In Focus: Advice for Women  

It's time to stop doing forward rolls

Simoney Kyriakou

Simoney Kyriakou

After two consultations, one private referral and an ultrasound scan, Dr Abulafi suggested – gently – that I might consider not doing any more forward rolls.

In my defence, it is not something I do daily. Perhaps that is actually no defence at all, for had I been the type of 40-something that did indeed do forward rolls each day, I might not have felt something pop out between my rib cage as a result.

But I don't, and so I did, and that led to two minutes of agony for me as I pushed whatever it was back in and got myself up from off my son's train set, followed by two months of doctors searching for a non-existent hiatus hernia.

Discharging me, the consultant's suggestion that I might commit to physically gentler forms of showing off to my son was not uncalled for. But it was a wake-up call, nonetheless. 

The fact I have private medical insurance through the workplace was evidently a boon – no waiting around, no being sent to hospitals several train journeys away, and no bills to hit my own back pocket (which I can still reach without physical injury).

In truth, I have relied, for the past decade and more, on the workplace insurance benefits offered by the Financial Times. There's an excellent PMI plan with cover for in-patient and day-patient consultations, scans and medical procedures, up to £2,000 a year.

It also provides £100 back for every night you have to stay in hospital unexpectedly, like the time I got shingles during my first week of pregnancy.

This, by the way, was really not fun, especially as it was my first positive pregnancy result after four rounds of very expensive IVF, so being hooked to a drip on the infectious diseases ward at St George's wasn't exactly great for my mental wellbeing, even if it was excellent care for my physical wellbeing.

Back to the PMI plan. Thanks to this I was able to confirm that no, I do not have a hernia; I am merely too old and unfit to be forward rolling.

There's also the 14 times death-in-service payout at the FT. Yes, that's right, 14 times. This means I've also not worried about life insurance, because my husband who also works for the FT gets the same deal. This is why I usually ask him to go onto the roof to fix the aerial or to remove the moss from the tiles. 

It is a given that, were either of us to leave the FT before we shuffle (or fall from a height) off this mortal coil, we would need to provide our own medical cover and life insurance.

And, at our age – and with my propensity for ill-advised derring-do – this would not be cheap, but we know it would be essential.