Monday I got a walking pneumonia diagnosis instead of my flu shot.
Tuesday, just when I was starting to get some productive work done on Seeking North my laptop let out an ominous screech. In truth, this was not the first time it had made such an unholy noise. The first time was when I was prepping the last daily newsletter for the EGA Seminar on the 16th. Then my response had been to slam the lid shut and hyper-ventilate. It restored itself uneventfully that time, but I’ve been dealing with computers long enough to know a <em>bad sound</em> when I hear one, so I wasn’t terribly surprised when I heard the screech again and resisted panic long enough to realize that the fan had seized and things were heating up rapidly.
An hour or so with Google and my desktop convinced me that I’d come to the end of a road. Finding parts for a seven-year-old ThinkPad isn’t easy and there seemed to be some confusion about which part would actually be right for my T40 model–“short fan” or “long fan.” I couldn’t see myself putting a lot of work into a laptop that can’t evolve past XP.
Of course, by then, I’d lost my train of thought for Seeking North.
Wednesday, I took the car in to have all the work done that I didn’t have done <em>before</em> the seminar (but <em>after</em> my adventures getting back from Dragon*Con. The beast has 123,000 miles on it and, all things considered, runs well; I shouldn’t begrudge maintenance and the occasional original-equipment-replacement, but any day I fork over $1000 is a painful day…especially when my next scheduled activity was heading out on a quest for replacement laptops.
I was home researching the best of the quest when the phone rang and called-ID indicated that it was a call from my parents. I knew before I picked it up that something would be wrong. It was my mom telling me that my dad had dislocated his artificial hip and she was about to follow the ambulance to the ER. My parents, between them, have gone through five artificial hips, so a dislocation is not exactly unprecedented…still, Dad’s 89. But Mom insisted there was no need for me to join her at the ER and I didn’t argue.
It took two tries, but the ER techs got the ball back into the socket and sent them home a bit after midnight. They had an appointment with a local orthopedist for Thursday afternoon.
I guess I should be grateful for the pneumonia, because I was just too tired to lie awake fretting.
Yesterday, I regrouped and armed with the results of my research, invested in a new laptop: a Toshiba Satellite L755D-S5218 on sale at Best Buy. (Note — Best Buy has switched to half-week sales. The price I’d been quoted jumped $30 overnight, but fortunately I had the little price/specs cards and the sales staff went to war with management on my behalf. Score one for the minions!)
Of course, <em>buying</em> the laptop is only the start of the fun. I’ve finally gotten enough software etc. loaded on that I can work on this post as I try to accustom myself to an utterly different look/feel, but it’s going to be a couple of weeks, I fear, before anything happens reflexively, wreaking further havoc with anything that might charitably be called <em>writing,/em>.
But…back to my parents.
They didn’t have a good session with the orthopedist.
(Begin Digression) Traditionally, this part of Florida had an agricultural economy: mostly citrus with a little cattle and pulp timber. The freezes of the 1980s knocked out most of the citrus and land that had been groves was fast-tracked into what were usually described as “active senior” communities. We were in the forefront of the housing construction boom and–no surprise–we took it on the chin when that bubble burst. Best guess is that it will be nearly 2020 before things really recover.
All we’ve got left is our “active seniors” and we treat them sort of like the citrus groves they’ve replaced– but instead of irrigation and fertilizer, the new agricultural vectors are Medicare and Social Security. There’d be <em>no</em> economy around here if federal money for those programs stopped flowing.
The unintended consequence–at least I think it’s unintended–is that those “active seniors” start looking less like people and more like citrus trees–productive until they’re not, and then it’s time to replace them. Productive means lots of care, lots of attention, lots of tests and referrals. Not productive means a take-it-or-leave-it brush-off. (End Digression)
My dad kind of got the brush-off yesterday. No good explanation of the consequences of what had happened. No forward-looking plan — just a “be careful” and “here’s an appointment to be fitted with a brace that might keep you from doing this again.”
Needless to say, we’re looking for second opinions and scouring the Internet.
It’s never dull.