No sex please…. September 27, 2017

The doctor talked about various issues with the drugs I was taking and talked about the possible side effects – including erectile dysfunction, gangrene and eventual death. It’s difficult not to let this all get you a little depressed but my ears did eventually prick up when he said …. ‘I suppose you would like to know when its ok to start having sex again?’

This was something that did interest me – particularly as I wasn’t getting any before I had the heart attack – I was particularly interested in how the onset of coronary disease was going to improve my chances of getting some.

I looked across at my stony-faced wife with the look of an injured puppy hoping to get some glimmer of hope ….?? My wife was shaking her head – ‘…it’s not as easy as that doctor there are other issues that my husband needs to resolve before he gets any funny ideas…’ … ‘just because he’s had a heart attack doesn’t mean his slates been wiped clean…’

So…. shot down in flames before I’d even suggested the nurses uniform.

It is interesting as to what you can and cannot do.

Walking is good, running bad. Painting a wall is ok but painting the ceiling could cause me to faint (luckily).

I’m ok to go swimming ….but apparently don’t try holding your breath for too long as it might just turn into …death.

Sitting down for too long is bad, but getting up too quickly is also bad…

Brazil nuts are apparently good for reducing cholesterol but only if you eat 4 a day…any more than 4 a day ….and you’re just going to get fatter.

Fish is good …but it must be oily fish and only twice a week. Any more than twice a week and you will grow gills and start behaving in a very fishy manner.

I am in what’s called ‘heart rehab’….I had to stand up in the group and introduce myself …. ‘my name is Mike Clough and I had a heart attack’. I’m open minded and open to improving my chances of survival.

Mike C

Life 3, or is it 4…or 5? September 20, 2017

I have been reading Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark – a really informative book about artificial intelligence and the challenges it will bring to future generations. How far this will be in the future is a matter of some debate, and will very much depend on how quickly the human race can adapt to a world where much of our menial work is done by robots.

Theoretically, this will allow us humans to enjoy our lives with less work and more leisure time. The down side being that with less work there will be less employment and hence less money in people’s pockets to spend on their newly acquired leisure periods. It’s a long complex argument and not something I can summarise in a blog.

The title of the book started me thinking about the stages in life that we go through. Childhood, teenage years, marriage, children, middle age etc. etc. I’ve been thinking that maybe I’ve been stuck in ‘teenage’ years for far too long and maybe I need to just grow up a bit? Maybe it’s about time that my brain started making more decisions and my penis should take a secondary role and concentrate on peeing and other such penis like roles….?

So, having had the ‘wake-up call’ I am now entering a new phase of life. No longer stuck in teenage years I have skipped a few stages and have jumped into ‘old age’…(I say ‘jumped’ it was more of a roll…). I now get up several times a night to have a pee (this may be the previously mentioned ‘penis’ taking some sort of revenge for being side stepped in the decision-making processes). I am now awoken by my pill alarm clock – which dictates when I have to take my selection of life preserving drugs. I have discovered that just getting up when I wake up and taking tablets indiscriminately is BAD…if you then take a second dose before the twelve hour period it doesn’t half make you feel weird.

Breakfast no longer consists of Golden Nuggets or Crunchy Nut Cornflakes …I no longer have toast or honey or peanut butter ….it is fruit or yoghurt. Strangely in this new world I am allowed bacon and eggs which is a plus – low carbohydrate apparently. Breakfast is followed by a brisk fifteen minute walk to help digestion.

I am at work on a Monday, but I make my way in after the traffic has died down. Meetings are pre-arranged in order of priority and everyone comes to me in the boardroom where I can over see where we are up to with cash-flow and sales. Marketing and website amends comes a swift second to the cash-flow and sales then any outstanding HR issues get my attention. Lunch consists of a salad with avocado and something green which defies any identification process but tastes pretty good…I then do the rounds chatting to everyone before making my way home – before the traffic begins to get tedious.

Walking is again on my agenda with a good hour and a half walk around the nearby woodland and open country. Evening meal is a challenge to create low carb food that still tastes good. Mrs. C has always been a good cook but her creative juices have excelled in the last few weeks with fish being high on the menu choices. I have eaten more veg than I have ever eaten and if ever I’m tempted to have a snack – then it’s an apple or a carrot that takes my eye rather than crisps or chocolate which would have previously been my go to choice.

Has any of this made the slightest difference – well the jury’s still out.

I’m targeting losing two stone of ugly fat…my wife suggested I cut my head off – which I thought was a little unhelpful.


Mike C

Reports of my death have been exaggerated… September 13, 2017

So….you’re all wondering how I’m doing right??

I say ‘you’re all’ – when what I really mean is…the people who have actually given a crap about my near death situation. It’s weird what an experience like mine brings out in people. There have been those that have stepped up, and those that have stepped away…

Weirdly people don’t always react the way that you expect them to. Close friends have rallied round and been supportive. Relatives that I haven’t heard from for years have sent cards and best wishes…and yet one or two people closer to home have done bugger all (you know who you are…)

I think that a whole bunch of people have thought – … ‘jeez ….there but for the grace of god..’  – mates of mine who are the same age have all suddenly cut down on the booze and given up smoking.

A whole ‘other’ set of people have thought … ‘hmmm Mike Clough …probably deserved what has happened – he’s been asking for trouble for years…’

Well – I’m back at home, taking it all in, reading everything that I can about what’s happened, why it’s happened and what I can do to stop it all happening again. The Times newspaper has had an article every day featuring various issues with Heart Disease…and I’ve had magazines and flyers from support groups.

