Following my radical prostatectomy last December, Friday was my second follow-up appointment with the medical team and the first for my post-operative PSA level checks. The hospital was typically manic with the waiting areas full to overflowing and my appointment was clearly going to be late happening.
As well as Stoke Mandeville hospital, Aylesbury boasts one of Her Majesty’s prisons. As we were waiting patiently, in walked a pair of prison officers, one of whom had one of Her Majesty’s prisoners attached to him with handcuffs. The trio sat right in front of us which, rightly or wrongly, I must say made me a little apprehensive. Carol noticed that the unattached prison officer was browsing a skiing brochure, which, in front of one incarcerated, we thought might be verging on the mentally cruel, even though we knew not what he was “in for”. Sniff of the free world, albeit for a medical problem, and a ski brochure being waved under your nose.
Our wait turned out to be about 45 minutes but was well worthwhile; I couldn’t have hoped for better news – my PSA reading was 0.05 which, the surgeon said, was effectively zero. Apparently, just as with temperature, with PSA absolute zero never happens. Everyone was happy.
Naturally, we also discussed my continence which, though not yet fully restored, seems to continue to improve. Last week I felt confident enough to resume accompanying our local walking group on a 4½ mile slither and slide through some very muddy local countryside. Dawkins, we’ve had a lot of rain lately! Though I didn’t stay completely dry on the inside, I ended up considerably less damp than the ground was on the outside. I thought that walking might be exercise that would benefit my recovery but it seem not – it exercises the wrong muscles. I was regaled to continue my pelvic floor (a.k.a. Kegel) exercises. So, ladies, I’m still with you!
On Saturday evening and Sunday morning I had another brush with a recovery process. Last week I installed Windows 7 Service pack 1 on what is supposed to be becoming my main laptop. Service Pack 1 can be a very large download (80 – 900Mb) and update, especially if you don’t keep applying updates piecemeal as they are released. I do and the process downloaded a mere 87Mb but still took 58 minutes to complete, end to end, though it must be said that we suffer from a particularly slow broadband connection (~1.3Mbs), being a long way from our exchange.
All appeared to be well until Saturday evening. Having closed the lid to instigate a hibernation, when I re-started the machine I was greeted with the unwelcome message that Windows had detected errors when starting and offered me the choice of letting it attempt to recover (recommended) or just starting normally. I’d had nothing critical “in flight” to lose so I tried starting normally. Back came the same unwelcome screen. Each time I selected “start normally”, back came that screen.
OK, I thought, clearly I have to pick the “attempt to recover” option. Quick as lightening, some people. It looked more promising; a blue-sky-with-vapour-trails Windows backdrop appeared together with a mouse pointer and nothing else. For a brief while the cyclone “doing something” symbol appeared beside the mouse pointer, then disappeared and nothing further seemed to be happening. I had recovery disks but couldn’t get into Windows or Dell software to do anything with them. I hit the big OFF button and tried booting from them but ended up in the same place. I didn’t actually know if they were bootable, after all. Defeated, I hit the big OFF button again and went to bed.
In the cold light of Sunday morning, I wondered if the blue-sky-with-vapour-trails Windows backdrop might be doing something unannounced behind the scenes, like downloading stuff. I kicked it of again and left it. After about 15 minutes, sure enough, it claimed to be “scanning for errors”. Sometime later the screen changed to a more hopeful “attempting repairs” and a blue block began tromping its way repetitively across a progress bar on the screen. That was six hours ago; the blue is still tromping.
There are <Prev>, <Next> and <Cancel> buttons at the bottom of the screen. Only <Cancel> is active, <Prev> and <Next> are greyed out. I thought I might as well give up and try a Dell “System Restore”. I clicked the <Cancel> button.
The current repair operation cannot be cancelled. <OK>
… it said, wittily. What’s with the <Cancel> button, then?
So, do I just leave it running? I’m not convinced that it’s actually doing anything. Carol found someone reporting that their Windows 7 repair had been running for 26 hours and was still going. Yikes! This stupid Dell Inspiron doesn’t even have a hard drive light such as is useful in indicating activity. All I can hear is the fan. [SCREAM!]
The 45 minute wait at the hospital was much more rewarding.
[This posting made possible by my old laptop now running Ubuntu.]