A TIMELY AND ESSENTIAL DAY – Marilyn Armstrong

Time, Bluetooth, and an Essential Day

(As opposed to an “inessential day” without time?)

If there’s such thing as an “inessential day,” I’d like to know what that is. These days, if I wake up and manage to struggle out of bed and find something to wear, that is an essential day. Time is a definite part of the essentialness of any day because not a whole lot gets done if one is lacking time.

If after that, I do a few things that seem worth the effort, I’ve moved beyond essential into “productive.” If somehow I do something of which I am proud, I am approaching “unforgettable.” I think it’s possible I’ve hit unforgettable today, although mostly, I got there by making other things disappear.

Last night, I realized the ringing in Garry’s ears was audible. To me. If it was regular old tinnitus, I couldn’t hear it. But this was loud and my hearing is far from perfect. In fact, it was very loud. Annoying loud.

The thing is, real tinnitus can’t be heard by anyone but the person who has it stuck in his or her head. If I could hear it sitting next to him, it meant he had something called “objective tinnitus.” In other words, it isn’t tinnitus. Something is triggering the noise. Something real. Sort of like hardware versus software.

Now, all I needed to do was figure out what that thing might be.

Garry, still pretty loopy from anesthesia, seemed to be mad at me for not nailing the problem and immediately fixing it. I was not exactly in my comfort zone, technically or medically. But since he wasn’t behaving rationally, I decided to breathe deeply and try to work it out.

The first thing I checked was his hearing aid.

No more of these!

It was chiming. And really loud. It sounded like melodious chimes on an old grandfather clock. Garry had said it did sound like chimes and sometimes, like a lot of small car horns beeping at the same time (he referenced a particularly funny scene in “A Shot In The Dark” (Peter Sellers).

I was pretty sure the hearing aid wasn’t supposed to be doing that.

Since all of this started when my Bluetooth speaker decided to connect with his brain the previous evening, I decided to start by reducing the amount of Bluetooth in the house. This turned out to be a lot more complicated than I imagined possible.

Sometimes I forget how many wireless things live in our house. We aren’t nearly as connected as other people’s houses are, but it was still a lot of stuff.  All of which are emitting Bluetooth signals. Just in the living room, there were four computers — including Garry’s iPad and Kindle — as well as the DVD player which has its own Bluetooth setting.

The speaker is the long box in front of the television — and it is definitely Bluetooth.

The television speakers have a Bluetooth signal. We don’t use it. We simply plug it into the TV, so it works like a standard pre-wireless speaker, but the signal is still there whether we use it or not. There were also three small devices plugged in (two in the living room and one in the kitchen) supposedly designed to scare mice out of the walls of the house. Obviously ineffective since we had a house full of mouses.

On any Apple product, you turn off Bluetooth by finding the settings, locating the Bluetooth setting, and turning it off. If you change your mind, you can turn it back on. I turned it off on Garry’s iPad, then on the Kindle (almost as easy) and later on my Macbook.

I pulled the three little anti-mouse emitters out of the wall. Short of unplugging the DVD player, I couldn’t find an answer for that, so I moved into the bedroom where I turned of the Bluetooth on my Kindle and computer and removed another anti-mouse thing from the bathroom.

Somewhere in there, I also went and turned off the wireless Canon printer.

PCs used to have a Bluetooth setting like on the Mac. A simple on/off clicker. Now, you have to find the device manager then individually disable each Bluetooth device.

I’ve got two devices on my computer and I use neither of them. Belay that. I cannot be sure of that until the next time I try to use the printer, which is at the other end of the house. Is that a Bluetooth signal or just plain WiFi? Right now it doesn’t matter because I turned off the printer. I don’t print much anyway, so when I need it, I can just turn it back on. I might also have to turn on the signals on my computer, too, but I will make that discovery when I need to. Suffice to say I yearned for the simple “on-off” switch it once had.

Windows keeps getting more confusing without its functionality improving. To turn off the Bluetooth devices, I had to go into properties and “disable” each. What’s wrong with an “on/off” switch? Wouldn’t that be less stressful?

I disabled both devices. I fondly believe I can go back and able them when and if I need to. This morning, I disabled the Bluetooth in Garry’s big computer.

In the interim, I also realized that Garry had failed to “disable” his right ear hearing aid. There’s no reason for it to be on at all or even have a battery. He will never use it again because the surgery removed the internal parts of his ear that he would need to use it. He has a Borg ear and implanted lenses from his cataract surgery. His eyes are not Bluetooth. Phew.

The Collective is ready to receive us. Personally, I have two implanted heart valves, two fake breast implants, as well as a Bluetooth-enabled pacemaker which I cannot turn off. Also, an implant in my right ankle from when I was 14 and had a huge tumor on that bone.

His ear is nice and quiet now. Not silent. The surgery tends to cause some degree of tinnitus. Any ear surgery, explosion, or another injury, as well as infections,  can produce tinnitus which can’t be fixed. But at least I can’t hear it, which is an improvement.

