • Walk x 1.5 min
  • Run x 1 min
  • Walk x 1.5 min
  • Cooldown x 5 min

I alternated between 5.5 km/h and 7.5 km/h and it wasn’t too bad. I did feel, however, that the speed of the treadmill would slow down for a second or two at random times. At first I thought I was losing my balance while I was running, but when it happened again the next time I ran I realised it was a problem with the running belt. I carried on to finish the 28 minutes but when I ran I held on to the front of the machine, just in case.

I mentioned that when I started using the app, I noticed that the timer on the treadmill and the timer on the app were different. The treadmill got to the finish time about 10 seconds before the app did, but I followed the timer on the app. I thought it was the treadmill’s timer that was wrong. But this time when I used the other treadmill, the same thing happened! I carried on following the timer on the app.

I then did Week 2, Day 1 of the squats app. At least, I thought I did. I got totally confused as to what day it was as I’d worked out the day before (I haven’t worked out on Saturday in ages) and thought Sunday was already Monday. Anyway, I did the wrong workout. I ended up repeating Week 1, Day 3. What I should have done was:

  • Squats x 10
  • Rest
  • Squats x 10
  • Rest
  • Squats x 6
  • Rest
  • Squats x 6
  • Rest

Crap. Anyway, I marked it as done!

I got my shit together for the situps app and did Week 2, Day 1:

  • Situps x 5
  • Rest
  • Situps x 6
  • Rest
  • Situps x 7
  • Rest
  • Situps x 6
  • Rest
  • Situps x 5
  • Rest

I did some stretches after that and I was done.

On Sunday afternoon I went to the Shangri-La Spa and enquired about membership there. A full-time membership is AED 7350 (£1290 approximately). That includes access to the pool, gym and spa from 6am onwards. They have an off-peak membership for AED 5250 (£925) which is only valid Sunday to Thursday. Then they have a restricted membership for AED 2800 (£495) which is valid from 9am to 5pm on Sunday to Thursday. I thought that might be a good option for me. Let’s face it, I’d never be at the gym before 9am – and I never work out in the evening. If I suddenly feel the urge to work out on a weekend I can use our gym in the building (hardly ever happens). I did ask them that if I travelled for a month or two would I be able to freeze the membership and they said that wasn’t possible (why not??) – but I might ask someone else.

I took Monday off as I’d worked out on Saturday and Sunday and thought I needed a rest.

I had yoga on Tuesday. My teacher wasn’t as chatty as she was the week before, thank goodness. I felt like I’d had a good session with her.

I went back to the gym on Wednesday – to do Day 2 of Week 2 of each of the apps. The 5k Runner app was the same as Day 1. As I mentioned earlier, I noticed that the running belt of my second favourite wasn’t working properly on Sunday. I decided to try again on Wednesday but got to the 12th minute and decided I would have to switch treadmills. I only noticed it when I was running but I was sure that the running belt was either slowing down or moving backwards while I was on it. It was just for a second at a time, but it made me stumble a couple of times and I decided to switch.

I continued on the third treadmill – my least favourite. It’s my least favourite because the speed never stays constant! If I take the speed up to 7.5 km/h the number on the display will range from 7.3 km/h to 7.8 km/h. It’s ridiculous and it’s distracting. Anyway, I did the whole 28 minutes and then moved on to the squats and situps.

The squats routine for Week 2, Day 2 was:

  • Squats x 10
  • Rest
  • Squats x 10
  • Rest
  • Squats x 8
  • Rest
  • Squats x 8

The situps routine was:

  • Situps x 5
  • Rest
  • Situps x 5
  • Rest
  • Situps x 7
  • Rest
  • Situps x 5
  • Rest
  • Situps x 5
  • Rest
  • Situps x 3

I did some stretching after that and was done. I went home and sent an email to the building management company complaining about the treadmills and told them it was a health hazard. I don’t know what they’ll do about it but I’m pretty sure those treadmills have never been inspected since they were bought.

On Thursday morning I went back to the gym and did Day 3 of Week 2 for all three apps. The 5k Runner consisted of:

  • Warmup x 5 min
  • Run x 1.5 min
  • Walk x 2 min
  • Repeat the run/walk five more times
  • Cooldown x 5 min

Then I did the squats app. Day 3 consisted of four sets of 10 squats each.

And then came the situps app. Day 3 consisted of:

  • Situps x 5
  • Rest
  • Situps x 5
  • Rest
  • Situps x 8
  • Rest
  • Situps x 5
  • Rest
  • Situps x 5
  • Rest
  • Situps x 5

And then I did some stretches and my weekend could begin. Yay!

