Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Going home

It's a good day today. My mother-in-law received her pacemaker yesterday, and is scheduled to go home today. Except for a little residual pain, she's feeling fine, and her ticker now keeps better time than my wall clock. My daughter was released from the hospital days ago, but is still visitng the hospital daily to provide love and nutrition for her young son. He should be going home sometime soon, having done quite well in the neo-natal unit of the hospital.

I also want to acknowledge the many packages of clothing and other supplies that have been donated by family members, both mine and my wife's. These gifts are much appreciated by my daughter and her husband.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Setting the pace

The doctors have decided that my mother-in-law will be getting a pacemaker. It is scheduled to be inserted on Monday or Tuesday. My wife is naturally a bit concerned, but we all think it's better to have the procedure done before there is a "real" emergency. The only complaint we had is that the doctors had been saying all day Friday that they were going to be delivering "good news" before the end of the day.

Perception is everything... as far as my mother-in-law was concerned, "good news" meant she would merely be sent home with a change in medication. The doctors, however, meant the "good news" was that she was a good candidate for the surgery. Oh well, at least we've gotten that cleared up!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Like a good neighbour...

I got a call a few minutes ago. It was from the manager of the complex where my mother-in-law lives. It seems the neighbours had voiced some concerns that they had not seen or heard from my mother-in-law for a few days, and they wanted to make sure she was alright. Things like this restore my faith in the human race.
Welcome, Brandon

Born at 12:36AM, baby Brandon and mommy are doing fine!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

How many birthdays tomorrow?

November 23rd is the day traditionally reserved for contacting my cousin about his birthday. We're the same age, with him being a few months older than I am. We grew up together, so he's pretty close to my heart. I have two grandchildren, both born on February 2nd. Both were born five weeks premature. My third grandchild is due around Christmas day. His soon-to-be mother just went into labour today - approximately five weeks early. The odds of him being born on the 23rd are probably better than 50%, as far as I'm concerned.

How cool would that be?

And how cool would it be to have grandma (my mother-in-law), my wife, her daughter, and possibly my step-daughter's new-born son, all in the same hospital on the same day.

It's shaping up to be just another boring Wednesday!
Not the best of days

Yesterday, my mother-in-law had an EKG on the advice of her doctor. She's been suffering from general fatigue and her GP had noticed a slow and erratic heartbeat. The EKG was scheduled to take half an hour, but before the test was even finished, technicians at the hospital had decided that things were going poorly, and my mother-in-law was sent to the emergency department. She has been placed on a heart monitor, and doctors are adjusting her heart medication to see what will happen. Consensus at this point is that she will need to have a pacemaker inserted, and surgery will probably be scheduled for some time in the next few days.

Meanwhile, there is a shortage of beds at the hospital. She spent last night sleeping in a cubicle in the ER. Rumour is that the man in the next cubicle has been there for several days. Except for the lack of solid walls and a TV, she is, at least, in a private area. If she had been placed in a room, it's likely it would have been in a ward, with three other roommates. This way, she's within a few feet of the main ER nurse's station and lots of doctors.

I hope all goes well with her, since she's relatively young, and my wife is certainly not ready to face a life-and-death situation with her mother.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

A note from our sponsor

Today, I was asked whether I design web sites. The short answer is NO. Website design is more than just stitching together some HTML and placing it on the web. I have no artistic eye, and absolutely no artistic capability (except when it comes to code design and user interface). But colour and form are just not in my vocabulary.

Still, I told my friend that I would blog about a topic near to his heart, in lieu of actually creating a website for the purpose. The synagogue I attend is about to celebrate its centennial. Some say it's even older than that, but the consensus is that it has reached its 100'th year (though it's current location is not the original building).

I've been asked to announce that anyone who was a member of the Shaarey Zedek congregation in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, and who would like to contribute stories and/or photographs depicting events or other gatherings from their time in the shul should contact the centennial committee chairman at 1-800-442-8190.

We now return to our regularly scheduled programme.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Speaking of technology...

I'm so pumped about the revival of the computer, I have been thinking of ways I can take advantage of its resurrection. Primarily, it will be used to demo software that I create. And it will be an excellent way to prove to prospective clients that my software will run on virtually any vintage PC - even really old ones with a slow processor!

On the other hand, I'll need to be careful about how much "junk" I load it with, since I just discovered that the hard drive in this puppy is smaller than the one on my tiny MP3 player!
Power to the people

The battery arrived in today's mail, and first impressions are definitely positive. The self-test button on the battery showed an initial 50% charge - which was verified when the battery was placed in the laptop and the power management software indicated a 49% charge. Just a short while later, the battery is showing a full charge and for the first time in years, the laptop is capable of running without a power cord.

It may sound like nothing much, but the decision to order the battery was difficult to make. First, the original battery was so dead, it wouldn't even respond to the self-test button, despite having been "recharged" for more than 24 hours, and despite showing an 89% charge on the power management software status screen. Second, I had no way to know if the internal battery charging circuit in the computer was still working, given what I was seeing with the original battery. Last, and certainly not least, was the fact that the computer was so old to begin with. There was some question whether there was any point making it functional again as a portable unit.

Now that the computer is running successfully under battery power, proving that the battery and the internal charger are fully operational, I feel much better about the decision, and will be using the computer much more than I had been.

Friday, November 04, 2005

I've (almost) got the power

I took a chance today, and I'll let you know later whether it will pay off. A few years ago, I worked as a consultant for a large IT services firm. They provided me with a laptop, and when I left their employment, I assumed they would want their equipment back. Despite my sending several emails offering to return it, they never followed up, so I eventually wound up keeping it.

The machine is probably seven or eight years old, so it's not exactly up to date, but it is portable, and better than nothing. However, a few years ago, the battery wore out and it has only worked properly when powered by the AC power source. I've considered buying a new battery for quite some time, but today, I took the plunge and plunked my money down on a no-name replacement battery I found on eBay.

It's the first time I've purchased anything from eBay, so I hope I don't get scammed. The seller had an excellent profile, and from the feedback, I could see that he has sold this item before to many people. At less than one third of the price from the manufacturer, I just couldn't say no. If it turns out to not work, I'll send it back for a replacement. If it works for only a short time, well then, I guess I'll have learned something. But for now, I am optimistic that my experience will be positive.

I'll keep you posted.