I had some really sad news today. I volunteer as a reading helper at my local primary school. In February I was assigned to a boy who was identified as likely to benefit from one-to-one reading help. He was the sort of well behaved child who just disappears in a class of 30 children.
Well, he flourished and his reading level advanced by 3 subgrades which his teacher told me was more than expected.
Yesterday the boy was almost squealing with excitement about a forthcoming holiday. He told me yesterday was his last day at school. That was a prophetic statement.
Today I had 2 phone messages and an email asking me to phone the school urgently. They wanted to give me the sad news before I heard it from anyone else. It turns out that the boy choked on a 50p coin and fell. The hospital was treating his head injury but did not spot that his airway was blocked until it was too late. Sadly he died.
I was completely shocked by the news. I was standing up at the time and now I understand why you should always ask someone to sit down before passing on bad news. If I hadn't been close to a chair, I would have fainted.
It was such a waste of a young life. I can't understand how medical professionals wouldn't spot that an airway was blocked. But the blame game won't help now.
Life is precious and can be snuffed out just like that. The only consolation is that this boy really did live every day to the full and was actually very happy recently. That is the message I am going to take from this tragedy. Live life, be healthy and happy.
Maybe someone can help me with a query about mobile phones.
I have a really basic mobile phone that is years old and does not connect to the Internet. I really like some of the Spark People tracking apps, so I am considering joining the 21st century and upgrading my phone. This would be a big step for me as I like my current museum piece!
I have always resisted buying a new phone as I didn't think I would do much with it apart from make phone calls. I would love to hear from anyone who uses the Spark People apps. Are they easy to use? Do they work on all the modern smartphones? Do the trackers automatically update the online trackers or are they completely unconnected?
Last week I was uber busy and had to miss going to the gym for a whole 7 days. Considering I have been to the gym 4 times per week since I rejoined in December, that was a big deal for me.
My 4 visits tend to be divided equally between cardio and weights work outs. I am back in my old routine now and what a difference that missed week has made.
I have had to slightly reduce the weights I am using on some of the machines. I am very careful about what I lift as I don't want to injure myself. I know from experience that damaged muscles take ages to heal. Some instructors tell you to push through the pain barrier. But, if I feel something is about to pop, snap or explode, I stop. It just isn't worth the risk.
On my cardio visits, I tend to use the treadmill, the elliptical machine and the exercise bike. Again, I am very careful and keep an eye on my heart rate reading. It is possible to work too hard on cardio machines and I think a lot of people were shocked when the tv presenter Andrew Marr blamed his stroke on working too fast on a rowing machine.
I still work on the cardio machines for the same number of minutes and stay within my safe heart rate range. But it is more tiring than it was before I missed a week.
I lost a pound in weight last week mainly because I was rushing around like a lunatic and barely had time to eat correctly. I didn't celebrate that weight loss as it didn't make be feel any fitter.
All this has just proved to me that staying fit and healthy has to be a continuous life-long commitment.