I didn’t work out on Friday but Trevor came on Saturday for our very last session. I started with my usual 5 minutes on the bike. We then did some boxing intervals:

  • Squats x 30 s
  • Boxing x 30 s
  • Squats x 30 s
  • Boxing x 30 s
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Manual treadmill push x 30 s
  • Boxing x 30 s
  • Manual treadmill push x 30 s
  • Boxing x 30 s
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Bench squats x 30 s
  • Boxing x 30 s
  • Bench squats x 30 s
  • Boxing x 30 s
  • Rest

I had a rest and some water and then did three sets of the following:

  • Mountain climbers x 30 s
  • Tricep extensions x 30 s (machine)
  • Rest x 30 s

I had another short rest and some water. The next circuit was a killer:

  • Combined squat/press x 10 (10-lb weights)
  • Lateral raises x 10 (3-kg weights)
  • Bent-over row x 10 (10-lb weights)
  • Tricep kickbacks x 10 (3-kg weights)
  • Abductor machine x 10
  • Leg press x 10
  • Hamstring curls x 10
  • Deadlifts x 10 (10-lb weights)
  • Stepping machine x 2 min
  • Rest

My legs felt like jelly after the hamstring curls. I had to do a second set, but this time with 15 reps of each exercise. I was so happy when it was over. My arms were tired, my legs were tired. I just wanted to go home and nap. I did some stretches and that was it. I said goodbye to Trevor and told him I’d be in touch when I got back from India in a couple of weeks.

Low point of the week? None of the treadmills working properly; and having to go to India just as I was getting back into a routine…

High point of the week? Five workouts this week – pretty good!

Weight loss? None – but I’d eaten out for Sunday dinner, Tuesday dinner, Thursday lunch and dinner, and Friday dinner! It’s a miracle I didn’t put on weight this week.

2015-08-22 17.14.14

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Your month ahead (September 2015)

Greetings from Mumbai!

Aries

Pentacles Queen

Queen of Pentacles – being nurturing – giving love and support, making people feel better; being big-hearted – giving freely and abundantly; being down-to-earth – handling problems matter-of-factly, taking a simple and sensible approach; being resourceful – making a little go a long way, being handy and versatile; being trustworthy – being loyal and steadfast, keeping confidences and secrets

Taurus

Wands Ace

Ace of Wands – using creative force – inventing a better way, expressing yourself, allowing a talent to unfold; showing enthusiasm – feeling fired up and eager, creating an aura of excitement, giving 110%; having confidence – believing in yourself, having high self-esteem, knowing things will work out; proceeding with courage – being true to your beliefs, daring to take a stand, facing your fears

Gemini

17 The Star

The Star – regaining hope – having faith in the future, thinking positively; being inspired – realising an inner strength, regaining motivation; being generous – wanting to give or share, offering with no reservations; feeling serene – experiencing peace of mind, being tranquil amid trouble

Cancer

04 The Emperor

The Emperor – fathering – protecting and defending, bringing security and comfort; emphasising structure – creating order out of chaos, being organised; exercising authority – taking a leadership role, representing the establishment; regulating – establishing law and order, setting standards of behaviour

Leo

05 The Hierophant

The Hierophant – getting an education – pursuing knowledge, seeking a deeper meaning; having a belief system – identifying a world view, knowing where to put your faith; conforming – fitting in, doing what’s expected; identifying with a group – devoting energy to a group, feeling loyal to others

Virgo

Pentacles 2

2 of Pentacles – juggling – coping with demands, having a lot of irons in the fire, keeping everything in balance; being flexible – going with the flow, seeing the possibilities, handling challenges; having fun – taking time to play, feeling in high spirits, seeing the humour in the situation

Libra

Cups 8

8 of Cups – seeking deeper meaning – leaving the rat race, finding out the facts, concentrating on what is important; moving on – abandoning a hopeless situation, starting on a trip of unknown length, finishing up and walking away; growing weary – dragging through the day, lacking energy, getting weighed down by worries

Scorpio

14 Temperance

Temperance – being temperate – finding the middle ground, reaching a compromise; maintaining balance – recognising all sides, feeling centred and secure; experiencing health – renewing energy and vigour, flourishing; combining forces – joining with others, finding the right mix

Sagittarius

12 The Hanged Man

The Hanged Man – letting go – accepting what is, ending the struggle, giving up control; reversing – turning the world around, seeing from a new angle, overturning old priorities; suspending action – giving up urgency, living in the moment, pausing to reflect; sacrificing – putting self-interest aside, putting others first, giving up for a higher cause

