23 July 2007

Hip surgery plans

I saw the surgeon today and liked both him and the private hospital. He confirmed that both hips need replacement, and opined that the pain in the left knee is probably caused by problems in the left hip, so most likely replacing that hip would fix the knee as well. I liked the surgeon: he was very straightforward, no nonsense, but pleasant. Not a hint of "talking down" to me, and answered questions with what I considered an appropriate level of technicality (not too much nor too little). And there was no delay getting in to see him at the time of my appointment -- somewhat unusual in my experience with specialists. The hospital is small and does mostly day surgery. Most of the 25 or 30 rooms are private. It does not have any cafeteria or food service other than what the hospital provides, so Eric will have to pack a lunch when he comes to visit. I am having the first operation (on the right hip) on Monday, 27 August (5 weeks from today), and the date for the other one will be decided later. I may be able to have that 2-3 months after the first, depending on how quickly I recover. I am going to be very impatient for the next 5 weeks to pass! One reason that I can't have the first operation sooner is that they want to stockpile 3 units of my own blood to use in transfusions during the operation, and I can only give 1 unit each week. This means Eric will have to drive me to Mackay (2 hours each way) one day a week for the 3 weeks before the operation, to have blood taken. Unfortunately there are no facilities closer to home to handle this type of blood donation. I received a packet of information from the company that produces the replacement hip. This info included a DVD of post-surgery exercises, which I am still going through, and a credit-card-sized card with the patient's and surgeon's names, date of operation, etc, for me to keep in my wallet to show to security people at airports and other checkpoints. Eric and I stayed Sunday night with friends in Mackay. Turns out that K had built the surgeon's swimming pool last year. Small town!

11 July 2007

More laptop progress

Today I got the DVD player working, using VLC. This involved a bit of mucking around, since some of the necessary software isn't hosted (for legal reasons) on the Ubuntu website. Once I found the (very good) instructions, which included where to find the s/w (on a site called Medibuntu.sos-sts.com, for "Media, Entertainment, and Distractions in Ubuntu"), the rest was easy. Not that I watch DVDs very often, but it's nice to know I can. I had not managed to get the DVD player working under the earlier version of Ubuntu, but that might just be that I didn't put enough effort into finding what I needed (I never found Medibunt before today).

09 July 2007

New laptop

I wasn't going to buy a new laptop, really I wasn't. But -- as has happened before -- Dell had a sale of just what I wanted, so I gave in and purchased both a laptop (much smaller than my others) and a new monitor (much larger than my other one). The laptop is an XPS M1210, relatively lightweight but with all sorts of goodies on it, some of which may be more challenging to get working under Linux than others. The monitor is a 24" one with lots of USB and other ports. Later I'll look up the specs or post a link for those of you who want to know all the technical details. I repartitioned the hard drive for dual-boot and a shared partition with Windows, installed Ubuntu 7.04, installed the Nvidia driver for Ubuntu, installed the printer, and got the big monitor working with it (as the main monitor, not a second monitor; it came right up when I installed the Nvidia driver). Most of my data files have been copied over, though there are a few things still to set up (shared Thunderbird files, for example). I'm delighted to report that Ubuntu's installation from the desktop CD has improved with each release, and several things that I previously had to do manually are now handled by the installer -- like enabling the wireless networking (it was detected like the ethernet and just worked, no drama), switching between wireless and ethernet (automatic), mounting the shared drive (no more manual editing of fstab!), and some other things that I forget. It was a good distro for newbies before, but now it's even better -- I feel much more confident now that I can hand a CD to someone (except the totally clueless) and they would be able to install it successfully without assistance.