It’s my first gym session with the NHS cardiac rehab team this aft. Although my pre-assessment meeting was at the beginning of April, where I performed encouragingly well in the beep test, today’s was the first gym slot they could accommodate me.

My contract with the post-cardiac arrest nurses/trainer entitles me to two fitness sessions as week for six weeks. These physical activities aimed at strengthening the heart muscle damaged when I suffered January’s potentially life threatening incident.

A scary life event that was nearly a no-life event – Played out in the suburbs of the city of my birth. My subsequent treatment performed in a hospital a few hundred yards from the now closed maternity hospital on Hyde Terrace where I’d made my inaugural appearance over half a century earlier.

Anyhow, that situation has been and gone. I’m still here and it’s time to move on and start a professionally structured exercise regime to try make good the cardio damage inflicted January 11th 2019.

The above date, like the barcode numbers for a jar of marmite***, that’ll be indelibly etched on my mind for the rest of my life. An existence hopefully elongated with the upcoming gym work I’ll commence this afternoon.

*** – Everyone needs a hobby – Mine’s memorising barcodes from favoured comestible products. A pastime some moot hints at me suffering from savant syndrome. Others begging to differ, positing my affliction is merely boring b*****d syndrome.

If truth be told, I’m apprehensive about today’s rehab gym session. This angst born from the fact two days after performing admirably in early April’s pre-assessment test I suffered a gastric haemorrhage****, hospitalising me yet again. This weakening me to such an extent I’ve had cause to postpone any subsequent exercise since, unless you count learning the barcode for Walkers pickled onion flavoured crisps as exercise.

**** – The second ailment completely unrelated to my heart attack, or indeed the pre-assessment test.

The fact my physical lethargy hasn’t yet fully dissipated leads to fears I may not yet be ready for a gym workout. Even though my programme is guided by professionals in the field of post heart attack rehabilitation, what if I over-exerted myself and had a second cardiac arrest?

I can’t die yet, I’ve too much to tick off my bucket list before I pass. For instance, I’ve yet to memorise the bar code numbers for strawberry flavoured Muller Lite yoghurts, Sainsbury own brand pistachio nuts and Atkinson’s cheese flavoured cat litter. As we haven’t got a cat, I don’t need to buy the cat litter, but I’ve an unerring need to self-teach myself it’s computer identification number.


As I commence this paragraph, I’ve just had a couple of hours hiatus from penning this essay. A time spent undertaking the gym work needlessly fretted about prior to midday. My gentle introduction to a circuit exercise regime going off without incident…… Well, apart from a disagreement about my Lucozade rehydration drink’s bar code with an old guy from Castleford – The first person I’ve ever met with the same specific power of recall hobby as yours truly.

Hearteningly (excuse the pun) I felt surprisingly well at the conclusion of the exercises and gentle warm down; this particularly comforting as I didn’t feel that good prior to the workout. Although, that was possibly down to heightened anxiety levels exacerbated by being unable to find my leg-warmers and receipt of numerous static electric shocks from my polyester tracksuit. Adorning the latter making my look like a less heavily armed member of the Sopranos crew.

Anyhow, I need to conclude this narrative as I’ve a fry up to cook for tea. Incidentally, if you’re interested, the scanable product code for Daz washing powder is 4015600 903145……. Oh, you aren’t!!…… Your loss!!