Capricorn

Pentacles 9

9 of Pentacles – being disciplined – exercising self-control, sticking to a programme, reining in impulses; relying on yourself – handling the situation alone, doing it all by yourself, wanting to be alone; pursuing refinement – achieving a comfortable lifestyle, being tactful and diplomatic, remembering to be gracious

Aquarius

Pentacles 7

7 of Pentacles – assessing – evaluating the status, making sure you’re on course, finding out where you stand; reaping a reward – receiving payoffs, reaching a milestone, finally seeing some results; considering a direction change – pondering alternatives, thinking about change, standing at a crossroads

Pisces

Swords King

King of Swords – being intellectual – ably carrying out research, using thought creatively; being analytical – applying reason and logic, understanding a problem quickly; being articulate – being a lucid writer and speaker, being a stimulating conversationalist; being just – being impartial and objective, being concerned with truth and fairness; being ethical – encouraging high standards, living by your highest principles

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Silent Sunday

2015-08-27 13.17.51

Silent Sunday

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Your week ahead (30 August – 5 September 2015)

Have a great week…

Aries

16 The Tower

The Tower – going through sudden change – experiencing upheaval, being in chaos; releasing – exploding, erupting in anger; falling down – suffering a blow to the ego, experiencing a crash; having a revelation – exposing what was hidden, seeing everything in a flash

Taurus

04 The Emperor

The Emperor – fathering – protecting and defending, bringing security and comfort; emphasising structure – creating order out of chaos, being organised; exercising authority – taking a leadership role, representing the establishment; regulating – establishing law and order, setting standards of behaviour

Gemini

Swords 9

9 of Swords – worrying – doubting all will go well, going over and over an issue, getting worked up; feeling guilty – wanting to turn back the clock, being hard on yourself, getting overwhelmed by remorse; suffering anguish – feeling you’ve reached your limits, having sleepless nights, wanting to cry

Cancer

Pentacles Prince

Prince of Pentacles – finding a balance between being unwavering and stubborn – staying fixed to a chosen course and refusing to listen to reason; being cautious and unadventurous – checking/double-checking and being too conservative; being thorough and obsessive – being meticulous and being too picky; being realistic and pessimistic – predicting problems in advance and dooming a project from the start; being hard-working and grinding – being tireless and unflagging and forgetting life should be fun

Leo

Wands Ace

Ace of Wands – using creative force – inventing a better way, expressing yourself, allowing a talent to unfold; showing enthusiasm – feeling fired up and eager, creating an aura of excitement, giving 110%; having confidence – believing in yourself, having high self-esteem, knowing things will work out; proceeding with courage – being true to your beliefs, daring to take a stand, facing your fears

Virgo

Swords Queen

Queen of Swords – being honest – facing the truth, even if it’s unpleasant, playing by the rules, avoiding lies and deception; being astute – sizing up a situation quickly, being quick on the uptake; being forthright – getting to the heart of the matter, being candid when necessary; being witty – never taking anything too seriously; being experienced – having seen and done it all, having realistic expectations

Libra

21 The World

The World – integrating – experiencing wholeness, combining, working in unison; accomplishing – realising your goals, seeing dreams come true, finding a beautiful solution; becoming involved – rendering a service, using a gift or talent, sharing what you have; feeling fulfilled – savouring the present, taking pleasure in life, enjoying peace of mind, counting your blessings

Scorpio

05 The Hierophant

The Hierophant – getting an education – pursuing knowledge, seeking a deeper meaning; having a belief system – identifying a world view, knowing where to put your faith; conforming – fitting in, doing what’s expected; identifying with a group – devoting energy to a group, feeling loyal to others

Sagittarius

Pentacles Queen

Queen of Pentacles – being nurturing – giving love and support, making people feel better; being big-hearted – giving freely and abundantly; being down-to-earth – handling problems matter-of-factly, taking a simple and sensible approach; being resourceful – making a little go a long way, being handy and versatile; being trustworthy – being loyal and steadfast, keeping confidences and secrets

Capricorn

Pentacles 2

2 of Pentacles – juggling – coping with demands, having a lot of irons in the fire, keeping everything in balance; being flexible – going with the flow, seeing the possibilities, handling challenges; having fun – taking time to play, feeling in high spirits, seeing the humour in the situation

Aquarius

17 The Star

The Star – regaining hope – having faith in the future, thinking positively; being inspired – realising an inner strength, regaining motivation; being generous – wanting to give or share, offering with no reservations; feeling serene – experiencing peace of mind, being tranquil amid trouble

Pisces

Pentacles 5

5 of Pentacles – experiencing hard times – running into material troubles, feeling insecure, struggling to make ends meet; suffering ill health – feeling run down and tired, abusing your body, refusing to take care of yourself; being rejected – having the door slammed in your face, being ostracised, standing alone

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Dubai 2015: Week 34

It was a quiet week. I didn’t do very much at all. I visited Dad every afternoon/evening in the hospital until he came home on Wednesday afternoon.

