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29 November 2011

Posted by DMC on 30 November 2011 in Diary |

I watched the weather forecast day by day praying for decent weather today as I have missed the last three Tuesdays. In fact, I got up and dressed ready for golf before ringing Debbie, Ollie’s wife, who told me that it was very windy and she didn’t think I should go. I must admit there was a strong wind and this can be extremely unpleasant when one is driving around the relatively open golf course in a wheelchair, so once again I cancelled. I have committed to go to the Geriatrics Christmas Lunch on 13 December so I will see all my pals then. Otherwise I very much doubt whether other than that I don’t go to the club again this year.

Readers may recall that I had occasion a short while ago to ask the District Nurse to drop in and look at my swollen feet which had turned a nasty purplely black colour, more like the sort of feet you would expect to see on a corpse in the mortuary than on a healthy human being. Anyway the district nurse was sufficiently concerned, rang and the surgery and asked if one of the doctors could drop in and look at them. I don’t know what she said to them but the doctor arrives half an hour later and recommended nifedipine to thin the blood (See 15 November entry). I was very impressed today when I received a call from the doctor to check to see if his recommended medication had been effective. This is the sort of care that we were used to when I first came here 50 years ago but has now long since changed. The second piece of personal medical news I have concerns the avoidance of pressure sores from sitting in the same position, unable to shift my weight, for up to 14 hours a day. (See 23rd of November entry) having discussed this with Harriet, of Ross nursing, I telephoned my occupational therapist, Lynne, and she said she would see what she could do about getting a special cushion. This cushion arrived yesterday and only six days after the original request. That is real service for you

Since I have been unable to walk I have worn an alarm button on each wrist and whoever is looking after me keeps the monitor with them. When I press the button on my wrist it bleeps on the receiver. Over the past couple of months I have found that my fingers are getting weaker and it has become more difficult for me to exert a sufficient pressure to activate the alarm button. Another call to my Occupational Therapist to arrange for the alarm people to come here to assess the situation and hopefully come up with an alternative. The technician arrived yesterday with a variety of ways of activating the receiver. In the end I opted for one that is operated under my chin. This means that  I  can be totally independent of my hands and normal movements of the head do not seem to set it off.. As there was a possibility that I could accidentally activate the chin button whilst in bed we opted for a large button on a long flexible stalk, one clamped to each side of the bed adjacent to the pillows so it mattered not which way I was facing, (Alice suggested they look like trififids  – mythical-  science fictional plants, War of the Triffids and all that) I could press one or other of these buttons without too much difficulty. If and when I lose the use of my arms then we will have to think again but for bed, maybe trying the chin device, but the time being this seems to be a workable solution.

As part of the remedial work that Paul’ the computer’ has been doing to isolate the problem with my voice activation programme, he had downloaded a two-month free trial of the professional edition of Microsoft Office 2010 as he suspected that the Home/ Student edition might not be compatible with my professional copy of Dragon and Outlook. Since installing this Professional copy of Microsoft Word the dictation side of Dragon has shown a significant improvement.

Accordingly, as my laptop, and the programsmes on it, are owned by the, MND through their subcontractors AbilityNet, I asked whether they would provide the upgrade for me. They asked me to approach the local MND branch in the first instance and if I did not get any luck there to go back to them. I rang Steve White, the chairman of our local branch and he sounded fairly optimistic, I just had to let him know how much so he can put it to his committee., Another potential problem arises because the MND Association have, or are in the throes of, extricating themselves from AbilityNet. Apparently they have no sucessor lined up yet so there will be nothing the equivalent of Microlink, to solve daily technical problems, for the time being. There is also the question of warranties on the laptops. Nobody seems to know, at the moment, when a particular one expires. So, for example, in my case if we we came to the conclusion that there was a hardware problem and wished to claim under our warranty, as things stand at the moment, we would not know whether we are still covered or not.

Click here for some more Paddy and Mick jokes, with apologises again to my Irish friends.

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