Monday, 11 December 2006

The Things They Didn't Tell Me in 'Kindergarten'

No. 1 Thing:

That the skull surgery would leave the left half of the top of my skull numb, disconnected from the rest of my skull; odd, weird, not right at all.

When I tap the left side with my finger tip it sounds different to the right side. When I am shampooing, the sensation of my finger tips on my head on left side feels different from the right side. When showering, I cannot feel the falling water on the left side top of my head in the same way as on the right. It feels as if my skull bone on the left side has been levered up and there is a dead zone below.

Solution: Get the Doctor of Osteopathy's view on this - after all he has known my medical querks for 13 years and his cranial work it blissful. Then see what my GP thinks. Only then, fully armed, ask the Neuro Surgeon what the hell is going on. And, while I am there, ask why is the left half of the 7 inch scar puckered up like a ripple in the road surface after an earthquake, when the right half of the scar is flat.

No. 2 Thing:

That getting my laptop wireless-ed for broadband would cost £250, not the £50 the laptop supplier quoted.

The laptop supplier (IBM approved) supplied what they assured me was an IBM compatible Wireless Card at £50 to fit in the laptop slot. Installing that was the point at which the vibration began, causing severe tingling in left hand and arm. Un-installing the wirelsss card and software reduced the vibration only partly.

I asked IBM service centre to look at the new vibration problem under extended warranty; they asked the usual questions, ending in: was it an IBM wireless card. Supplier said no but it is compatible. IBM weren't buying that excuse, so I returned the wireless card to the supplier for replacement with an IBM one, which they said would cost £70. That was a month ago. Surgery intervened. I am back now to sorting it out. Supplier having problems finding an IBM wireless card to go in my laptop slot.

Now that I can cope with a visit (the 7 inch scar along my hairline not quite so scary to the squeamish), the helpful IBM from last April called again, and he thinks that the source of vibration leading to hand and arm tingling, is the fan, rather than the hard drive. He did not quibble that there is a vibration problem, did not try to say it was just me because I have soft tissues disease (probably because he does not know the implications of that) and a new fan is covered on the extended warranty. He suggested that the sticking out Wireless card, not IBM manufacture, caused the fan to vibrate. We shall see. He has ordered a new fan.

Now I need the IBM wireless card ready to install when he returns, so we can check that an IBM wireless card does not cause the new fan to vibrate. In the meantime, the supplier advises they are having problems trying to source an IBM wireless card to fit in the empty slot at the side of my IBM laptop. Growing impatient, I checked the IBM web site and found two wireless cards: one costing £58 which is not suitable for my model R40e and one that is suitable, but the part number is not recognised by the following ordering page on the web site. So, while IBM man here, I rang the secret number he gave me and IBM tech wizard said the wireless card for this model laptop is £250. My (unspoken) reaction is: WTF?! My friendly IBM man made some enquiries: apparently this model laptop, although it does have the external slot in the side of the laptop to take the wireless card and the connection on (in?) the system board inside for the wireless card, it does not have the internal cabling from there to the aerial within the screen/lid, nor does it have the aerial within the screen/lid. Bugger. That is why IBM quoted me £250, and suggested I download the installation instructions before I take any action. That sounds as if it might not be do-able by me - Oh, ...., ...., ....ity, .... !

So now it seems entirely feasible that the non-IBM wireless card which stuck out of the side of the laptop by 3 inches worked because it had an internal aerial, but the 3 sticking out inches caused the fan to vibrate !!! Levers and fulcrums 'springs' to mind.

Solution: Blast the laptop supplier.

No, gather all the information, put it in a letter, ask them to take responsibility. Afterall, I accepted their quotation two years ago on the basis that the wireless card was a simple thing to add at a later date at relatively low cost. Tell them also that I have entered into a twelve month contract with BT for wireless broadband, but I am not yet wireless, and I had to spend more money on an ethernet cable, which looks hideous, its bright blue cabling snaking across the floor, not just a trip hazard but just not right with the decor !

No. 3 Thing:

That Social Services, at approximately annual intervals, would add another tier to the bureaucracy, which tier would make a different set of decisions (without reference to the service user, contrary to Fair Access to Care criteria) to those made by the previous year's bureaucrat. That on an annual basis I would therefore take two steps forward and three steps back. That this game of snakes and ladders is way more dangerous than the board game learned in kindergarten.

2 Possible Solutions:

Solution 1 - Post, without any culling, the twelve page ranting and despairing letter I spent all day Saturday writing, in response to the newest bureaucrat's written decision.
Solution 2 - Be brave, tell myself this really is The Last Straw and ask the Local Government Ombudsman to investigate the management of Dorset Social Services.

