Sunday, April 30, 2017


I’m currently re-discovering how an element of anxiety exacerbates, to a considerable extent, the symptoms of a chronic illness. On this occasion the anxiety is caused by the inept and dilatory response of Virgin Media to a known issue which is preventing us from receiving incoming ‘phone calls on our landline; the telephone is not only a lifeline for me but, there are several vulnerable elderly people who depend on my beloved OH for lifts. These vulnerable people only have our landline number as they are not mobile phone users. As for myself, the mobile phone is scarcely ever used, as I’m rarely away from my own house and garden and, therefore have little cause to switch it on.

We are still able to make outbound calls and, it was only by accident we discovered that friends and acquaintances had been unable to contact us. Other ‘phone users are also affected by, and may still be unaware of, this glitch.

The VM website online phone-tester reported no problems with our ‘phone, and we were also informed the line was engaged. I spent considerable frustrating multitudes of minutes on their help-line and, even there they suggested no real problem. Eventually an admission was made that someone else on the same exchange had reported the same problem, namely that callers only heard a continuous, high pitched whining drone when they dialled our number.

During the first phone call, I was frequently put on hold whilst my ear-drums were blasted with an execrable noise (which they maybe call music) for what seemed a like a multiplicity of eternities. Eventually, I was assured that the engineers would have the problem sorted by the end of the day. Of course this didn’t happen so I contacted them via social media with my complaint in reply to which I was informed that they had assisted me: the assistance I seemed to be proffered was to be told that there was nothing they could do via social media.

Later that day I had a webchat with VM, the outcome of which seemed positive. The positivity was short lived; the time in the afternoon, by which I was assured the problem would be resolved, swiftly passed with no action having been taken.

By the evening it was back to the 150 phone-line to enquire what was happening. At first having tapped in sundry digits in response to the robotic voice I was on hold for at least 20 minutes, my eardrums once again assaulted by shouted words & excremental instrumental accompaniment. When I got through to tech department I was at least able to quote a reference number for the issue but, was told that he couldn’t find any evidence of there being an issue so, he would put me through to network problems. Once again my eardrums were assaulted by a demonic cacophony whilst I awaited the transfer department.

Maybe I was getting somewhere. I was informed that it was a known issue, something to do with ported numbers (i.e. numbers which were originally BT numbers) but for decdes our line had been via Cable & Wireless which became NTL which became part of Virgin Media. Although they knew exactly what the issue was/is they are unable to say when it will be dealt with. To put it simply – THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING.

As I said, at the beginning, these events & frustrations have certainly had a deleterious effect on my already shot nervous system. Not only did I undergo more sustained, sleep depriving, pain last night but it also does few favours to my emotional well-being. A tainted Virgin and a chronic illness / chronic pain partnership could so easily become lethal.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Saturday, April 15, 2017


For the past couple of days I’ve been attempting to reactivate iolo System Mechanic 16.5 premium. I first installed it on two old machines in February then, more recently, on a newer machine where it seemed to be working fine.

Then came update patch; since that time I’ve been unable to activate my key. Let me re-phrase that: it has regularly informed me that it has successfully activated and will fix any problems. Immediately when I press the FIX NOW button I’m asked to submit & confirm my e-mail address or enter activation key. The circle keeps on rolling round and paid for System Mechanic remins inactive.

On twitter, @iolo_technologies suggested that my problems would be resolved by installing patch which contained a “bug fix” for people who had a problem with activation keys on version 16.5.2. 212! Apparently some lucky buggers who were having similar problems, to my current ones, have been blessed with a fix which makes mine inoperable.

I’ve even downloaded and installed a fresh copy of version, rather than from my IOLO CD, and guess what. I’m still unable to activate this supposedly useful product. I’m currently regretting having paid for a premium version.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

and ache becomes pain - literal & metaphorical

and ache becomes pain – literal & metaphorical

I wrote, quite recently, about the difficulty of defining / distinguishing an ache from a pain. This morning, sundry expressions of the former were, rather rapidly, transformed into examples of the latter.

Sudden onset nauseating aches in fingers, wrists, elbows, knees and armpits soon had me curling up on the sofa, upper arms clamped firmly to my side, fingers tightly intertwined and the heels of my hands clasped firmly together.

At the same time, the heels of my feet were drawn up close to the buttocks and, my forehead pressed onto my clasped hands; the initial ache was temporarily subdued by my adopting this unusual posture but, within a further ten minutes, the aches transmogrified into acute sharp searing pain which manipulated lacrimal, salivary and mucous glands into overdrive.

A sore grating feel to the throat, such as may signify the onset of a cold, provided a counterpoint to those other aches which by now had become a real pain!

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Lost for Words

It’s one of those times when language seems to be somewhat limited, lacking in pertinent words to describe a particular mode of being. What I have been experiencing, earlier today, is an intense discomfort that not only induces nausea but, also brings me down into a tearful state. This sensation, however, feels to me totally distinct from anything that I would normally describe as pain; more like a dis-ease with the way my flesh and bones fit into their enveloping skin.

Quite out of the blue, whilst doing a bit of catching up (on e-mails, twitter feed etc.) on the laptop, my elbows suddenly began to throbbingly ache in response to simple tapping on the touch-pad, a sensation of tenderness in the axillary lymph nodes followed with only a minimal delay; the nausea induced by these events meant I had to immediately desist from any laptop activity. In response to this sensation I swiftly donned my elasticated elbow supports to help alleviate the discomfort.

As I attempted to relax / recline on the sofa, I suddenly became aware of a discomforting ache in both knees. Next step was to don my elasticated knee supports. At this stage, I would still describe what I was experiencing / undergoing as an intense discomfort rather than pain; perhaps what I would describe as pain is more the experience of a sustained sharply stabbing irritation rather than the initial chronic dull throbbing ache of discomfort and dis-ease.

There are times that the simple donning of supports eases the nauseating discomfort but, on other occasions they prove less efficacious. As the discomfort moved more towards my pain zone, time seemed appropriate to resort to pain-killers (100mg of tramadol); within half-an-hour the discomfort and impending pain began to dissipate.

I’ve got to admit that the moment when discomfort (chronic discomfort) and pain (acute pain) merge or transpose is extremely hard to define, or even recognize. Sometimes, words quite simply fail me and, the cussin’ swiftly takes over.