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About me Life

Technology I can’t live without

As someone who loves her gadgets, I know I wouldn’t be able to survive without certain pieces of technology. But the kind of tech that I carry varies between whether I’m in hospital or not, because my priorities change when I’m in hospital or out and about to what I’d think of as important at home. So I’m going to divide this post into two topics; Technology I use at home and Technology I use in hospital or out and about.

Technology I use regularly at home:

  • A Laptop – In todays society, I’m a firm believer that everyone needs some kind of laptop or desk top computer. No matter what job you’re doing in life, or if you’re in uni, computers play quite a big part in most peoples lives.
  • Computers also play a huge part in communication for me. My mum lives in Ireland and my dad’s in Edinburgh, with the rest of my family sort of spread around Ireland, and my friends scattered all over the country.
  • I have all my music stored on my laptop, and I love nothing more than lying in bed, listening to some good tunes and reading a book.
  • I use my desktop computer for a lot of gaming. It’s not what you would call a massive beast of a computer, but it runs Half Life, which is one of my favourite games of all time (big up there for Half Life, everyone who enjoys first person shooters should definitely play this!).

 

  • Mobile Phone – Mobile phones play a massive part in peoples lives now a days, and lots of people would say they cant manage without theirs, myself included. There’s a lot of reasons I would be lost without my phone
    – But it comes down to the communication thing as well. I speak to my mum and nanny at least once a day and can’t imagine not being able to pick up the phone and just ramble to my mum when I’m struggling. I’ve got an open door policy with my friends as well that if they need me, no matter what time of the day or night, that I will always answer my phone to them. So my phone isn’t just a lifeline for me, but for my friends as well.
    – I use my phone for my music collection as well. I tend to use Spotify (mainly because Vodafone pay for Spotify premium every month for me!), because I can have so much music at the touch of a finger, and I can share my playlists with my friends. I have a massive taste in music. I have everything from Bach to AC/DC and I have different playlists for different situations. If I’m studying I like listening to film scores, if I’m upset and struggling with my mental health and need to try and quieten the voices in my head, I’ll listen to loud music by bands like AC/DC or Black Sabbath! Like I said, eclectic!
    – Tracking my health –  I did a blog a few days ago about what medication/health tracker apps that I use, so this is another reason as to why I use my phone. I can track my health in so many ways. Because I have also got a Samsung smart watch, I can monitor my heart rate and there’s an option for me to check my oxygen levels which is handy. I also use an app called “Headspace” which is full of meditations and relaxing speeches. Unfortunately, the sleep one didn’t get me to sleep at 5am this morning (*disclaimer – These apps should not be relied upon and if you’re struggling to breathe in any way, or are feeling poorly, please seek medical help. This is not a substitute for seeing a health professional)!
    –  All in all, I’d be massively screwed without my phone, no matter whether I’m at home, out for the day or in hospital

 

  • TV – In my opinion, a house isn’t a home without a TV. I’ve got one in my bedroom and one in my living room that I very rarely use. Both my TVs are 42”, but the one in my bedroom is a FINLUX Smart TV.
  • I have my PlayStation plugged into it as well as my external hard drive. Both TVs have a USB slot on the side so I can plug my external hard drive into it and watch films or TV programmes. I do not tend to watch a lot of live TV because I can get everything I want to watch on iPlayer or the channel equivalent.  It really irks me that I still have to pay a TV license when I don’t watch live TV! Grrrrr. But back on track! If I’ve had a rough day at uni or I’m just plain bored, I’ll often find myself sitting playing on my playstation for hours on end. It’s a game changer for those bad days (See what I did there? Hahahaha). But I enjoy having friends round to watch DVDs and have food. It’s been far too long since I did that and I really need to start doing  socialising stuff again once this bloody lockdown has ended (37 days and counting that we’ve been stuck indoors!)
  • Alexa – Alexa has been one of my most useful gadgets/techy things I’ve bought in the past year. Originally I just couldn’t be bothered with the idea of it, and didn’t like the sound of Google being to eavesdrop on conversations, but eventually I gave in and I’m glad I did.
  • Primarily I like the ability to turn my lights on and off from wherever I am in my flat without having to get up to use the switch. I’m very much aware that it’s the height of laziness, but as Catherine Tate would say, “Face bovvered?”. It’s good if I’m struggling with my chest because it means I don’t have to keep getting up and down for the lights. And if I’m going to be away for a few days, I can remotely access alexa and turn the lights on and off so it seems like I’m at home when I’m not. I like being able to change the colours and brightness of the bulbs and it’s such an easy app to use.
  • Another feature of Alexa is she can play music/audiobooks through the device. I have several of the “echo” devices around my flat so love nothing more when I’m doing housework than to have all the speakers playing music, plug my own sound system for my PC at the same time. I do have a bit of sympathy for my neighbours on that part though, sorry Paul!
  • There’s SO much more that alexa can do, but I don’t really need to go into it here. Click here and you’ll go to the main alexa page that tells you what she’s capable of doing. But definitely worth it if you’re considering whether to buy one or not.
  • A decent alarm clock – A decent alarm clock is a massive thing for me. I’m a nightmare to try and wake up in the morning, and like a lot of people, the phrase “five more minutes!” is one that frequently gets mumbled in the morning. I’m not always sure who to, but since I use the Amazon echo show as my alarm clock, if I say “5 more minutes” loud enough, it will snooze the alarm for 5 minutes. Not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing! But if you’re needing to get up early and you’re not a good waker, you can set it to have the radio/your music/generic alarm tones to wake you up. I like having the radio wake me up in the morning. I don’t know what it is about hearing people talk rubbish and then some music come on that appeals to me in the morning, but hey, it works!
  • Kindle – I absolutely LOVE my kindle. I got my first kindle in 2012 when I was in hospital because my flatmate was getting bored of having to carry a new book up for me every day or two (I was in for 5 weeks). But at home I try to spend an hour or so reading everyday.  Even if that’s at bedtime, it’s better than sitting on my phone with the blue light blinding your eyes. It’s much better sleep hygiene which we went into a few blogs ago.