I had a piano lesson on Monday afternoon. As usual, I hadn’t practised at all! I had yoga on Tuesday and Trevor on Wednesday and three workouts on my own in the week as well.

I went out for dinner on Thursday with some friends. I hadn’t been out in two weeks and I hadn’t had a drink in two weeks! Two of us started at The Agency – we had a glass of wine each. We then joined our two other friends at The Meat Co. It was really nice to see them all – it had been ages. We shared a couple of starters: salt and pepper calamari and the chilli prawns. We each ordered our own main course. And we had two bottles of the house wine. We had two Entertainer vouchers for the main courses and one Entertainer voucher for a complimentary bottle of wine, so we only paid for the starters, two main courses and one bottle of wine! It was only 10pm by the time we finished dinner so we walked back to The Agency and had another drink there. It was a really nice evening – I was home by midnight.

I spent the rest of the weekend at home with my parents, doing some work and reading.

I love my life.

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The final few

I woke up on Sunday determined to go to the gym. I’d been told about an app called Fitness22 and wanted to try it out. I’d already downloaded the 5k Runner app, the Squats app and the Situps app. The 5k Runner app claims that in eight weeks you’ll be able to run 5k after training for three days a week for 30 minutes.

So Week 1, Day 1 consisted of:

  • Warmup x 5 min
  • Walking/running for 15 min (1 min running, 1.5 min walking)
  • Cooldown x 5 min

I could do that, right? Right?

I decided not to use the actual app while I was on the treadmill as I wanted to listen to my iPod and wouldn’t have been able to hear it anyway. You can still log the run though – as there’s a button on the app that says ‘did it’ and the run registers. I started at 5 km/h and at 2 minutes I took it up to 5.5 km/h and stayed there until I was supposed to start running. For the 1-minute runs I took the speed up to 7.5 km/h. During the cooldown I decreased the speed by 0.1 km/h each minute. Just as I was getting to 11 minutes, my left hand accidentally knocked the emergency stop button and the treadmill stopped. It was annoying – I’d never done that before! So I started the treadmill again and ran the first minute so that I could easily do the maths in my head about when to run/walk! Not very accurate, but there you go. So I managed the 25 minutes and then moved on to the squats app.

Week 1, Day 1 on the squats app consisted of:

  • Stretching x 5 min
  • Squats x 6
  • Rest x 90 s
  • Squats x 6
  • Rest x 90s
  • Squats x 4
  • Rest x 90 s
  • Squats x 2
  • Rest x 90s
  • Stretching x 5 min

Once you start the app, it’s possible to skip sections by clicking on the >> arrow. I didn’t stretch as I’d already been on the treadmill and I found the 90-s rests far too long after doing just six squats so after 30 s I’d hit the skip button. I didn’t stretch afterwards either as I was moving on to the situps.

Week 1, Day 1 of the situp app consisted of:

  • Stretching x 5 min (which I skipped)
  • Situps x 5
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Situps x 5
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Situps x 5
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Stretching x 5 min (which I did)

Simple. It’s just what I needed to ease myself back into a gym routine!

I went back to the gym on Monday and did Day 2 of Week 1 of the 5k Runner, squat and situp apps. Day 2 of the 5k Runner app consisted of:

  • Warmup x 5 min
  • Walking/running x 20 min (1 min running, 1.5 min walking)
  • Cooldown x 5 min

Again, I started at 5 km/h, alternated between 5.5 km/h and 7.5 km/h while walking/running, and then cooled down from 6 km/h, decreasing it by 0.2 km/h each minute until I got to the end.

I decided to use the app while I was on the treadmill and started the app and the treadmill at the same time – their couldn’t have been more than a two-second difference in the times but as the 30 minutes progressed, that difference in time increased. By the end of the 30 minutes, the treadmill was 9-10 seconds faster than the app. I decided to stick to the app this time – but which one is right? Has the treadmill been wrong all these years?

After the treadmill I did Day 2 of the squats app:

  • Stretching x 5 min (which I skipped)
  • Squats x 6
  • Rest x 90 s (I stuck to 30 s throughout)
  • Squats x 6
  • Rest
  • Squats x 4
  • Rest
  • Squats x 4
  • Stretching (which I skipped)

I then did Day 2 of the situps app:

  • Stretching x 5 min (which I skipped)
  • Situps x 5
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Situps x 5
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Situps x 5
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Situps x 5
  • Stretching x 5 min (which I did)

Again, the squats and situps weren’t difficult but it’s good to be doing something!