Today’s news is that doctors suggest that every workplace should have a blood pressure monitor. Supermarkets should have blood pressure monitors and firemen should check the BP on every job they go out to. I have been having treatment for high blood pressure over the last couple of months, but at no time was it suggested that I had the symptoms of heart disease. I was told that high BP was bad and could lead to heart disease – but not that I was about to have a heart attack.

My high BP only came to light when I was due to have knee surgery and I was told that there was an increase ‘risk’ of heart problems during surgery – this was only thrown out there as an afterthought – I never for one moment thought that a heart attack was on the horizon.


Changes are afoot.

Delegation has been done – and a whole raft of work normally undertaken by …ME …has been passed on to younger fitter minds than mine.

We’ve introduced ‘walking meetings’ where instead of sitting around a table getting a tired bum and stifling yawns – we get out and stretch our legs and minds by walking along the nearby canal whilst discussing cash flow and sales targets.

I’ve ordered a blood pressure monitor for work so that in the privacy of the boardroom anybody can check their own BP whenever they feel the need – and do it regularly.

I’m still on board and I’m still in control …but I’ve passed on the day to day stuff which doesn’t need my ‘hands on’ approach. It’s a very eye opening experience – in that given the opportunity the team at JKSL have just taken the baton …and run with it.

Not only have they run with it, they’re doing better than me ….

Maybe there will be problems ahead?….but just at the moment I’m enjoying seeing the business flourish without ‘Mr. Grumpy arse’ sticking his nose in – (that’s me in case you hadn’t twigged)

I have been out walking every day and start at the gym tomorrow, personal trainer is booked in and a massage arranged for later in the evening.

Diet has been modified and ‘low carb’ is the order of the day.

Luckily, I have discovered that single malt is actually a low carb food group…(?)

Mike C

I told you I was Ill… September 6, 2017

For some reason I have always thought I would die young. I was surprised to reach 30, amazed to reach 40, stunned to be 50 ….but will I reach 60??

The jury’s out.

After a lifetime of drinking too much, eating all the wrong things, and driving fast cars at the limit of my driving skills…. it would appear that my ‘lifestyle’ is catching up with me.

Last Tuesday night I was awoken at 1.45am by what I thought was indigestion. The pain worsened pretty much central in my chest and I felt clammy and nauseous. This ‘clamminess’ triggered the thought that maybe I was having a heart attack. I tried to wake up my wife who was deeply asleep in her other bedroom (*Note – we had been sleeping separately due to my irregular sleep patterns and heavy snoring).

Eventually she woke up but refused to believe that what I thought was a heart attack was anything more than discomfort caused by a combination of cheese and single malt just before bed.

She went downstairs to make a cup of tea whilst I sat on the edge of the bed in agony. After a few minutes I asked if she had called the ambulance – she advised that her tea hadn’t fully brewed yet and she would make the call once the required quality of flavour had been achieved.

By this time I was on the floor.

To cut a long story short – top score for the NHS – YOU ARE AMAZING… EVERY ONE OF YOU – ambulance/Thameside Hospital/Wythenshaw Hospital /surgery/stent/hospital/more surgery/more stents/ then home ….with more pills than you would believe.

The diagnosis was that the pain was being caused by a blocked artery. The ‘plaque’ that was thickening the artery had broken away and cause a complete blockage in one of the two main in-flowing sections of my heart….this was the cause of the pain. The emergency procedure was to insert a stent into the artery which was inflated by a small balloon then put in place to keep the flow unrestricted.

The other artery was a more complex procedure involving three further stents put in place whilst I lay perfectly still for two hours – whilst wide awake watching what they were doing on a large monitor beside my bed.

On recovery and returning to the public ward I was visited by a series of advisers who talked to me about what had caused the issues and how I should be making changes to make sure this didn’t happen again.

So …the main thing that everyone’s been saying to me – doctors and rehab advisors – is that I need to…. ‘change my lifestyle…’

Reduce the stress. Change the diet. Cut out the booze. Learn how to relax.

Hmmmm – so …a complete overhaul of Mr Clough is on the cards.

The booze I can cut out – I’ve done it before – I did a four-month stint earlier this year just to prove to myself that I could. The diet I can do, I’ve always been able to give things up. It’s a mindset thing – once I’ve said to myself that I’m not eating a particular food – I just stop.

I’m not quite so good at just ‘reducing’ the amount of something that I have – but if I give it up – it’s do-able.

The other ‘life’ changes are going to be the challenge – ‘stress’ is what running a business seems to thrive on?? I seem to find myself in work environments where aggressive competition is the name of the game.

Adopting a ‘laissez faire’ attitude whilst running a business will quickly have you in a situation where you have no work. If you aren’t first with the price and are the most competitive – then you just won’t get a look in. You have to be quick, you have to be sharp and you need to be 100% on the ball when you run a company that works in the construction industry.

At the moment I just can’t imagine how I can adopt a ‘relaxed’ attitude to this part of my life. The reason I’ve been successful with my business is down to my being aggressively on the ball from the minute I wake up – until the minute I go to sleep.

This is where I think the damage has probably been done….:-/ …(*OK maybe this combined with drinking too much, eating too much red meat and dairy and having a sedentary lifestyle sat behind my desk or driving between meetings).

Constant pressure to perform – constant pressure to be the best I can be has just worn me down.

Apparently I have the arteries of a heavy smoker even though I’ve never had a cigarette in my life.

So …

I’ve had my ‘wake-up’ call, I’ve had the warning shot fired over my head – it’s now up to me to make the difference and make the changes required to enable me to see 60.

I’m going to give it my best shot – starting with getting a holiday booked. Maybe a bit of time in the sun without any work will do me the power of good.

Maybe, just maybe…. if I do this on a regular basis I might just start to like it.

Mike C