I think it’s fair to say I’ve been rather obsessive about my health in recent years. Let me update you on what knobs I’ve been twiddling with lately in my quest for literal  immortality. It all got simple because I’m in Serbia.
Reading Matthew Walker’s sleep book was transformative as I’d never fully appreciated how sub-optimal my sleep hygiene was. It seemed kinda silly to think you need to be taught how to sleep. Surely the fact I could wake up whenever I please and nap if I’m short was enough? Evidently not. And I mean evidently, as Walker’s book is based on evidence. It was eye-opening  just how many restorative processes sleep involves for both body and mind, and how all your hard work on gym and diet is undone if you don’t sort sleep. I have now enforced this protocol:
- No caffeine after 4:30pm. Only occasionally relaxed to as late as 6pm.
- No screen time one hour before bedtime, including phone.
- Dim or turn off all lights at least one hour before bedtime.
- Keep the room cool. If it’s a warm evening, kick the covers off.
- Take great care choosing apartments based on good beds and quiet environs.
- If there’s unavoidable noise, put on a YouTube video of nature or storm sounds.
- A “no rumination” rule if I catch myself thinking of important life issues.
- No water an hour before bed.
It’s been playing a blinder. I drop off to sleep far easier, sleep deeper, and feel refreshed upon waking. Gone is the previous norm of feeling a bit sleepy for half an hour upon waking then needing coffee to get going. I also rarely need afternoon naps.
Jimmy found a good private dentist in Dorcol that cost peanuts. I had a check-up and clean. She found one cavity and treated it on the spot  with a white filling. She also filed down an NHS crown that didn’t fit well and reassured me on a gum gap I’d thought might be more decay. It was all done in an hour for a total cost of £100.
Speaking of Jimmy, he likes to invent maladies that let him bitch and moan and feel special. His latest ruse was skin cancer so he found himself a dermatologist and got scanned. Having never done that before myself, I wanted to get the all-clear (or, god forbid, catch cancer early) so I booked the same afternoon he came back from his consultation, getting an appointment 9am the next morning. Some bint put a funny eye glass all over my body, checking every mole. Apparently the glass separates out the colour and can easily identify problem moles. She gave me the all clear. £30.
I took the opportunity to ask her about face skin-care regimes. She agreed my vitamin C serum was good and she also recommended exactly the retinol eye-wrinkle cream I was already using. If you’re wondering, it’s Camden Cosmetics London Vitamin C 20% Advanced Formula + Anti-Aging Serum (Amazon) and La Roche-Posay Redermic R Eyes (any cosmetics store or big pharmacy). She also recommend a bi-monthly treatment of mini-injections to stimulate collagen renewal but seeing as my face is as smooth as a baby’s arse nowadays I’m gonna hold off an that.
Bodybuilder Blood Screen
I went to Beo Labs by Kalemegdan park and ordered a “one of everything” screening of piss and blood. It was a no-appointment walk-in service at 10am and they emailed the results at 4pm. They tested something like 40 things, including total and free testosterone. My scores were all in the green range except for cholesterol (a bit high), HDL (a bit low) and LDL (a bit high) but those all in amber range not red. I think that’s an echo of having done a fat bastard bulk earlier in the year. I’ll defer judgement until I test again later when I’m fully lean. £60 all in.
Mid-Life Hospital Scans
On Monday I went in for a overall screening at Medigroup Hospital in Dorcol. Like everything in Serbian healthcare I got an appointment within 48 hours of asking, didn’t wait around, and it was cheap as chips. I was in the hospital three hours while a receptionist ran me from one specialist to another. My main concern was to catch cancer or heart issues early.
Mostly it was ultrasound scans. A urologist cupped and inspected my nuts (“fine English balls” he said) then ran the ultrasound on them. He did prostrate scan too  and kidneys. Then I got sent to a different specialist who did ultrasound on my liver, gall bladder, kidneys again, and spleen. Then a nurse hooked me up to a heart monitor until she had a printout to give the cardiologist, who then did a very long ultrasound. Then I gave piss and blood for a health blood screen (different tests to the bodybulder one), and finally all my results were collated and given to a GP for an overall consultation. Best bit of the bloodwork was the PCA test for signs of tumours was sitting nicely in the green range. £100 all in.
Urologist gave me all clear. Gastro-bird said I have a 4mm soft polyp on my gall bladder which isn’t a problem but should scan again in six months to be sure it’s not worsening. Cardio-guy said I have tiny issue with heart in one valve but it’s extremely common- even in kids- and nothing to worry about. GP was all clear. So, good news. If you’re wondering, my resting heart rate was 50 bpm, slightly up from 48 bpm in April when I had reached a training peak.
I have paid for considerable peace of mind. According to all the specialists, I am as fit as a fiddle with no health issues that need action. That’s very nice to know. I was all done very rapidly and at low cost, but the clinics were all modern places with good tech. I doubt Dr Achmed Bin Jihad on the NHS would’ve been as good.
In unrelated news, I expect to be offering in-field coaching again very soon. That will be five-day immersion courses with me, and likely a shared boot camp with Roy Walker. Details coming soon but feel free to email if you’re interested.
- Rather than literary immortality, which I already have.
- Excuse the confusing pun.
- Without anaesthetic- my choice- because I’m rock.
- Ultrasound only, no fingers up the bum.