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Conversations with computers and others.

Conversations with computers and others.

computer kill

“Shane how do I get the computer to send this document via e.mail?”

“Like this Dad don’t be so “Doff”!!!!!” (Then in a blur of moving fingers tik tik tik tik tik

tik tik— much too fast for my ageing eyes and brain to comprehend) “There, you see, it’s

so easy.”

That’s when my pride kicks into gear.

“Yes! Sure. I can manage now thanks for your help.”

Right, now let’s see. He pushed this button, clicked the mouse on this thingy and then he

double clicked the mouse on this do dat and thennnnn, “You have made an illegal entry

and windows will be shutting down in 5, 4, 3, seconds”

NOOOOOOOOOOOO. HOW DO I STOP THIS THING!!!!!!!!!!!. HELP.

Damn it!! —- now where has the letter gone, or has it been lost in cyberspace, and I

didn’t save it to the ROM or RAM or CD, DVD, MP3, Stick, Stiffy or some other such

alien abbreviation. It took me an hour to type using the single digit method and now it’s

gone.

“Your virtual memory is low. Please wait while windows releases more memory”

“So now you insult me too. How do you know my memory is low. You don’t even know

how old I am you stupid machine.”

“Do you want to save your document before Windows shuts down?”

“Of course I do but I don’t know where you put it! You’re just trying to annoy me so I

won’t use you again. You’re so clever, you find it, and save it yourself. I didn’t even get a

chance to name the blasted thing and anyway I must be going, I have to take more blood

pressure medication.”

“You have a new message”.

Roy has sent you a Xmas greeting, click on attachment to view.

HAH now that’s easy. I just click the mouse on this paper clip and then———– “You

cannot view this message while you are off line. Do you want to go on line now?”

“It’s my message. How dare you tell me I can’t view it? Why did you tell me I had a

message in the first place? What do you mean I must go on line? You know I hate lines. I

never stand in lines for anything. GIMME my message”.

“Windows has detected a fatal error and will be shutting down in 10 seconds. Please save

all work in progress or it will be lost”. “THAT’S IT! —– I’LL FATAL ERROR YOU,

you @#$#%$#^%&*^%$ machine, no more, I can’t stand anymore of this”

“Shane please send an e.mail to all my friends and tell them to write to me because FRED

(Flipping Ridiculous Electronic Device) the computer and I have parted company and I

will not be using e.mail, or any other kind of computer generated mail for that matter,

ever again.

Does anybody know where I put my pen?”

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Posted by on July 25, 2013 in Disability

 

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Dental & Doctor’s visits — What a pain

Dental & Doctor’s visits — What a pain

wheelchair dentist

Now being disabled and wheelchair bound brings its own challenges but my latest visit to my dentist and my doctor proved to be a work of transportation and maneuvering par excellence. Firstly let me explain that for the past year all transferring from wheelchair to toilet or bed has been carried out with the aid of a mobile hoist. As a result of my last fall I haven’t walked for a year or two.

Now, the doctor’s visit was the easiest as we arranged for him to carry out his investigation into my state of health at my home. So I was duly hoisted onto my bed for the inspection. Liquorice my paranoid, schizophrenic, antisocial dog took it upon herself to protect me against all comers and had to first be removed by covering her with a blanket, then rolling her up in it so that she could be carried away from the scene of the crime that this strange doctor was going to inflict on me.

Blood pressure, ears, nose and throat were all inspected and found to be in working order.  This was done with the doctor and my wife scrambling all over me and the bed to get access to the selected orifice.

Next, came the prostate inspection which made my eyes pop out on stalks and water profusely. I had never had this inspection done before and I was shocked into a near comatose state when I was numbed into sudden silent screams. You can ask any man about this inspection and I am sure that you will hear some horrific stories. Suffice to say that my doctor has a finger like a thick German sausage or Salami which was suddenly and unexpectedly inserted to do the feel test on the gland. Thus the eyes on stalks quip. Then to fill a little bottle for a urine sample —— a work of art when your arms and hands don’t work all that well. I’m not even used to weeing into hospital sized urine bottles, let alone something resembling an expensive perfume bottle.

Lastly a series of vials of blood were drawn after the nurse had searched for a vein in both of my arms and eventually resorted to draining a good portion of my life’s fluid from my hand.

A few days later I had to pay a visit to a dentist because one of my upper molars had worked itself loose and was causing considerable pain.