I had a yoga class on Tuesday morning after ages. My teacher was on time and I felt like I needed it. But my teacher wanted to talk throughout the class and wasn’t really instructing me on what to do. It was quite annoying and I didn’t feel like I got anything out of it. What I did notice was how stiff I was – I’d also noticed it while stretching at the gym. I suppose that’s what happens when you don’t do much for a couple of months!

I had a session with Trevor on Wednesday morning. Just as I was leaving for the gym he texted to say he’d be 10-15 minutes late. I went ahead and got on the bike to warm up. He sent me a photo of a ridiculous amount of traffic and I told him I’d be very warmed up by the time he arrived! I ended up doing a thirty-minute warmup! I could have gone home after that as I was feeling so tired. Instead, Trevor told me to get on the treadmill but my favourite one was broken – there was a tear in the running belt.

Someone must have really hurt themselves when this happened!

Someone must have really hurt themselves when this happened!

So I went to my next favourite treadmill and did 10 minutes on it. I walked at a speed of 5-5.5 km/h with an incline of 3%. I did two runs at 7.5 km/h and I’m sure Trevor wanted me to alternate between walking and running for the whole ten minutes but I was telling him about my dad’s heart attack the week before and couldn’t do that while running.

I did the following circuit:

  • Bench squat/shoulder press x 10 (10-lb weights)
  • Lateral pulldown x 10
  • Deadlifts x 10 (10-lb weights)
  • Bentover rows x 10 (10-lb weights)
  • Stepping machine x 2 minutes

I had a quick water break and then did the same circuit again, but with 15 reps of each exercise. I stuck to two minutes on the stepping machine though.

After a break I did the following circuit twice using the machines:

  • Tricep extensions x 15
  • Mountain climbers x 15 (not on a machine, obviously)
  • Leg press x 15
  • Chest press x 15

I found the chest press ridiculously difficult.

And then I did the following abs circuit twice:

  • Crunches x 15
  • Reverse crunches x 15
  • Scissor circles x 15 (15 in one direction and then 15 in the other direction) – Trevor joined me for this one, as in the video at 0:25
  • Plank x 45 s

I was dead. I’d worked out for 1.5 hours and could really feel the difference. I did a few stretches but my arms felt like jelly. I told Trevor I didn’t like him much that day and went home! By the time I went to bed, my body was aching – especially my arms and abs. And I woke up feeling even worse on Thursday.

I took Thursday and Friday off and it took a lot to get me off the sofa on Saturday and down to the gym. I was mentally ready to do Day 3 of the 5k Runner plan but when I got to the gym, none of the treadmills were working. Of course, my favourite one hadn’t been repaired, but the other two weren’t even on. The same thing had happened earlier in the year – all I had to do was find the fuse box and sort it out. I had no idea where it was so I called the guy at reception – he came to take a look but suggested I call the handyman. It was his day off and he told me that the fuse box was in the main office and the office was closed today and nothing could be done. Oh, great. I decided to do 30 minutes on the bike instead alternating my speed as I went along:

  • Warmup x 5 min (resistance 5)
  • Fast x 1 min (resistance 10), regular x 1.5 min (resistance 7) x 20 min
  • Cooldown x 5 min (resistance 5)

I then did Day 3 of the squats app:

  • Squats x 8
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Squats x 8
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Squats x 6
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Squats x 4

The situps app came next:

  • Situps x 5
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Repeat four more times (25 situps in total)

I did some stretching after that and was done!

Low point of the week? My favourite treadmill is broken 😦

High point of the week? I worked out five times this week! I’m still off bread and we’re trying to eat healthier at home because of Dad’s requirements. My cousin told me I’d lost weight since we last met two weeks ago.

Weight loss? I seem to have lost 1.9 kg this week, but my weight has been fluctuating a lot. My trend weight has also gone down by 1.5 kg. Let’s hope this continues!

