This week could have been a very bad one for Noel. A blip in blood pressure meant he’d to spend 24 hours with his arm strapped to a monitor which beeped and pumped at the most inconvenient of times. Then there was the dreaded visit to the physio for further diagnosis on the suspected stress fracture which had kept him from running for the past couple of months.
Noel suffers from White Coat Syndrome. The very mention of a visit to the GP, dentist or any medically trained practitioner who could tell him his days are numbered brings him out in hives and sends his blood pressure through the roof. So the GP shouldn’t have been surprised that the reading was high, especially when Noel had merely gone about his leg.
He left the surgery with an appointment for an ex-ray and trip to the physio and ticket to redeem against a 24-hour monitor which he promptly did, returning home with tubing running from his arm to a neat little manbag. It was definitely him.
There was something very chuckle-inducing about the random warning beep followed by the noisy inflation of the cuff around Noel’s bicep. He had to stop what he was doing, stay still and wait for the reading because if he didn’t, dammit, the machine started again. No matter how many times it happened during the 24 hours, I found it funny, every time. Even in the cinema. Even in the coffee bar. Oh how I laughed. Noel laughed too, with relief, when the cuff was removed and read-out pronounced him ‘normal’.
The physio was less intimidating, especially as he started out by describing Noel as both an athlete and athletic, pretty fit in fact. And as for the so-called injury? No stress, no fracture. In fact, said the rather gruff physio as he poked the shin and surrounding muscle, ‘you’re not injured, you’re just soft’ and told him to go away and run a few miles and see if he screamed in pain.
So it’ll be back on the trails and Park Run for Noel who will have the last laugh as he sprints past me, gazelle-like. He is, after all, an athlete, his physio told him so.