After spending hours on the internet fruitlessly searching for a dentist specializing in treatment of disabled patients I conceded defeat and selected a dentist from the yellow pages, whose receptionist assured my wife that they had plenty of experience with wheelchair bound patients. The dentist is on the third floor with only one elevator and a flight of steps for access. (I shudder to think what pain and suffering I would have had to endure if the lift had broken or if there was a power failure)

After negotiating narrow passages I got to the door of the surgery to find that there was a building supporting pillar or column situated right outside (opposite) the entrance door, thus cutting the passage in half. After much performance going back and forth I managed to get into the surgery. Then I faced “THE CHAIR”.

Access to the side of the chair was limited so it was decided that the dentist and his assistant would pick me up and physically transfer me to the dentist’s chair. No mean feat seeing that I weigh around 85kg. Puffing and grunting from all three of us interspersed with squeals of concern from my wife became the order of the day while they maneuvered in all directions to get me comfortable.

He looked, felt and decided to extract the tooth, between sucking in great gulps of air. His assistant was equally distraught and while he also inhaled deeply he sounded rather like an asthmatic vacuum cleaner. It sounded something like hoooooooop peep, hooooooooop peep. It was all rather hilarious but it is difficult to laugh with dental paraphernalia protruding from your mouth. So my hawr, hawr added to the hooooooop peep and the dentists gasps we probably sounded like some heavy metal band at practice.

Injections followed. If they had used laughing gas, they ran the risk of me going into hysterics. We waited for the prescribed waiting period, before yanking the offending tooth from my jaw. Fortunately by this time we had all started breathing normally.

Then the huffing and puffing performance was repeated in reverse. After much hooooping  and peeeeping I was dumped back into my wheelchair. I negotiated the problem doorway after another few back and forth movements, then into the lift, praying all the way down that the thing wouldn’t breakdown.

Needless to say that after all this carrying, pushing and pulling, my body was rather sore. I am sure that once the dentist and his assistant had recovered they would have given instructions to the receptionist to be fully booked if I should ever phone for an appointment again.

I have these episodes written indelibly on my memory and unless I develop Alzheimer‘s I will suffer in silence rather than undergo more embarrassment and physical abuse.

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2013 in Disability, IBM

 

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Dependence on normality

Dependence on normality

angry man

Today I realised how much I, as a disabled person, relies on the uninterrupted supply of electricity to keep me serviced, sane and occupied.

Eishkom got my blood pressure to sky rocket for 8 hours before a semblance of normality descended on my life once again.

Let me explain how I would be in big trouble if there were extensive power cuts. Firstly with no power comes cold water, so my bed bath would be very unpleasant, then in order for my carer to get me out of my bed and into my wheelchair we make use of a hoist. Both of which require batteries to be kept charged. Then to be hoisted onto a toilet which would spray water and blow dry my behind if there was power. Electric toothbrush and shaver also need charging before moving on to the kitchen for breakfast where all the appliances are rendered useless. No breakfast!

Being disabled my arms aren’t strong enough to get out the LP gas cylinder, pot and other paraphernalia in order to boil water or make porridge etc. Still no breakfast! Unless I have a carer 24/7

Forget about tummy rumbling and do something to keep me occupied. No radio, TV or computer to keep me occupied and my cell phone needs charging, I can’t read because all my books are on my computer and in any case my hands are too weak to hold a book or turn the pages, so I sit in silence waiting for my life to get back to normal once the power comes back on. Oh how this disease really hits home when my normality is disrupted. There is often no alternative that I can turn to.

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2013 in Disability

 

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Encounters with disabled toilets

Encounters with disabled toilets

disabled toilet

Now when people talk to me about disabled toilets I can’t help but visualize a buckled and bent toilet with its cistern lid crooked and flush handle hanging loose, either on crutches or in a wheel chair. The same goes for disabled parking except here I see a crooked pole with a walking stick, with the signboard askew. I know I am being difficult but if we called them toilets for the disabled I for one would see them in their correct shape.

We have found some beautiful ones, big ones, small ones, narrow ones, smelly ones, the odd dirty one, impractical ones, those placed to fill a space merely because it is a requirement to have them, but most of all ones with loose basins, damaged seats and lack of or broken soap dispensers, drying units, paper towels, toilet paper and the list goes on.

Talking about shape! I would like to know who in the greater scheme of things decides that the architect’s plans for facilities for the disabled, in public places, are acceptable and who has designed or set these levels of acceptance.

It seems that this group or person doesn’t have a wheelchair rider in their group, or they don’t consult him/her if they do. One of my many wishes is that the building industry controlling body would employ a disabled, wheelchair bound architect to pass all plans for new buildings and those undergoing alterations. AND ENFORCE THE LAWS.

My wife and I have toured every shopping mall in Cape Town because we find it easier than trying to negotiate pavements without slopes for wheelchairs at all the crossroads, shop entrances etc. While there are a few that come up to my requirements the majority don’t.