No. 4 Thing:

That the new BT telephone would cry, just like a baby, on and on and on, if there is a power cut in the night and it gets hungry.

Solution: Throw it across the hall into the bathroom, turn over and go back to sleep. Worry about it in the morning. You can't do that with a real baby.

No. 5 Thing:

That having a baby, for all the nightmare-ish early days of sleepless nights, screaming days of colic, tantrums, teenage angst, financial expense, and sole-parent responsibility; would still be a total joy 28 years later, confirmed as we stood together in a little candle-lit Dorset greensand church and sang our hearts out harmonising Christmas carols.


No. 6 Thing:

They did tell me; the instructions in 'change template' kindergarten warned that customisations would be lost. If they had said in language a child could understand: you will loose your list of your links if you change your template - I would have done something about it before I changed my template.

Normal service will be resumed as soon as ...

Now to ask: do you like it ? - I find it easier to read, but if it has made it more difficult for others' disabilities, do let me know and I will tinker with it, if I can find out how.


Blogger Lily said...

Well the new template was a bit of a shock at first - scary, as though the cranial surgery had unleashed a dark side and a new sinister Sally had been let loose. Big relief then, to read on and see familiar trains of thought beaming out of the inky blackness. I hope you are starting to see the light at your end of the tunnel and that soon all aggravations will belong to 2006, with only good things allowed in 07 x x x

Monday, 11 December 2006 at 18:22:00 GMT  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Thanks Lily - you checked in while I was still re-doing the links; sorted now.
Yes I can see now the new Black could be initially scary, but it never occured to me when I decided on it.
One of the reasons I am experimenting with a black page is to see whether the dark page emits/radiates/beams less harmful radiation/light at my Lupus face, which is UV sensitive.
I do wish for more light at the end of these seemingly endless tunnels.
Thanks for the good wishes, you to :)

Monday, 11 December 2006 at 19:02:00 GMT  
Blogger spotted elephant said...

I like it!

I hope you get some good answers from your doctors about the numbness and everything. You deserve a big break from all the frustrating "tell you one thing, then tell you another" bits you've had to put up with.

It's rare that I wish I was rich, but one major reason I wish it is so that I could destroy any annoying inanimate object when it bothered me. Now, I have to comfort myself with fantasies in which I can swing huge hammers and destroy the objects.

Monday, 11 December 2006 at 22:30:00 GMT  
Blogger Lily said...

Your theory about the black page is really interesting - for ages now I've been tormented by really watery eyes and unattractive skin wrinkling around them as a result....eventually I wondered whether it might be sensitivity to light as I hadn't noticed it earlier in the year when we didn't need the fluorescent striplights on in the office. I've turned the brightness down on my computer and hey presto - there's a definite improvement! Now if I could just get work to shell out on grids for the striplights.... Hope your black experiment is working x

Tuesday, 12 December 2006 at 07:43:00 GMT  
Blogger Charlesdawson said...

Ooo-er! I thought I was in the wrong blog for a moment! It's given the synaesthesia something to think about, anyway.

I think that the amount of radiation from your screen is going to be constant whatever the colour, but I don't have enough physics. Why not ask them on
The Science Forums? and also follow up your wireless-card problem there?

No 1 thing, as the Guide says, DON'T PANIC. First, when they cut through your scalp to get at the skull, they had to cut through a lot of little blood-vessels, nerves and (believe it or not!) muscles. These have to regrow, and while they are regrowing you get all kinds of wierd sensations and none. (is that how you spell wierd? it looks wrong both ways)

The bone will sound different to taps in different places (a) because the density and depth over the whole skull is not constant (b) because you have had it cut. Just as a piece of cut wood or stone (sorry! wrong implications there) sounds different to a whole piece.

Now the scar. Sewing-up live skin is not like sewing up cloth, or even leather, which is dead. They try to butt the two edges together so that they can begin to bond, which they do by a proliferation of new cells. And they can't tell in advance exactly how extensive and how long this process will be.

Quite often people do require furher cosmetic surgery after repair of a largish or deep injury, but give it a chance. It may well even itself out with time. I realise it's psychologically upsetting for you, so if you are really bothered ask for a referral to a plastic surgeon, but I warn you, s/he won't touch the job until they are satisfied all healing has taken place.

Tuesday, 12 December 2006 at 11:07:00 GMT  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Spotted Ellie - Glad you like it - I felt a bit responsible for the blackness after Lily pointed it out, hence the picture. Thanks for your good wishes - ah ! money, yes please - I do not wish for wealth, just money to buy the gadgets - presumably after you have swung your mighty hammer at the inanimate objects, you want to be able to buy a better replacement ?
Money for helpful or fairly esssential stuff (such as a high spec digital camera, perfume, you know, the really essential stuff !), is what I wish, not money stashed away in the bank.

