January 2020 started for me pretty much like any other January over the past half-century or so, it was cold grey and full of the false promise of newly baked resolutions that are doomed to failure before I make them.
Work was ticking along as work has a habit of doing, never surprising me often boring me and on the odd occasion motivating me, though I should add that those occasions are very few and far between, I imagine cubicle life – though in my case sans cubicle – is pretty much the same the world over, something that becomes a habit that is difficult to break as, after all, it pays the bills.
Don’t get me wrong I wasn’t unhappy just unfulfilled and, as a serial procrastinator of advancing years, unlikely to break the cycle without an almighty shove to get me moving.
I got a shove from an unlikely source, me, just not the one I was expecting or wanted.
I woke one morning with an unusually full bladder so sprinted to the bathroom, pointed things in the right direction, and waited.
No matter what I did there was not even a drip and meanwhile, my increasingly distended abdomen started to hurt – a lot- I was close to bursting and no matter what I tried, standing, sitting, running the taps, my boy bits remained as dry as a dust bowl, what on earth was happening?
I called the NHS helpline who after a short question and answer session declared that I was having a medical emergency and should make my way to the nearest hospital as soon as possible, advice they quickly amended to “wait for the ambulance we’ve sent” once they realised that the prospect of sitting in traffic and driving myself to the hospital was not a safe option.
On arrival, I was whisked into a cubicle where I had the very surreal experience of taking a call from my boss giving me the good news that my formerly fixed-term position had been made permanent whilst an overly cheery nurse pushed a tube that seemed far to big for it’s intended purpose up my manhood whilst trying to reassure me that it was no big deal as the old guys in his local pub often self catheterised so that they could play dominoes uninterrupted by toilet breaks, seems they make ’em tough in old Salford town!
After the usual gamut of tests, I was sent home with a bag strapped to my leg and rudimentary instructions of how and when to change it, and a promise that a nurse would come to my home the following day to check all was in place and to arrange the removal in a week once a cause for my retention was established.
Unfortunately, a week turned into a month and then into 3 months, 3 of the most miserable and painful of my time on the planet, various issues with the catheter meant that walking was at best uncomfortable and at worst excruciating, I found myself unable to work and bed-bound with a newly acquired Kindle subscription.
The cause of my malaise?
A reaction to a prescribed medication I’d started shortly before I lost my ability to pee.
The day finally arrived when the catheter was to be removed, a 7 am knock on the door heralded the arrival of the nurse who was to whip it out, literally, she wielded that tube with years of experience behind whilst I whimpered quietly on the sofa.
At 7:15 I was on the phone to my office to break the news that I would be back the following Monday.
At 7:30 the mail dropped on the mat.
At 7:45 I was back on the phone to work to break the news that my return would have to be postponed for a short while as I had just received a letter advising me to shield from a new virus doing the rounds called Covid 19, it seems I am considered Clinically Extremely Vulnerable which basically means that catching it would probably see me off.
A year later I’m still sat here, working from home and dreaming of the day I can return to some form of normality.
So why am I not the man I used to be?
It has bugger all to do with any of the above, that dear reader was merely a preamble, the big change in my life is that I’m typing this on a Mac!
After a life using Windows, remember when you had to keep inserting floppy disks to run the OS as computers didn’t have hard drives?
I’ve been using Windows since then, Apple was considered the dark side, a closed garden with the sole aim of grabbing money from the brainwashed masses.
That is until last weekend when a 5-month-old Windows desktop PC went, in common parlance, tits up, taking with it 6 weeks worth of film scans I’d foolishly saved to a new folder on the SSD without either backing up to an external drive or indeed, adding the folder to my cloud backup queue.
This is frustrating rather than life-changing, it just means I need to start scanning again but it was a bit of a wake-up call and got me flicking through Amazon looking at what new toys were available and dreaming of a brand spanking new computer.
I’m an old hand at sorting Windows mess ups but this one got the better of me and, despite 2 days of trying to bring the system back to life, ultimately I had to throw in the towel and seek a refund which was duly forthcoming.
Covid has seen me comfort spending and the perfect storm of a bad IT experience and a refund, albeit not a quarter of the price of a Mac, saw me hitting buy on a MacBook Air M1, 8Gb Ram, 512Gb storage and an operating system that is a complete mystery to me!
This post is a test of Bear, a Mac-specific writing app, if you’re reading this I must have done something right.
And I’m now staring lovingly at a Mac Mini M1, should I hit that buy it button?
Watch this space…