2015-08-15 06.28.46

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Your week ahead (23-29 August 2015)

Have a great week…

Aries

Swords 7

7 of Swords – running away – shirking responsibility, sneaking off, leaving; being a lone wolf – wanting independence, staying aloof, preferring solitude; choosing hidden dishonour – covering your tracks, lying or stealing, avoiding a shameful secret

Taurus

Wands Prince

Prince of Wands – being creative – taking a novel approach, finding a new area of self-expression; being enthusiastic – getting excited, being passionate; being confident – stretching your envelope, moving beyond doubts; being courageous – taking assertive action, overcoming a fear

Gemini

08 Strength

Strength – showing strength – having stamina, being a rock; being patient – refusing to get angry, taking time, maintaining composure; being compassionate – understanding what others are feeling, giving others lots of space, being kind; achieving soft control – guiding indirectly, being able to influence, demonstrating the strength of love

Cancer

Pentacles 6

6 of Pentacles – be generous – you are either about to be the beneficiary or giver of something with value; share what you have – there is always someone who needs it; generosity does not have to have monetary value – it could be a listening ear, spiritual support, etc.; don’t be too proud to accept what is offered, if you are the intended recipient

Leo

04 The Emperor

The Emperor – fathering – protecting and defending, bringing security and comfort; emphasising structure – creating order out of chaos, being organised; exercising authority – taking a leadership role, representing the establishment; regulating – establishing law and order, setting standards of behaviour

Virgo

Swords Queen

Queen of Swords – being honest – facing the truth, even if it’s unpleasant, playing by the rules, avoiding lies and deception; being astute – sizing up a situation quickly, being quick on the uptake; being forthright – getting to the heart of the matter, being candid when necessary; being witty – never taking anything too seriously; being experienced – having seen and done it all, having realistic expectations

Libra

Cups 2

2 of Cups – making a connection – joining with another, celebrating a marriage or union, working together; calling a truce – bringing together opposites, letting bygones be bygones, forgiving and forgetting; acknowledging an attraction – recognising a bond that is developing, accepting your preferences, feeling a positive response

Scorpio

Cups 5

5 of Cups – suffering a loss – letting go of a hope, being defeated, saying goodbye; feeling bereft – breaking up a relationship, longing to be reunited, feeling sorrow; feeling regret – being disappointed by events, wanting to turn back the clock, believing you made the wrong choice, wishing for what might have been

Sagittarius

19 The Sun

The Sun – becoming enlightened – finding the sense behind the chaos, getting to the heart of the matter; experiencing greatness – being singled out for notice, becoming the centre of attention; feeling vitality – experiencing joy, feeling invigorated; having assurance – knowing you can succeed, trusting your abilities

Capricorn

Cups 3

3 of Cups – feeling exuberant – bursting with energy, being in the flow, dancing and singing; enjoying friendship – getting together with people you like, sharing, finding companions; valuing community – taking part in a support group, working together, discovering a common goal

Aquarius

Pentacles 5

5 of Pentacles – experiencing hard times – running into material troubles, feeling insecure, struggling to make ends meet; suffering ill health – feeling run down and tired, abusing your body, refusing to take care of yourself; being rejected – having the door slammed in your face, being ostracised, standing alone

Pisces

Wands 4

4 of Wands – celebrating – rejoicing over an event, observing an anniversary or milestone or special time, enjoying well-deserved rewards; seeking freedom – breaking free of bonds, cutting loose, letting go of limitations; feeling excited – bubbling over with delight, feeling jubilant, being surprised

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Not today

Exactly a week ago, my dad had a heart attack.

On Wednesday evening, just before dinner, my dad complained that he’d been feeling uncomfortable all day, like he had a weight on his chest. My mum and I weren’t too concerned by this as he often says he’s ‘uncomfortable’ or ‘not feeling too good’. About 20 minutes after dinner, at around 9.15pm, he said he thought he needed to go to the hospital. I told him I’d call an ambulance but he said it wasn’t necessary. He’d change out of his pajamas and we’d get a cab. I went to change (I was also in my pajamas already) and when I came out of my room I heard him in his bedroom – he was gasping. I went in to see if he was OK and he told me to call an ambulance. He couldn’t breathe. I called ‘999’, gave them my mobile number and waited for them to call me back. They called within a minute to get our location and ask what the symptoms were. I asked Dad if he was having chest pains – he said he wasn’t but that he felt a lot of pressure all over his chest. The lady on the phone said the ambulance would be with us soon. The last time we had to call an ambulance it got to us two minutes after we’d made the call. This time, it took longer.

Dad had come out to the TV room and was on the sofa. He was gasping for air. He kept saying, ‘I’m going. I’m going.’ He kept asking, ‘Where’s the ambulance? Where’s the oxygen?’ I called the woman back ten minutes later to ask how long the ambulance would be – she put me through to the ambulance driver. He said they were coming in five minutes. ‘Look after Mum,’ Dad said. ‘I’m going.’ I told him to stop saying that and the only place he was going was to the hospital. I’m not going to lie, it was fucking scary. He had taken his shirt off as he was feeling so hot – my hands were freezing (they often are) and the only thing I could think of to do was to rub my hands on his chest and back. Because he kept insisting that he wasn’t having a heart attack, I didn’t consider the fact that it really could be one. Had I told my mum or had they overheard me tell the woman on the phone that it was a heart attack, I think they would have both panicked. Of course, in hindsight, I realise that it couldn’t have been anything else.

