The limitations on what is in my power to fix became rudely apparent to me this past weekend.  Three things happened, two fairly minor, one major; as it would happen, the minor ones were the ones that I could fix.

We received a new television this weekend.  In the process of setting it up, and connecting it to the A/V receiver, TiVo and DVD player, I somehow broke the link between the TiVo and its external hard drive.  A TiVo merges the internal and external hard drives into a single volume, so if you lose the external drive, you lose everything you had recorded. Not a desirable outcome.  So, I unplugged and replugged all the cables securely, made sure there was power to the external drive, then rebooted the TiVo and held my breath.  For those of you who have never used a TiVo, they boot very, very slowly.  The boot process can freeze if you don’t have the external drive properly connected and it is difficult to tell if it is frozen, or just slow. Fortunately, the problem must have just been a loose cable, because, upon reboot, the TiVo saw the external drive and all my recordings were still intact.  One problem fixed.

Later in the day I was editing some photos in Lightroom and did something (I’m not sure what) that totally froze up the computer.  After doing a hard reboot, Windows told me that there were boot problems and it would try to fix them.  After a very long process, the computer rebooted and reported the same problem and took me back to the same repair screen.  So, lacking any better ideas, I repeated the process.  This time, before rebooting, I checked the repair logs.  The logs said that all was now good, so, once again holding my breath, I rebooted the computer.  This time it came up normally, and I had fortunately not lost any data.  That was two problems fixed.

No for the major problem.  My 93 year old mother called me Saturday morning saying she was not feeling well and asking me to take her to a doctor.  The doctor said her problem was life-threatening and we had to take her to the hospital NOW.  The doctors in the Emergency Room confirmed the first doctor’s diagnose, so they admitted Mom to the hospital.  Unfortunately, surgery is the best approach to resolve this issue.  There are non-surgical methods, but they are less effective.  None of the doctors seem confident that they will succeed, though there is always a chance.  My mother is adamant that she does not want surgery, so it is very possible that this could lead to death.  I have discussed this with her several times over the last couple of days, and she is sure that this is what she wants to do.

As an engineer, I always want to fix things, and usually I can.  This looks like one of the times when I can’t.  There are no cables I can check and no computers I can reboot.  All I can do is wait and see….