Sunday, November 28th 2010

A stressful week

I’m just starting to recover from what has been a very stressful week for me. It has been one which has seen both my appetite and energy levels plummet to a record low, and my stress levels go through the roof thanks to my computer which developed a major fault. Let me explain…

Healthwise I was already off to a bad start at the beginning of the week when my variable appetite decided to take a nosedive. Try as I might I just couldn’t work up any enthusiasm to tackle eating which has steadily become an increasingly time and energy intensive task. It would begin in the morning when I woke up. Instead of feeling hungry and looking forward to breakfast I was starting to look at it as something that needed to be got out of the way as quickly and efficiently as possible. This is a far cry from even just a month ago when I would look forward to a delicious cooked English breakfast that I would have little problem eating. Now I was struggling to get through a bowl of cereals or a very small cooked breakfast. In fact on a number of occasions I was having to give up half way through as I just didn’t have the energy to continue.

Tiredness also plagued me and I felt that I wasn’t fully awake until halfway through the morning. At the other end of the day it was very much the same story as I would often feel ready for sleep well before my bedtime. The only consolation to all this was that I slept soundly.

What I didn’t need on top of all of this was for my computer to start acting up again. Unfortunately this is exactly what happened last Wednesday night when the screen suddenly froze and the whole computer stopped responding. Fortunately Suja, one of my carers, was with me at the time so was able to reboot the computer for me. But I groaned in disbelief as green vertical bands followed by dots appeared all over the screen as it attempted to load Windows – and failed. It was the same issue that had brought my computer to its knees the first time I was at St Michaels Hospice back in the summer so I knew straightaway that it was going to be expensive to repair.

Without the computer I couldn’t even go online and order a new one, nor could I search for a local repair company or access the details of the previous repair. And being trapped upstairs meant that I was also unable to ask one of my carers to go out shopping with me for one. I felt helpless and frustrated. I depend on the computer for so much. Ironically I was planning to order a new laptop  soon which was going to be my primary computer and then relegate my current one to being the backup in case anything happened. Unfortunately circumstances overtook me and I went to bed that night feeling rather low. It was bad enough being locked out of my body without also being locked out of my computer.

The next morning (Thursday) we tried contacting the company responsible for repairing the laptop to find out if their work carried a warranty. The answer was yes it did but apparently it expired in the middle of October. So at that rate it looks like three months or 90 days is all you get. Why do things always fail just outside warranty? The last repair cost me almost £150 and took a week to turn around. I certainly didn’t fancy spending that kind of money again if all I was going to get out of it was about four months, nor could I afford to sit around twiddling my thumbs for a week. The only option I had at this stage was to buy another computer and worry about the other one later. My brother Jason had been kind enough to spend some time Wednesday night searching online for something suitable and ideally close to home. As luck would have it he was able to identify something on special offer at my local retail park. Debbie very kindly rushed out and got it for me during my morning call. At times like this I am really grateful that we have facilities like this so close by, and also people to get them for me.

Halfway through that morning I had a call from Peter, one of the assessors with AbilityNet. He’d actually called to demonstrate a piece of equipment but because my computer wasn’t working and I was not feeling very well, we put that on hold. Instead he very kindly offered to help me rescue all of my data which thankfully we managed to achieve by starting the computer in safe mode. I breathed a big sigh of relief once everything was securely backed up.

During the evening and with a lot of assistance from Suja we unpacked the new computer, got it set up and connected to the network. Over the course of the next three days and with the help of various people I was able to get the system sufficiently customised so that it could be used ‘hands-free’. The big problem we had was in getting the speech recognition software to work. I’ve set this up on two machines now and not had a problem before but this time it just didn’t seem to want to work with my gooseneck microphone. That particular problem cost me a whole day and in the end was resolved by my brother whilst I lay in bed exhausted.

So here we are at the end of the week and I’m finally back online again. I still have a lot of work ahead of me in getting this new system set up but at least I have a working computer again so can communicate with everyone. Before signing off would like to express my gratitude to everyone who helped out in this ‘crisis’: to my brother Jason for sourcing a computer and sorting out the technical issues, Debbie for ‘shopping duties’, Peter for rescuing my data, and Suja for help with all the setup and installations.

Mark

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One Response to Sunday, November 28th 2010

  1. Jason Glover says:

    Glad to see blogging again. Sorry to hear though that you’re losing your appetite.

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