WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

A computer stroke

Kevin_Neal_Apr08.jpg I remember Bill and Barbara well. It must have been in the early 1970s that their son David came to us as a boarder in New Plymouth. It turned out to be a mutually beneficial relationship because he was the Ford dealer in Cambridge.
He responded to an ad that we had in the college newsletter for a tractor and a long and fruitful relationship began. We bought vehicles from Bill’s firm until they gave up the dealership in the early 1980s, I think. But there was much more to the friendship than that and they are still good friends to me in the priesthood. They were present at my ordination, if I remember rightly, and they are still friends. I don’t see much of them these days because Cambridge is a bit off the beaten track for me now but three or four times a year we exchange emails or letters.

The most recent letter arrived in time for my anniversary of ordination. It contained a nice little cheque that was just enough for a computer programme I had been thinking about for some time. I had seen the programme on several visits to the shop but I gave up each time. Too expensive, I’d say to myself, so when their cheque turned up I had no excuse.
Since my stroke I often have difficulty making decisions and go to a shop to get something but then walk away. Too dear is the usual excuse but it’s just a difficulty making decisions. It affects all sorts of areas of my life.

However, with their money in my pocket I had no excuse, so I bought it. Once upon a time that would have been easy: buy it, install it and then use it. It’s not so easy now. The installation has to be gone over in my mind many times before it is ready to go. You see, my mind thinks it can remember how easy things were but my hand can’t put it into practice. So after several days of thinking about it, I installed it very carefully. It worked but I couldn’t get beyond installation. Wait a few more days and try it again. This time it worked.

It’s not a monster programme or a hugely expensive one. It’s one that converts written text to a word-processing file. It means I can see something in a book or in print and convert it to use on my computer. There’s a group of people to whom I send out emails every week on the Sunday readings and now if there is a passage from a book or an article I want I’ve only to press a few buttons and it shows up on the screen and it can be worked with.

Using a word processor is normally very easy but with a stroke and being limited to my one non-dominant hand, I’m sure you can see the difficulty. Copying out pages takes forever.
Now, to work on a programme for converting slides and negatives into word-processing images… it worked before I had my stroke. It won’t work now. There’s something I’ve forgotten. I’ll have to go through the instructions, one step at a time and make it work. Again.