Let me start with the doors, —- after one has found a security guard with the appropriate key. The doors are usually wider, out of necessity for chairs, but extremely difficult to pull open or push from inside while standing. Let alone when in a wheelchair. I think the designers forget that our feet protrude from our footrests in a lot of cases. How do you pull a door open when you are sitting in front of it with your feet practically touching the door? They are also usually heavier due to their size and not hollow core which would make them lighter. In a lot of instances the entrance walls “alcove” in front of the door do not allow for a person to hold the door open without having their toes ridden over. A push button electronic sliding door would be a true blessing. (Could this be so difficult to install?)

Then we try to get inside with the automatic door closer doing its best to sandwich us against the door frame. (Hey!!! Guys, we need our hands to propel the wheelchair or at least one of them to manipulate the joy stick) how do we hold the door open?

To turn around in some is impossible because of layout or pure lack of space. This requires careful maneuvering or leaving and re-entering backwards. Now try to open the door from that position!!!! ———- Impossible!!!

To wash and dry hands is also a work of art as the soap dispenser is inevitably on one wall, the drier on another with the basin sometimes situated between them.

Wet your hands then maneuver to the soap then with soapy hand back to the basin then back to the drier. By then, in my case, I need CPR after running the marathon of washing my hands. Besides having to wipe the soap off the wheels or joy stick.

Sometimes the facility is situated inside the normal men’s or lady’s toilet area. This is a problem, when your care giver is of the opposite sex.

Cheap plastic, wobbly, seats or loose cracked and broken ones are a definite no no. “Try to jump up from a cracked seat that suddenly grabs hold of a small piece of your behind when your legs or arms cannot support you.”

I have lost a lot of muscle mass in my behind or rather it has turned to fat and moved to my belly (or so my wife tells me) so, trying to sit on a toilet without a seat is difficult, to nigh on impossible, with sometimes hilarious results. My behind is definitely not as wide as a toilet so when I forgot to put the seat down I ended up with my bony bum securely wedged in the maw of this man eating toilet, with my skinny knees up around ear level. I must have looked a bit like a praying mantis about to jump on some luckless insect.

My arms are as weak as my legs, so to try to lift myself out of the clutches of this malevolent toilet was impossible. I had to call for help from my family who duly helped to get me out of my predicament much to my embarrassment and theirs too, no doubt.

What we need is a star rating for facilities for the disabled. Something like those that apply to hotels. But we need a disabled, wheelchair person to set the requirements for each level or star. Maybe then we could decide on which shopping mall to visit based on the information displayed on a board outside the centre at the parking bays without getting out of the car. Rather that, than find out, too late, that the facilities will not meet our needs when they are required with some urgency.

We don’t only go to shopping malls to use their facilities. We do actually shop at some of them.

To all shopping centres, petrol stations on major routes, churches, restaurants and those that design and build them. If you are going to provide facilities for the disabled, give the design, situation, basic mechanics, and maintenance some thought. Don’t just add them on as an afterthought merely to satisfy the minimum legal requirements. It is pointless advertising that you are disabled friendly when you cannot cater for a wheelchair. To us a severe slope is as bad as a step. (Just as useless). Likewise facilities that are impractical might just as well not be there. You need to remember that not all people have the same way of getting into or out of a wheelchair. Grab handles in the wrong place force people to use the basin or other fixture for leverage or support, which in turn results in loose basins etc. Waste bins take up valuable turning space and get squashed by wheels of power chairs. Soap dispensers and drying units that are too high are useless to wheelchair users. Some of us have weakened arms and can’t reach them.

I would like to encourage all disabled people that have or have had a bad experience with facilities for the disabled to write to the centre managers of these malls, shops, shopping centers, restaurants etc and advise them as to the problems. Unfortunately it is a fact of life that most able bodied people have no clue as to our requirements. Let’s inform them and ease our struggle at the same time. Make enough noise and we will be heard.

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2013 in Disability

 

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Utter exhaustion UTEX

Utter exhaustion UTEX

hippo sceptic

All parents that have children ranging from 0 to 50 can relate to the feeling of utter exhaustion and even admit to the urge to murder or commit suicide.

Children left to their own devices will resort to using their brains for everything else other then what they are taught at school. Cooking, baking, painting, messing, breaking things and fighting are common place when you are not there, but just dare to try to get them to do any of the more constructive things, then there will be the sigh. The rolling of the eyes, “the look” or my favourite one “I just want to ……….. “

I take some comfort in knowing that I share the most common disease in the modern world: utter exhaustion ad nauseum! The symptoms are easy to spot.