Tuesday, 12 December 2006 at 18:05:00 GMT  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Lily, go to the science forum as Charles below has linked, they may have people who know the relevant stuff.
Also, whenever there is some stuff I just don't have a clue about, I google it. So try googling: Health and Safety at Work Fluorescent Lighting/computer screens. If the company you work for have a H&S designated worker, it is their job to ensure that fluorescent lighting and computer screens comply with H&SAW Act.

Tuesday, 12 December 2006 at 18:09:00 GMT  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Charles, thank you from the bottom of my heart for setting my mind at rest ! You are a marvel - as soon as I had read your comment all the background anxiety, that has been churning away each day, settled down.

Weird is weird, not wierd. What you have said seems obvious now; all those bits of nerves and blood vessels and muscles - makes perfect sense now you (who knows these things) have explained it. I am very grateful.

The odd thing is that the area where the big osteoma on the forehead was drilled around and then prised out, has not hurt or been a problem since the op, its the top of the skull, above and behind the cut, that feels and sounds odd, but I am now content to let that settle down in its own good time. Now you have explained the difficulties in joining up the skin, I do not feel someone has bodged it up, and I am not bothered about cosmetic surgery to make things 'perfect' again, so long as it all heals healthily I will be content, and wait for all the other bits to join up, connect and restore themselves - about three to six months I guess ?

My Osteopath, GP and Neuro Surgeon will also be grateful to you as they will no longer be faced with a slightly hysterical but trying not to show it Ms Sally in their consulting rooms. I just needed someone who knows, who is trustworthy and unconnected to the outcome, to explain it. Only you could do that. You are invited to my virtual Christmas Party !

Re the Science Forum - yes, I know I know, but going back to that forum is into a different format and I have to get my brain into a different gear, another mode of being, to order my dilema/queries in a different way, which does not flow as a post or comment does. I cannot explain it better than that; I may seem competent in this sphere, but it doesn't always follow me when I venture out. Does that make any sense ?

So what does your synaesthesia think of the new template ? - can you explain, to one really interested in how that works, rather than just curious.

Tuesday, 12 December 2006 at 18:26:00 GMT  
Blogger Charlesdawson said...

I see that Blooger is allowing comments again, how kind.

Remember that while you were being operated on, your head will have been secured in some padded clamps to keep it dead still, and also, the flap of skin they peeled back will have been secured to keep it out of the way. You may have some residual bruising or pinching from that which you can feel, whereas a cut usually hurts only when you actually do it, hence the different sensations.

Scar tissue is unlike ordinary skin tissue; the cells are diffferent. So expect to be patient. I can't give you a timescale, I'm afraid. Children heal much quicker than adults because their rate of cell replacement is quicker, but ironically they also tend to scar more noticeably for the same reason.

Scar tissue doesn't contain hair-producing cells (the follicles) either, so you will need to style your hair to cover the line. Also, hair doesn't always grow back exactly as it was before after shaving, so you may need to change your hair style slightly. An excuse to be adventurous!

Thursday, 14 December 2006 at 12:32:00 GMT  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Thanks again Charles, all this is very valuable. I shall point out to the Neuro Surgeon that without my virtual friend medic Charles's input, I would have been in quite a panic, but now I am content to let it sort itself out in time.

As for being adventurous with hair styles, as I commented to Lily, you need some material to work with to do that. But the candlelit concerts and low lit venues for Christmassy fund raising events, have enabled me to go out over the last week and not feel conspicuous. The stubble along the hair line is coming back quite dark, and any people that have noticed the residual scar have been too well bred to comment ! Julian Fellowes was particularly charming this evening !!!!

Thursday, 14 December 2006 at 22:03:00 GMT  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Technical Update:

The IBM technician installed a new fan, then was quite worried when the hard drive vibrated and over-heated. So now I am to have installed a new hard drive under the warranty - all very well, but I have to pay someone to take off all my 'stuff', data, programmes, and re-install it, and the pre-installed programmes that were factory loaded, after the hard drive replaced.

That work is beyond me, in my physical fatigue (just sitting at a desk long enough) and cognitive dysfunction which I just know will kick in half way through and render me befuddled. I am trying to get the IBM dealer who supplied the wirelss card that, co-incidentally or not, started this whole saga. And I am waiting for IBM parts dept. to explain why their IBM wireless card is £260 when everyone elses' is £60-ish.

Don't they know it is almost Christmas and I have mincepies to bake and a tree to decorate !

Sunday, 17 December 2006 at 11:56:00 GMT  

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