The paramedics finally arrived – it took them about twenty minutes. They were at home for about fifteen minutes (heart monitor, oxygen, questions) before putting Dad on the stretcher and going downstairs to the ambulance. Luckily, Mum and I were both able to go in the ambulance with him – Mum sat in the back with Dad and the two paramedics while I sat up in the front with the driver. I tried to call my uncle but there was no answer. Just as we left our building, one of the paramedics opened the divider between the main ambulance and the driver’s area and said ‘Red’. ‘Red? Are you sure?’ asked the driver. ‘Yes, red,’ he replied. The flashing lights came on, the siren came on and we were off. The whole way to the hospital I kept saying to myself, ‘Not today. Not today. Not today.‘ We got to Rashid Hospital and were seen immediately in one of the emergency areas. The doctors and nurses were brilliant and eventually had Dad’s symptoms all under control. My uncle had called my mum back and joined us at the hospital as well.

After seeing the on-call cardiologist, Dad was told he’d be admitted to the Cardiac Care Unit (CCU). He was feeling a lot better by this time and could speak properly. A male nurse asked him a few questions. When he asked Dad what his weight was, Dad replied, ’80 kilos’. Mum and I looked at each other, and in spite of everything that had happened that evening, burst out laughing. There was just no way he weighed 80 kilos – he’s more like 90 kilos. And Dad looked a bit sheepish.

Two custodians wheeled him to the CCU followed by the three of us. He was going to be in a ward – there were three other patients in his area and they were all asleep by the time we got there. I think it was soon after midnight by this time. The nurses transferred Dad from the stretcher, changed him into pajamas and made him comfortable for the night. The nurse told us that one of us could come back in the morning to meet the doctor but regular visiting hours were from 4pm to 9pm. My mum wanted to spend the night at the hospital, but there was nowhere for her to sleep. There was a waiting room inside the ward but the nurses said anyone could walk in at any time and they wouldn’t recommend sleeping there. So Mum came home with me. Before we left, Dad asked us to bring his phone and iPad the next day – he really was feeling better!

We got home at around 1am, I had to speak to my brother and sister and let them know what had happened. I had to call our insurance company and let them know what had happened. And after I’d done everything I had to do, I got into bed and cried. The events of the evening had finally sunk in and I felt completely overwhelmed.

The next morning, Mum left for the hospital at about 8.30am to wait for the doctor once he’d done his rounds. He said that Dad had had a mild heart attack at home and would be in hospital for four days and that they would do an angiography on Sunday. I asked him how he was feeling. ‘Hungry!’ she responded.

Mum came home for lunch and said that Dad was already complaining about the bland food at the hospital and that he’d already shouted at one of the nurses (I can’t remember why). OK, so back to his usual self then. I went to the hospital that afternoon – Dad was looking and feeling a lot better. There was a very chatty Welshman in the bed opposite his and my mum seemed to have found out his entire life story that morning (apart from his name – which we later found out was Ken). My uncle and aunt also came to visit for a little while. We stayed till about 7pm, after Dad had eaten his dinner, and then came home.

Dad spent a week in hospital. We visited every evening (Mum went in the mornings too). It was his 69th birthday on the Friday and he spent it in hospital. By then he’d been moved to a ward for less serious patients. It was also the ward where the angio room was so it was more convenient for him to be there. He had his angio on the Sunday and the doctor told him that one of his arteries was blocked and that the valve needed replacing. On the Monday he was moved to another ward, as he was only in hospital due to his elevated sugar and creatinine levels.

So Dad’s going to need a bypass in the next few weeks – and he has to decide where to have it. Of course there’s nothing like being in your own home while you’re convalescing but we keep hearing terrible reviews about doctors in Dubai so the next most convenient place to have the operation would be Bombay. But first he needs the all-clear to travel, which I think will still take at least a week.

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Dubai 2015: Week 33

I was home all day on Sunday and in the evening went to see the new ‘Mission Impossible’ movie with my parents. It was good – the plot was, of course, totally preposterous but it was entertaining all the same. We had dinner at Wafi Gourmet afterwards, which was good.

On Monday afternoon I had a piano lesson. I hadn’t touched a piano in two months and was looking forward to having my lesson. We went through a couple of things I’d done before I left and then my teacher gave me the music for a new song called ‘Love Me Like You Do’ (from 50 Shades of Grey – which I have neither read nor seen).

