What can YOU do in 10 minutes?

Gareth wearing a 24 hour blood pressure monitor.
Gareth sporting an attractive 24 hour blood pressure monitor.

I was all ready to return to work today and then yesterday I got hooked up to a 24 hour blood pressure monitor at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee and that scuppered all my plans for the next 1440 minutes.

The 24 hour blood pressure monitor is like a standard digital sphygmomanometer only this one is about the size of an old Sony Walkman and is attached to the belt. Every 15 minutes (30 minutes at night) it beeps twice, the cuff inflates, and your blood pressure is taken. If there is an error with the reading the machine waits for three minutes and then tries again.

I got about 45-60 minutes of sleep last night because every time I started to drop off the thing started again. And because I was restless it failed and tried again. On average during the last 86400 seconds I’ve had my blood pressure taken for 24 minutes of each hour. It really was quite unpleasant.


However, as I lay awake last night thankful for the BBC World Service I was able to spend quite a while praying and giving thanks to the amazing things that God has afforded us.

  • I marvelled at the stars last night which were amazing above such a clear sky. I was looking up at Ursa Major and marvelling at just how small and seemingly insignificant we are here in this tiny planet, third from the Sun.
  • I gave thanks that I was only attached to a portable BP monitor for 0.14286 of a week and that I’m not attached to a kidney dialysis machine.
  • This week, and particularly these last two days I got to spend more time with the lovely Jane, whom I love more and more every day.

Like tapas…

From 15:30 yesterday to the same today I discovered just how many things I can do in 10 minutes. Today was like tapas, I told Jane: small portions of this and that, but nothing to really get my teeth into.

I discovered that I could shower and dress in less than 10 minutes; I could pull my trousers up without the BP monitor falling to the floor only if I held the end of my belt in my teeth (yes it was as uncomfortable and awkward as it sounds!), I could make myself breakfast and bring it back to bed and put it down just in time for my left arm to be squeezed to a pulp by the now-too-tight cuff.

At 15:30 today Jane drove me back to Dundee and I handed it back; I get the results on Wednesday 4 October.

What can you do in 10 minutes?

Published by

Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master at Safeguard Global; latterly at Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

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