01 April 2010

All of this has happened before...

Things that have not changed in the last two years (Number One): Apple batteries are poo.

Fourteen months after replacing the battery on my 17" MBP, I came in a few weeks ago to find it deader than a doorknob. My laptop gets minimal use, for the last year my computer of daily use has been an iMac, my travel computer has been a Samsung NC10 netbook. My MBP is hauled out on occasion and runs for maybe 10 hours a month, and yet here we are two months after the warranty has conveniently expired and it is no more, it has deceased, it is an ex-battery. If I had used the laptop more often perhaps it would have died within its warranty period and I would have been able to get a replacement, but as it is I am €139 out of luck. Again.

Things that have not changed in the last two years (Number Two): Delivery companies are unable to find my doorbell.

Yesterday afternoon at 16:10, and again this morning at 09:26, UPS failed to locate my doorbell and alert me to the delivery of my replacement MacBook Pro battery. I work from home, so does the Very Understanding Girlfriend. It is a rare occasion that neither of us are home during business hours, and neither yesterday nor today were one of those moments. If the house was continuously occupied and no doorbell was heard, one can only conclude that the delivery person was unable to locate and/or use said doorbell.

If the local street urchins can locate our doorbell for their humorous antics and tomfoolery, one would imagine a trained delivery professional would also be able to locate and utilise such a device.

Alas, no.

Things that have changed in the last year:
My cholesterol.

This might not be big news to any of you, but for me its huge. I am a vegetarian. I do not smoke. I am an occasional drinker (read: a lightweight). I am an appropriate weight for my height. And yet last year during my first annual check-up my cholesterol came in at a staggering 6.9, with an LDL of 4.69. The advice from my doctor: eat less meat (I'm a vegetarian), cut back on butter (I'm allergic to dairy), eat more oily fish (um, I'm vegetarian) and so on. There was really nothing I could cut out or add to my diet, the cholesterol was being produced internally by an overactive liver and the main course of action would be to start popping pills, and continue to do so for the rest of my life.

But before we moved on to that my doctor suggested trying Benecol, a daily drink containing plant Stanol Ester (which means nothing to me either) and available in two dairy-free flavours. I have been methodically chugging a 65.5g bottle a day, every day for a year (minus the odd hiccup here and there in foreign climes less concerned with cholesterol), and got back the results of my latest cholesterol check yesterday: astonishingly I'm now at an overall level of 5.1 and an LDL of 3.7, just marginally outside the healthy range but no longer in danger of dropping dead in the presence of a chip butty.

That's more than a 25% reduction in cholesterol levels, almost entirely attributable to plant stanols (whatever they are), as there was almost nothing else in my lifestyle that I could change (having a somewhat joyless life already). Given the dearth of information on dealing with cholesterol for otherwise healthy vegetarians and vegans, this is something that I feel like shouting about from the rooftops.

And while I am on the aforementioned rooftops, I might be able to catch the attention of passing UPS delivery guys and point out the location of my doorbell.

Its really not that easy to miss.



At 1:36 pm, Blogger arjedre said...

Congrats, Mr Dave, on the lower cholesterol! I too was given a "high cholesterol" tag at my last check-up and told to adjust my diet. Sniffle, sniffle, cheese, sniffle. I'll be checking out Benecol - although in the US it appears to only be available as a buttery spread or delicious soft chew. Yummy.

At 2:37 pm, Blogger Unknown said...

wow, that's great. I eat my hat as I was sure benecol was just a way to make money and did not work at all!!


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