Grumpiness. Let’s face it, after several nights of minimum sleep, people really get on edge. UTEX sufferers are like pit bulls trained to fight.

“It’s all your fault, you spoil them”
”Me, you’ve got to be joking, you’re the soft touch”

“Am not”

“Are, too.”

“Am not.”

“Says who?”

“Says me.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah.”

“Pffffffffffttttttttt”

Clumsiness. Which means it is probably unwise to stand at the top of the stairs while engaged in an argument. Push….. bump aaaargh! Bump bump bump….. Splat!

Poor judgment. Which often can lead to, really, really, really, bad decisions! The kind of really bad decisions, that give you nightmares and the cold sweats. Like if you connected up the wiring correctly after you fired the electrician and did the job yourself.

UTEX: a cause to crash?

Have you driven to work and arrived there not remembering if you stopped at any robots or stop streets. Can’t remember if you said goodbye to your wife/husband/kids. Left your Laptop on the roof of your car. Peeled a banana and thrown the banana away and tried to eat the skin. Put your cellphone in the fridge and tried to get the milk in your pocket. Fallen asleep in the office toilet

Hmmmmmm! This can be the start of something serious. Farm your kids out to grandparents, sell the animals or eat them, buy ear plugs and eye covers, then hibernate for a week.

You must do this before permanent damage results

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Group Opposing Gadget and Gizmo Addiction

GOGGA

Group Opposing Gadget and Gizmo Addiction

gadgets

Last week I woke up at what seemed to be the middle of the night to the realization that we are all fast becoming slaves to the latest technologies and mod cons of gadgets, gizmos, thingys (dingesses to some in South Africa) glowing lights in an array of colours, beeps, buzzes and a cacophony of other indescribable sounds.

It was around 5.30am when I was awakened by something that I could not quite place. Was it a noise? Was it a light? Was it a mosquito? No man, it wasn’t Superman either!!!!! It was my wife’s cell phone.

It was switched to silent mode but the vibrate alert was still active. I could see this in the surreal green glow emanating from the digital clock, alarm, tape, radio thingy that is situated on a shelf above the bed.

The phone was dancing across the bedside cupboard like a drunken ballerina, flashing its screen light angrily while vibrating hollowly with the sound being amplified by the near empty cupboard.

You see – we have this very dear friend who is evidently an insomniac, who insists on getting the most out of call more time by sending any messages at the crack of dawn, probably to ensure that we get them before we get too busy answering the calls of nature and all the other alerts.

Now wide awake staring at the ceiling I was suddenly aware that there were numerous flashing lights before my eyes. I felt my forehead to see if I was running a temperature, pinched myself to ensure that I was not dreaming, closed my eyes tightly to see if I could still see these lights and to my astonishment they went away. So I’m not sick I thought. I wondered what was wrong.

The dog moved and the alarm’s passive movement detector’s red light switched on, stayed for a while then switched off. The electric mosquito repellant gizmo glowed owlishly, the multi plug switches glowed red which showed that all the other appliances were switched on (one was blinking. “I must get it fixed”) the TV showed me that it was in power save mode, when suddenly a strident noise pierced the silence to inform me it was time to get up.

Shower time with my pulsating shower head then to brush my teeth with my electric tooth brush, shave with my new wet/dry electric shaver whose red light is flickering to tell me it needs to be charged. I plug in the charger and behold, there is another little red light to add to my collection. Once dressed, I sit in my wheelchair. Now I don’t feel so vulnerable. Bring on the lights and buzzes!!!  I can handle them now.

I switch on the power chair and yes you guessed it. More lights. This time they are red, orange and green. With many clicks and squealing of tyres on the polished floors, the control panel on the chair showing me I’m in 2nd gear, I’m off to the kitchen.

I switch on the stove to make the jungle oats. More red lights glow at me. The timer (in the shape of an egg) rings, the microwave pings, the kettle light goes out and switches off the fridge clicks on and it’s red light shines. Now that I have run the gauntlet of lights and sounds I can have my breakfast.

Now, to get to the lounge I had more alarm passives to get past on the way.

In the passage the alarm panel shows that the alarm has been on guard all night. The TV in the lounge with its light showing that power save mode is on, the DVD, MP3, CD, Radio/tape thingy flashes the time, while the computer hums malevolently in the back ground with its numerous lights flashing and the on screen calendar showing my day’s appointments while beeping at regular intervals.

By this time I am too nervous to face “The Car” because it has beeps for reverse, buzzes for lights left on, peeps for open doors and angry beeeeeeps for seatbelts not used. An array of lights in various colours but mostly red or orange that only a person with a B.GizGad degree in gizmos and gadgets, like my son, can decipher.