On Tuesday I went to the monthly lunch of the International Business Women’s Group at the Trade Centre Club. I’d been to one of their lunches back in March and enjoyed meeting so many different people. Last week, I decided to apply for membership and I got an email in response inviting me to their lunch. It was a much smaller group – there were only five tables of five or six people at each. I suppose, being August, a lot of people are away for the summer. The presentation was about the new laws regarding health insurance in Dubai. Basically, by the end of the summer next year, you need to have health insurance before (re)applying for your residency visa – and this goes for all your employees too.

I had a session with Trevor on Wednesday morning.

We had to take my dad to hospital on Wednesday night and he was admitted for a few days. On Thursday I was home for most of the day and went to visit Dad in the afternoon. Visiting hours were from 4pm to 9pm and Mum and I were there until about 7.30, after he’d had his dinner. I stayed in that night.

We were supposed to have lunch at Yuan at the Atlantis on Friday to celebrate Dad’s birthday but of course we had to cancel that. I called the Atlantis to cancel the table – you would think it would be quite straightforward but it seemed to take forever as I was speaking to someone who could barely speak English and/or was incompetent. When I checked how long the call had lasted, it was almost 4 minutes and 30 seconds. Good grief.

Dad had been moved to a different ward on Friday morning, and Mum and I took a cake for him to cut (but he couldn’t have any of it). Being Friday, the ward was quite busy during visiting hours and Mum gave most of the cake to Dad’s fellow patients, their guests and the nurses.

I had lunch with a friend at Y by Yabani at Citywalk on Saturday. The food was good, but not as good as I remembered it. We had the spicy edamame and sesame seed cucumber salad to start with. My friend also had a miso soup. After that we shared some spicy salmon/tuna rolls, the aubergine miso rolls and the salmon izuzukuri (new style sashimi). After lunch I went home and soon after went to visit Dad at the hospital.

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.

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The final few

And now it’s back to the grind…

I was supposed to have a yoga class at home on Tuesday morning at 9am. By 9.15 there was no sign of my teacher so I texted to ask if she was on her way or parking? She called me a minute later, very apologetic, but she’d forgotten I was back. She said she could come to me by 9.40 but I had to be somewhere at 11am and it just wasn’t going to work. So she said she’d come on Thursday.

I texted my potential new trainer on Tuesday afternoon but didn’t hear back from him until Wednesday morning. He came recommended by a friend and Trevor knows him too, so that’s something.

I had a session with Trevor on Wednesday morning. It was really nice to see him and catch up (and exercise, of course)… I started with a 10-minute warmup on the bike and then moved on to the treadmill. I told him I’d done hardly anything in the two months I was away but he didn’t really go easy on me. I did 14 minutes on the treadmill:

  • 2 min x 5.5 km/h (no incline)
  • 2 min x 5.5 km/h (6% incline)
  • 1 min x 5.5 km/h (8% incline)
  • 1 min x 5.5 km/h (10% incline)
  • 1 min x 5.5 km/h (12% incline)
  • 1 min x 5.5 km/h (6% incline)
  • 1 min x 7 km/h (6% incline)
  • 1 min x 5.5 km/h (6% incline)
  • 1 min x 5.5 km/h (8% incline)
  • 1 min x 5.5 km/h (10% incline)
  • 1 min x 5.5 km/h (12% incline)
  • 1 min x 5.5 km/h (no incline)

And then we moved on to boxing intervals:

  • Squats x 30 s
  • Sparring x 1 min
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Combined squats/side leg raise x 30 s
  • Sparring x 1 min
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Bench squats x 30 s
  • Sparring x 1 min
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Treadmill x 30 s
  • Sparring x 1 min
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Mountain climbers x 30 s
  • Sparring x 1 min
  • Rest

Oh god, I was exhausted. I had some water and did the following:

  • Leg press x 3 sets of 15
  • Abductor machine x 3 sets of 15
  • Lateral pulldown x 3 sets of 15

I did a few stretches after that and was done for the day. As I walked home, I knew I wouldn’t be able to walk the next day! I was right – my legs were sore until Sunday when I went back to the gym.

I was supposed to have a yoga class on Thursday but we had to take my dad to hospital on Wednesday night and I didn’t know how long we would be there so I cancelled the class. And I didn’t work out again during the week.

Low point of the week? Only exercising once.

High point of the week? I’ve been trying to eat better this week and have cut out bread from my diet.

Weight loss? I’d lost about 1 kg by Wednesday but had put it all on again over the weekend. I wasn’t out and I didn’t have anything to drink – but I think it was our Chinese takeaway!

2015-08-13 13.31.45

Read more updates here.

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