ONE THING, ANOTHER THING, AND THEN … ONE MORE THING

Garry’s computer went down, but that was okay because he could use my other computer. The Kindle went down, but that turned out okay because Audible fixed it and then Amazon fixed it more. But when my computer went down this afternoon, that was NOT okay. Not even a little bit okay.

First, there was a download. Turned out to be a BIOS download, but they didn’t mention this little detail to me and in any case, it didn’t matter because it blew out all my recovery backups. I have my photographs on hard drives, but the rest of my world is online.

It blew out Photoshop — the one from 2008 which had been running fine, thank you.

computer gargoyle

It also blew out my sound, but after a bit of jiggling, I got that back. It blew out both of my C-port adaptors. They were cheap and I can cope with stuff that cost me ten bucks. Brand new. But when she told me the jpgs weren’t working and I had to call the company that owns my cameras, I got a little crazy. I was trying really, really hard to be normal, you know? I was trying to not breathe hard, not scream in panic or anything. I was doing okay, but that was it for me.

I said “It’s a FREAKING JPEG. It’s not a fancy schmantzy super special thing that comes with my fancy camera. It’s a JPEG. A lousy little JPEG.”

We eventually worked our way around to the point where she admitted there had been a lot of calls today, all pretty much like mine with people screaming “WHAT DID YOU DO TO MY COMPUTER?”

So — everything is working. Except I don’t have software. For pictures. I do, however, have Photoshop on Garry’s computer and the guy from the computer shop is fixing HIS computer. To be fair, Alien is pretty sure they can get me a version of Photoshop, too. It’ll just take a couple of days.

I’m just saying … it was one thing. Then, there was another thing. THEN, there was THIS thing. I’m totally freaking nuts. Except the computer is working … minus the lack of software. Maybe we’ll get that fixed too. Oy.

ON A PERSONAL NOTE

It’s the time of year when I set aside my blogging cloak and don the cloak of book judge. From now until the end of February, I’ve got a lot of reading to do. it means I’ll be visiting you less often and posting less. I’m sure you will all manage with less of me for a few weeks. I won’t forget you.

I hope these books are better than the last batch. I worry about the state of literature.

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I’ve also picked up a miserable head cold. Why is it that I am brave and stalwart in the face of major adversity, but a pathetic whiny lump in the face of a runny nose, itchy eyes, sore throat and all that other stuff? And yes, Garry’s got it too because caring is sharing and we really care.

The Big One – Earthquake Update

Safe!

decocraftsdigicrafts

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Just to let everyone know that I am safe.

Around midnight New Zealand time we had an earthquake, magnitude 7.5 which was felt around most of our country, in both North and South Island.  We were all woken up to find everything shaking, and moving from side to side.  It seemed to last a long time.

My family are all safe.  Thank goodness.  My daughter was alone when it struck which was very stressful – it was a lot worse in Wellington than where I live in Hastings.  She is now with her friends which is a relief.    Her shop, where she works, is closed as it is in the CBD.  She had to go down to check it out, though.  She told me that there is little or no damage.    There are a lot of after shocks, I have just felt another one.

My son didn’t get…

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JUST ONE OF THOSE CRAZY THINGS – WHEN THE BONE DOESN’T KNIT

Yesterday morning, I dropped the mouse for the computer in the bedroom. I reached down to pick it up and a pain shot through my chest, down my arm and I yelped.

I had a lot of heart surgery a couple of years ago. Most of it has healed well. The thing that hasn’t healed properly is my breastbone. Surgeons split it in half when they work on your heart. Normally, it will take as much as between 2 and 6 months to knit into a single unit. Mine didn’t knit, so it’s still a two-piece breastbone. Healed, but not knitted and held together with steel wire. Apparently, no medical technology exists that can convince a bone to knit if it doesn’t want to.

Typically, this is a problem on joints that cannot be immobilized — ribs, breastbone, shoulders, spine. And, I should mention that when one of these is broken, you discover that every single other thing in your body is connected to it. So it has been for the past two days. Moving really hurts. But only at certain angles when using my right arm.