Hi everyone my name is Roly and I am a gizmoholic and I last bought a gizmo yesterday. I know I need help but the temptation is so great.

There are shelves full of gadgets, gizmos thingys and dingesses in every shop I go to. Please help.

We at GOGGA demand of all manufacturers that indicator lights be abolished and that all appliances and cars be de-bugged or they should pay for our rehabilitation at the Centre for the GizmoChallenged. No more buzzes, beeps, rings, peeps, toots, pings, bongs, tinkles and rattles or flashing lights or little lights that change colour.

I and my fellow gizmoholics’ sanity is at risk. We cannot have our inter-galactic and Martian visitors coming to this country for the 2020 Odd ball world cup where they could be exposed to these little instruments of torture.

To join the group, please see our web site www.GOGGA.org.outerspace or e.mail nutcase@gizmochallenged.org.int  or come to visit me. Maybe you can help me get out of this strange jacket that these people insist is the latest fashion.

It holds your arms in the crossed position with sleeves that strap to buckles at the back.

I must end now. The ringing in my ears and flashing lights have started again. I know that they are coming to get me but I won’t succumb I promise.  @#$%^&*&^(%$()#@!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2013 in Disability

 

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I got my bum stuck

tiny toilet

 

Now when people talk to me about disabled toilets I can’t help but visualize a buckled and bent toilet with its cistern lid crooked and flush handle hanging loose, either on crutches or in a wheelchair. The same goes for disabled parking except here I see a crooked pole with a walking stick, with the signboard askew. I know I am being difficult but if we called them toilets for the disabled I for one would see them in their correct shape.

 

We have found some beautiful ones, big ones, small ones, narrow ones, smelly ones, the odd dirty one, impractical ones, those placed to fill a space merely because it is a requirement to have them, but most of all ones with loose basins, damaged seats and lack of or broken soap dispensers, drying units, paper towels, toilet paper and the list goes on.

 

The other day, ok maybe a while ago when I could still stand, my wife and I went to the mall and as will be the case with under educated bowels, as soon as we were seated at the table in our favourite coffee shop, my stomach growled, groaned, gurgled then squealed with a cry of such anguish that the people at the next door table gave me that dirty, shame on you look, like if you step on the cat’s tail by accident. I knew that the game was up and surrender to the urge was inevitable. I whispered my need to my wife, who has a hearing problem and she didn’t hear me. I tried again…. Negative! Harder this time! “What did you say” she said. “I NEED TO GO TO THE LOO” I shouted, at the precise time that the whole restaurant had a silent moment. Bliksem! Every eye in the place turned my way and my threatening volcano nearly erupted out of sheer embarrassment.

 

The waitress caught my eye and came over. “We’ll keep your table don’t worry” she said.

 

I took off out of there as if my bum was on fire which by this stage it very nearly was and headed for the toilets at a speed that would have turned Donald Campbell green with envy.

 

I get there at least an hour before my wife comes running up totally out of puff. (She’s really unfit. I had come as far, but faster, and I wasn’t even breathing hard) Eish! Gym for you missy!

 

The fight with the freakin door was epic. She couldn’t open the door because I was in the way and I couldn’t get through the door because she was liable to get her toes ridden over. Eventually we worked something out and we were in. Help to stand, because I still could, then down with the rods turn and sit. WHAT!

 

Neither of us had thought to check that the seat was down. I have lost a lot of muscle mass in my behind or rather it has turned to fat and moved to my belly (or so my wife tells me) so, trying to sit on a toilet without a seat is difficult, to nigh on impossible, with sometimes hilarious results. My behind is definitely not as wide as a toilet so when I forgot to put the seat down I ended up with my bony bum securely wedged in the maw of this man eating toilet, with my skinny knees up around ear level. I must have looked a bit like a praying mantis about to jump on some luckless insect.

 

I was stuck, but had to do the business anyway. Wiped and ready to go. I couldn’t move. My bum had been taken prisoner so I did what every enterprising individual does. I started to laugh. (Girls would call it giggle, but us macho guys don’t giggle we laugh)  It caught on and the two of us were utterly useless to man or beast for an indeterminate period while struggling to get my butt freed from these jaws of death.

 

The door burst open and a security lady, who must have thought some pervert was having his way with a giggling schoolgirl, stood there glowering at me.

 

Between these two strong ladies I managed to extract my behind and salvaging the minutest bit of pride that was left I wheelspun my way back to the restaurant while my wife repaired her damaged and smudged mascara.

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2013 in Disability, IBM

 

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