Monday was my birthday although we celebrated with a party on Saturday (7th Nov) Quiet day, Monday, after hectic Saturday, including a visit to the chiropodist. (What, on your birthday!)
Which is probably why I found myself wide awake, at three in the morning thinking about toes, or one toe in particular. My big toe, the left one if you're interested. No, oh please yourself! Evidently the joint is showing signs of wear. Now this is a nuisance but hardly terminal. And after all, it's rather an old toe when all is said and done.
Now I've reached seventy, that means my toe, my original and only left toe is around 25,567 days old. If my maths are right, that would come to well over half a million hours. And where else in my life am I going to achieve a figure of half a million plus of anything. (Answers on a postcard please.) So the old toe has not worn too badly by my reckoning. So I lay there and metaphorically contemplated my naval.
By now going back to sleep was out of the question. Then it got real deep and interesting. My knees are in a right state but they've done some work over the years. Plus they've had bits and pieces done to them to keep them going. My left hip joint has long since gone, replaced by modern ceramics. Gone too, my tonsils, no ceramic replacement necessary. (With it has gone some, go on then, most of my hair.) One eye never did work properly, the other is backed up by modern technology, £3oo spectacles for long distance from the opticians, reading glasses, £0.99 from Home Bargains. My joints in general are passable if arthritic, my lungs work within reason and my brain is almost completely intact in spite of the old TGA. Plus one or two other items have dwindling powers but we won't go into that! All this relying from day one, minute one on that wonder of science, the old ticker called the heart.
We seldom think of hearts until they go wrong; its bumping along as I write this. Unnoticed, no attention since that day in 1939 when first required to power this other wonder of science christened Kenneth Allan. Think about it. If we had been given a battery instead of a heart, what number battery would we be on by now?
A few 'heartfelt' observations. Your system of blood vessels concerned with the heart (arteries, veins and capillaries) is over 60,000 miles long. Long enough to go round the world more than twice. An adult heart pumps more than five quarts of blood each minute. That's around 2,000 gallons of blood each day. Plus it beats around 100,000 times each day. For a seventy year old that means it's done around 2.5 billion beats so far. And it weighs around ten ounces. A female adult heart only weighs around eight ounces but there again it doesn't have so much work to do. (Only kidding, ladies, honest, only kidding!) Every minute, every second, thump, thump, thump, amazing! Asleep, awake, its all the same to 'old faithful' 'cos if it doesn't, that's it, end, of story, end of Kenneth, 'Goodnight Vienna'.
So from now on, when you wake in the morning, and last thing at night, say 'thank you, heart, you unsung hero, you.' (But not too loud, eh, you don't want the neighbours talking.) I never did get back to sleep, instead I just got up and had a cup of tea. I'm sure old ticker approved.