Santa says ‘Think Kidneys!’

What no one knows about Christmas this year is that it almost didn’t happen. Just think of the consequences of me not showing up – all those expectant children waiting for me to arrive and leave their presents, regardless of whether they’ve been good or bad. The planning, the shopping, the letters written, the wrapping!

Looking back it was inevitable really. You can’t expect an old man like me to be as nimble and fit as I was even a couple of years ago. I hadn’t been feeling too well for a few weeks after Christmas last year.  At first I thought it was ‘flu – wasn’t surprised as I hadn’t had my flu jab. The toy building season had been hectic and the flight on Christmas Eve really shook me up. The reindeers were unhappy with me – must admit I took it out on them a bit. But it’s usually tiring – what can you expect of someone my age?  I was grumpy and feeling rough but I didn’t know why. I thought I’d eaten too many mince pies but that often happens and after a day or two I usually feel okay. Not last year.

In February Mrs Claus and I usually go on holiday to Tenerife to get some sunshine but I just couldn’t find the energy or the interest to get motivated. I just thought it was my age – but then I’ve been old for a very long time! In March I was rushed to hospital feeling very poorly indeed (needless to say we have very good intensive care in Lapland) and after a couple of days I learned I’d had acute kidney injury – quite possibly caused by an infection, the source of which was never found. Mince pie poisoning? Fir tree needlestick injury? Stubbed toe on too many fireplaces? Dehydration from too many hot chimneys? Who knows?

After three weeks on dialysis my kidneys started to work again– very impractical and all the time I was wondering how I was going to manage Christmas this year. But the doctors tell me I have been left with ‘chronic kidney disease and high blood pressure’. I needed to lose some weight, take some exercise and when I told them the number of glasses of sherry I get through – well let’s just say their faces were a picture!

I feel well now, but I never take my health for granted and so, for all you cotton-headed ninny muggins, I’ll be there again this year – just so long as you’ve been good all year; not naughty but nice. I’m a little less rotund and florid this year so the chimneys should be less of a struggle and I think the reindeer will be happy about that. Trying to stay healthy and a bit fitter. I even take my own blood pressure and Mrs Claus always makes sure I have my tablets. Turns out this internet thing is great – I even check the results of my own tests online. And a glass of water will be fine, and a carrot for me as well as Rudolph would be preferable – not sure I can face another mince pie as long as I live (and they are high in potassium) and carry on doing this job! As Mrs Claus says, I need to ‘Think Kidneys’.

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