Sunday, July 01, 2007

I should have gotten the service contract...

A little over a week ago my laptop decided to fall apart. I'd been having a problem with the AC adapter port -- I had to jiggle the cord to get it to charge and even resorted to taping it in place, which would work for awhile, until I moved. So I had decided to "chat" that evening with a Dell technical support person online. About half an hour before that, however, half my LCD screen suddenly went blank. Well, not exactly blank, just three solid vertical blocks of various shades of green. I still managed to "chat" with Roderick by minimizing the Firefox window to half the monitor, and he decided I needed a new LCD screen and a new motherboard. Dell will send someone out to fix a machine, so we made arrangements for a technician to come to my office, either the next day (Friday) or no later than Monday. I wasn't that worried about internet withdrawal, since I was housesitting for someone with cable (which I don't have) and there was lots of baseball on last weekend.

Well that was the plan. However, Friday evening I was lying on the couch, and when I sat up I felt a twinge in my back which got my attention. Over time the twinge turned into spasms, and the pain became excruciating. I tried to tough it out Friday night and all day Saturday with massive doses of ibuprofen, but at 2:00 in the morning on Sunday, it was apparent I was in real trouble. I called a friend of mine (who happens to be a doctor) and between sobs on the phone I was able to explain my situation. She decided I needed to get to the ER. so she showed up 15 minutes later and off we went.

The last time I went to the ER was three years ago with what ended up being appendicitis, and in that this was 2 AM on a weekend I was prepared for a three hour wait just like I endured back then. But I was pleasantly surprised that it was a slow night and I was seen immediately. It helps to bring your own doctor with you to the ER so she could tell the resident exactly what I needed and what her diagnosis was. After ruling out a compression fracture with x-rays and going through a series of range-of-motion exercises, we all agreed that yes, this was a serious muscle spasm and Valium would do the trick. I also made him give my Serious Pain Pills because I was in Serious Pain. After a trip to the all night pharmacy, I got home and took my Vitamin V's (Valium and Vicodin) and managed to get a nice seven hours of sleep. After Sunday I stopped the Vicodin because it was just making me sleepy while the Valium really did relax the muscles and was giving me real relief.

Soooooo....needless to say I was not at work on Monday for the Dell technician. I wasn't there on Tuesday, either, but finally felt healed enough to go in on Wednesday. And Mr. Technician came in and had everything repaired and good as new in half an hour.

I wish I could say the same for my back. Things are better, but I still feel a little twinge every now and then. Sitting in my chair at work seems to aggravate it, but heading for the hot tub at the Y after work is blessed relief. And if I can survive this next week at work then it's off to Topsail Island next Sunday and the famous Sea-Sun-Mojito cure.

These two episodes have me thinking, though. I've had warranty work done on the computer, but I know once the warranty is up it'll start nickel-and-diming me with one problem after another, and it will be time to get a replacement. With all the minor glitches my body has been experiencing in the last few months, I'm just afraid that warranty is already up.


Anonymous cooper said...

dee. I feel your pain. No...I really do, but mine is osteoarthritis. A chiropractor takes care of me and, so far, that seems to keep the worst of it in check.

Best of luck with the back and the laptop. My laptop has the Windows 95 OS; I've been wondering about upgrading. You think it's time?

8:06 AM  
Blogger D.B. Echo said...

A friend just upgraded me from a seven-year-old PC runnung Windows 98 SE to a fast newly-built machine running Windows XP. I managed to foul it up severely after just three days - and in the course of trying to restore it, so did he. The culprit seems to be the latest-and-greatest version of Firefox, which I believe has just been optimized for Windows Vista, and possibly de-optimized for every other version of Windows.

Body-wise, I'm just keeping everything well-oiled and running along at optimal speed. By rights my body should have collapsed years ago. So I've been lucky so far.

6:29 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Sorry to hear about your back...

Hope you're enjoying the baseball season. Tell all the Edgers I said hello, if you see 'em!


10:23 AM  
Blogger hedera said...

I'm not sure I agree about the latest Firefox - I'm running Firefox on Windows XP (fully patched), and having no noticeable trouble.

On the subject of the back pain: ow, sorry to hear that, and welcome to whatever we call "middle age" these days. I've been complaining that my parts warranty had expired for 15 years. I do have a suggestion: if you don't already do it, start an exercise program, and focus on what they call "ab and core" work. Yes, I mean situps, and related similar activities. If you have access to a good gym, the training staff can help you set up a routine. Regularly worked and stretched muscles are less likely to cramp up like that.

Muscles that aren't worked at all are VERY likely to cramp up like that; I had a similar experience in my early 30s (completely out of shape, I leaned over a table to read a newspaper and woke up the next morning bent over like a croquet hoop; spent the next 10 days inhaling Valium and counting cracks in the ceiling) and it started me on my first round of serious exercise. If only I'd continued it after I got married, my arthritic knees wouldn't have been so unmanageable when they went bad.

12:15 AM  

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