I’m a rightie. Of course.

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It seems a little better today than yesterday, but it’s still crunching with each breath I take. I can hear it through my inner ear. Creepy.

All of this makes it difficult for me to do stuff. If I want this to settle down, find its notch, and stop hurting, I have to settle down and be as still as I can for a few days.

All of this is an explanation of why I’m not doing much. I wrote a bunch of posts which are already scheduled. There will be new posts, but otherwise, I have to do the one thing that’s hardest for me to do: nothing. For a few days at least. If this doesn’t correct itself, I’ll have to go see a surgeon and I cannot emphasize enough how much I do not want any more surgery of any kind. Ever.

Meanwhile, I’m held together by some pretty tough steel wire and I’m resting. And hoping this takes care of itself.

PARTYING WITH THE INNER DEMONS … WHAT A HANGOVER!

My inner demons had a blowout party last night. I wasn’t invited, but I was allowed to have the hangover. It was one hell of a party because I wound up with a helluva hangover.

Backtracking slightly, I take a lot of medications. More than half of them are to control my blood pressure. I had a lot of heart surgery a couple of years ago. New mitral valve. Redesigned left ventricle and aortic valve. Bypass. Pacemaker implanted. The whole nine yards of heart surgery. My job is to keep active to the best of my ability … and not get myself so wound up that my drugs can’t keep up with my angst. To say this week has been hyper-over-the-top-angst-o-rama would be no exaggeration.

Photo: mightygodofthunder

Illustration: mightygodofthunder

Yesterday, I needed all the help I could get. Tranquility was hard to find. The political pundits — the same people whose predictions and polls were so horribly wrong — are now making new predictions. This time, about the dire consequences of the election they got wrong. I really favor the press. I believe a free press is the wall that stands between us and tyranny.

I also think they need to stop predicting the apocalypse. This is not helping. Guys? Gals? Take a breath and start over. Let’s work from what’s really happening this time rather than on what you fear, hope, or think will make a great headline, okay? Please? Let’s treat the news as fact-based, just for a while. Let’s not sling mud and spread rumors. It doesn’t make things better and raises everyone’s blood pressure.

Anyway, why should these people be more on target now than they were before the election? The answer is “no reason.” They know no more than you or me. Not yet. Nothing has happened. They are extrapolating and speculating to come up with what sounds like a reasonable scenario. Consider this before you leap from that tall building or when you’re getting ready to drink the Kool-Aid. Let’s not sing the death song quite yet. Are you with me? How about a couple of verses of “Kumbaya”? Or “We Shall Overcome”?

All this being said, by the time I hit the bed last night, I was worn to a frazzle. I have done my best to remain calm and stay in the car, as it were. To not leave my car bearing a paring knife to join the big gunfight.

Illustration: omegaman20

Illustration: omegaman20

As far a drugs go, I didn’t take any more than what is prescribed or anything I don’t usually take. Except when I lay me down to sleep, it all hit at the same time. The drugs, the day, the anxiety, the fear. Wham, bang. I was afraid to raise my head. I was sure I’d pass out.

Thus the party commenced. All my inner demons, physical and psychological, held a grand gala. They drank and danced. They laughed and spun as I lay wondering if I could get to the bathroom a dozen steps away to brush my teeth. Answer: no. I was in no fit shape to be upright. I gave in and went to sleep.

The demons had the party. I got the hangover.

I feel physically better this morning, so something got sorted out during those hours of darkness. If it seems like I’m working hard at staying centered and balanced, you’re correct. I cannot let those demons take over. The overnight shindig was enough. More than enough.

Meanwhile, back at the other laptop, Garry is suffering from Post-Election Trump-Induced Depression. Also known as PETID (PET-ID for the dog and cat enthusiasts). As opposed to the even worse buyer’s remorse that Trump’s voters are going to feel when they realize he isn’t going to do a damned thing to improve their lives.