The entire house is surprisingly quiet. When you turn all this stuff off? It’s amazing how quiet it gets. We are so used to all the little electronic beeps and dings and chimes, it’s startling how different the sound level is when we make those noises vanish.

This is my essential day. How is yours going?

24 thoughts on “A TIMELY AND ESSENTIAL DAY – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. Wow! Now it will be so quiet there will be nothing to hear except your conversational voice! Oh, and the dogs and the telephone, and the outside ambient noises, and ~ ~ ~

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  2. It really is amazing how much ambient noise surrounds us. We become accustomed to hearing it. We’ve been using the a/c a lot lately and because we don’t have carpet, it’s incredibly noisy. It tends to drown out all other sounds. In order to preserve my hearing, I’ve taken to wearing headphones off and on. The computer is also noisy though it has umpteen fans. We have a new fridge but it gurgles off and on. It only becomes apparent how much noise we live with when the power goes out. I’m glad you found and solved the issue. Hopefully it is a one time thing.

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    1. It really isn’t — or shouldn’t be — difficult. Every computer or similar device has Bluetooth these days. Usually, to turn it off, you find the little Bluetooth symbol and click “off.” If you later need the function, you go back and click “on.” Most of us don’t use much Bluetooth with computers, but we use it with phones and Kindles and other small devices, usually for listening. I used it to run a small speaker with my Kindle to listen to audiobooks and our TV’speaker gives you a choice — plug it into the TV — if your TV has the right plug. Or you can set it for use with Bluetooth. We had the plug, so we just plugged it in and voila, sound. But some newer TVs don’t have that plug and they also don’t have speakers, so you have to attach something if you want to hear it. Ours has no sound. You have to buy a speaker. We bought a bar, which is the simplest solution. Plug it in and you have sound and it’s pretty good.

      Sooner or later, you’ll be faced with Bluetooth as the only way to do whatever it is you need to do, but usually, it’s very easy to use. My problem wasn’t that it was hard to use, but that it was creating problems with Garry’s implant — which it should NOT be able to do. I still don’t understand how this could possibly happen. Technically, it CAN’T happen.

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    1. You mean on a Mac, right? Because there IS no Nav bar on the top of a PC screen. It’s easy on a Mac no matter how you do it, but a total pain in the ass on a PC. What’s funny is it used to be the same on both — just go to the Bluetooth file and click “off” and voila. Why they made it so complicated, I have no idea.

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          1. Not crappy, just a lot more complex than predicted. Whoever it was got bored with the dinosaurs which was probably foolish and a sign of a lack of discipline. Probably trying to recover from that all this time, hoping to do better, not sure what better is. You know. Complicated.

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            1. I sometimes — often, actually — think we are the worst pest the earth has ever had. We certainly have made the worst MESS.

              Garry just toddled off to bed, so I’m going to toddle after him. Make sure he has enough drugs to settle him down. He won’t take the oxycodone, so I’m trying to give him other things that will help him sleep. It’s going to get better, but I think he needs a few more days.

              You wouldn’t believe how quiet the house is with all that Bluetooth stuff turned off. It’s so … PEACEFUL. And the dogs are not barking much. Maybe all that whirring and beeping was making them bark?

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              1. Yeah — dogs hear stuff.

                I resisted the oxycodone then I realized I could do more WITH it (movement, etc.) than without it which was why they gave it to me because I was supposed to walk and so on (but I never had much pain except the muscle spasms). They gave me valium for that. It worked, but I didn’t take them both together or I wouldn’t hve been able to get out of bed at night. Then I discovered it was fun going to sleep on that stuff and I quit resisting. And then I ran out. 🙂 I guess I’m a junky…

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                1. Garry is an alcoholic and he REALLY likes narcotics, which is exactly why he won’t take them. But I also noticed he hasn’t given them up, either. He has them. Just in case. I can’t take them — they make me ill. I’m going to try doubling up on his Klonopin tonight and see if that helps him sleep.

                  This is his head, so the narcotics are entirely for pain. he doesn’t have to do anything. In fact, he isn’t supposed to do anything much at all for at least a month and that includes sneezing, lifting, running. NO exercise until all that internal stuff has healed. After that, he’ll be able to do pretty much anything he wants. But patience in the meantime and he is not a patient guy. Yeah, I know. Everyone thinks he is.

                  Because he’s quiet. They haven’t met his temper yet.

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                  1. I would avoid oxycodone, too. I was avoiding it until I did research on why I had it, but if Garry doesn’t have to challenge his body, yeah. That stuff can be nasty and it IS addictive. I had to deal with that the first time when I was on it for two years because my doc didn’t X-ray my hip (2005-2007). You can become physically addicted and hate the stuff at the same time. I was a little afraid this time, but when I understood why, I, like I said, stopped fighting it.

                    Patience is hard and healing seems to take SO DAMNED LONG. Give Garry a hug from me and tell him I’m thinking of him.

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                    1. I’m afraid to hug him! His head really HURTS. I think him staying away from it is a healthy decision, though if what I gave him tonight doesn’t get him to sleep, then that’s what’s left and he has to get a night’s sleep. Regardless, he sure looks HAPPY on his side of the bed 😀

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