You just kind of get used to it: being out of breath when you climb the stairs; wearing extra extra large clothes; not looking in the mirror; taking a little longer to do things.
I was happy in my computer- based world. My scores were great and I felt I was really achieving something every time I got top points and that rousing medal music told me that I was a champion. The only thing that really alerted me to the fact that my health wasn’t perfect was the fact that sometimes I would feel out of breath. There weren’t many times when this mattered but on one occasion it really made me sit up and take notice.
My sister had a little boy called Jack. When she brought him round he would love to join in with my games. He was a master of shoot-em-ups and we had a lot of fun taking on missions in middle Asia.
But there was one time that she left him with me for the day and told me I had to take him to the dentist. I could see that she was very stressed and had an important meeting to prepare for and I did not dare say no to her but it was rare that I would have to take Jack out and about.
In my head, it was easy as I could simply drive him right up to the dentist surgery and walk right into reception. Afterwards we could pop past the local chicken eatery for a well-earned treat, if his teeth allowed.
We got into the car with just enough time to get us there and a few minutes grace, just in case there was a little traffic or we needed time to fill out one of those stupid dentist quizzes. The engine stalled. I clicked it again, but there seemed to be a problem. A third time revealed something was up with the alternator. I slapped the dashboard. Damn!
Oh well. He jumped out and called me to join him. Jack started on ahead and I followed with some reluctance. He knew the way. It wasn’t even that far.
‘We need to hurry!’ yelled Jack. ‘ I have to have my filling out!’
I told him to wait for me but he kept on going. He was ushering me to catch up but my pace was not what it used to be. The sun was beating down on me with beams that seemed to be slowing me down. Sweat was gathering under my arms, inside my thighs and on my back. People were staring at me as if to say, why are you so unfit?