That’s what you get when you follow a demagogue. That’s no garden path down which he is leading. There’s no better place at the other end of your journey. I guess a lot of people are about to learn this painful lesson. Too bad they didn’t learn it the easy way … from history books.

UPDATE: SORRY, BUSY, BUSY, BUSY!

I have a lot of stuff to do right now. Doctor stuff, computer stuff, promises to keep, books to read because I owe reviews to publishers.  There’s not nearly enough time in my day to do it all and I have fallen way behind on most of the stuff I usually do for Serendipity. Lucky for me it’s October and there are lots of pictures to post, otherwise, there wouldn’t be much here, either.

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I’m going to have to delete a pile of notifications. I’ll never get to them. Please accept my apologies. The “JUST two hands and one head … ” rule applies. If I add one more thing to my “to do” list, I’ll disintegrate into a mass of ones and zeroes and be permanently sucked into some virtual reality.

At least I’m still managing to write a bit. It’s going to be a while, but I’ll be back as soon as I can dig myself out of this hole I’m in.

THE WEEK DRAWS TO A CLOSE

I got to see some really great x-rays of my spine yesterday. Garry got to see them too and I gave him a short course in why Marilyn’s back hurts. And how come what hurts also keeps my spine in one piece.

FYI, I'm a level 4 -- or was at the time of my surgery.

I was level 4 at the time of my surgery.

When I was 20 years old (1967), my vertebrae L3 through L5 were surgically fused. Not the way they do it today using hardware, but by taking a piece of my hip bone, pounding it into paste, and thence into glue. They first removed (to the extent they could back then, before micro instrumentation) the discs which were herniated and ruptured. Not doing me any good anyhow. They did their best to wrap the nerves to protect them from additional damage. Then, they  doped me up, wrapped me in plaster from armpit to knees, and told me not to move for a year.

I was in the hospital for four months. Flat on my back. Then I was at home for a long time. As soon as I felt better, I got pregnant.

They don’t do the surgery like that anymore. Nowadays, the surgery is entirely different. Plus, they get you out of bed and on your feet the day after surgery. But, this was 1967.

Treatment had begun to change even then, but change hadn’t made it to Oceanside, Long Island where I had my surgery. I should have gone to a more up-to-date hospital. I would have saved myself some pain and misery, though I think, in the end, the results would have been pretty much the same.

Fast forward 49 years. The fusion disintegrated decades ago, but nature is creative. My body provided its own version of fusion using calcium. That calcification is called arthritis, but it has effectively stabilized my spine. It hurts, but I’m not falling apart. This back won’t easily break.

There’s also nothing to be done about it. No surgery. My hips are terribly painful, but my hips are fine. The pain is reflected (deflected?) pain from my spine. So how come my back hurts too? If the pain is going to make something else hurt, shouldn’t it not hurt there too?

Spondylolisthesis-1What’s an aging lady to do? I can’t do MRI because I have a pacemaker and it isn’t one of the fancy ones that are immune to magnetism. I should have a warning label that says “Keep away from magnets.” An MRI is all about magnetism, so I’ll have to settle for a simple CAT scan.

Then, off to the spine folks and see if they are able and willing to try injecting cortisone and lidocaine to at least give me a few months of relative comfort. They might not be willing to do it. My back has scared some pretty impressive medical professionals. And if they can and will do it, there’s no guarantee it would help.

The good news? That ugly mass of calcification that has formed a solid sheath around my lower spine also guarantees that I can stand on my own feet. I may not walk well or stand straight, but I’m also not falling apart. It won’t get better, but it seems likely that it won’t get a lot worse, either. It’s pretty much as bad as it can get.

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Who knew falling off horses when I was a teenager would disable me as a senior. They don’t warn you about that … and I wouldn’t have listened anyway. When you’re 15, you don’t see yourself old and broken. Probably, that’s a good thing.

The good news? My back is close to the same as it was seven years ago. It isn’t noticeably worse, though the CAT scan will paint a clearer picture. For me, not worse is good. Great, even. There are worse things than pain.