So that’s the gadgets that I want to always have at home or away with me

  – iPad/tablet of some description – I honestly wouldn’t survive in hospital without my iPad. Without thinking about the obvious things you have on it, like Netflix, Disney+ etc, there’s important things like a copy of my meds list and my hospital protocol for my asthma, so if I forget the paper copy, I have it to hand on my iPad. I’m typing this blog on my iPad so once I’m back at uni, I don’t need to lug my laptop into uni, I can take notes on here.But if you can’t afford an iPad, there is much cheaper options that do exactly the same job, just less fancy and not brand named apple!

 – Noise cancelling headphones (or a decent pair of headphones) – I’ve got a pair of Sony noise cancelling headphones, and I can honestly say they are a total god send. Even when I’m not in hospital, having them on public transport or trying to work in uni, they are fantastic. In hospital I find it quite useful having the noise cancelling aspect of them because I get very stressed out if something happens in hospital like if someone takes very poorly, if I can hear what’s going on, I get really stressed, so having music playing and the noise cancelling on is a massive EE benefit to me. I’ve got a pair of Sony WH – CH700N that my dad got me for Christmas a few years back, but before I had the sony ones, I had a pair of Taotronic ones (Amazon’s sort of own technology brand) and they were absolutely awesome. One benefit I find is if I don’t feel up to talking to people, they can see the big headphones on my head so are less likely to try and strike up a conversation with me if they see the big headphones instead of using my little in-ear ones.

 – Normal in ear earphones – Everyone should have a little pair of earphones to hand. Listening to music/audiobooks/podcasts get me through some really different scenarios. Being able to lie in bed and listen to an audio book, or listening to music in the library to help me study are big aspects of my life. Being in hospital and not having any headphones is something I’ve only had to deal with once, and by the end of the first day I’d sent one of the healthcare workers down to the shop to get me some! You don’t have to have the most expensive, flashy or branded pair, just something you find comfortable in your ears and that you can listen to what you want.

 

  • Powerbanks – A lot of phones these days do absolutely everything apart from making a cup of tea (although I know of smart kettles that you can turn on from your phone…) but it comes at the cost of battery life. I’ve got a Samsung S9 at the minute and luckily the battery life is fairly decent, but my friend has an iPhone and finds the battery life a bit rubbish, so having a battery pack is imperative. If I’m in resus with my asthma and haven’t had a chance to charge my phone, having a battery pack means that I can listen to music to try and block out what’s going on around me. But battery packs can be useful for more than just charging phones in resus!

 

  • My kindle – I’m not going to go over why kindles are awesome again, because I talked about it earlier in the blog, but my kindle pretty much goes wherever I go!

 

  • My iPod – I try and carry my iPod if I know I’m going somewhere I’m going to be listening to music. It helps save the battery on my phone, as listening to music drains phone batteries quicker than you’d realise, so having my iPod handy is a lot better than trying to charge my battery if I’m out.
  • Camera – I honestly believe that everyone should have a decentish camera. Depending on your budget and how much you like photography will dictate what camera you get, but as a total camera nerd (along with everything else), I have an SLR and a good Sony digital camera. My Sony (I’ll put a link to my camera in when I can find it because I can’t remember the model number off the top of my head!). My Sony is a fantastic wee camera and it tends to live in my rucksack or handbag, depending what is going on in my life at that time. I find that my phone camera just doesn’t cut it for me and I like to be able to take good quality photos and have them saved somewhere other than my phone. It’s quite cool because one of the features of my camera is as soon as I have WiFi signal I can send my pictures from my camera to my iPad or phone, so if I’m out and about and lose my camera (NOOOOOOOO!) then I’ve at least got full quality back ups of all my pictures.

So this is basically a list of things that I couldn’t manage without, I know a lot of people would have different priorities though!

Until next time!

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About me Health Life

My physical health in a nutshell

My Physical health in a nutshell

So part of the reason I’m actually writing a blog is to have somewhere I can let off steam. A lot of the time that steam has built up is as a result of something connected to my physical health problems. I think having the chronic health problems that I do helps me to learn how to deal with a lot of situations in life. Unlike my dog, who if she doesn’t like it, pisses on it and walks away.

So, what physical conditions do I live with that gives me the right to write this blog? Primarily I have brittle asthma. This means that I have a very severe form of asthma that has me hospitalised regularly. I’ve averaged an admission a month since I was 19 and I’m 28 now. So that’s a lot of time spent in hospital as a result of my lungs. It has a big impact on my life, especially when I was in school sitting my Leaving Certificate (Irish A-Levels) and in my 2nd year of uni. At some point I’ll do a separate blog all about my asthma and how I live with it etc, but that’s somewhere a bit further down the line yet! But my asthma is probably the biggest problem I face on a daily basis with my physical health. My exercise tolerance is awful, although it’s not much better not being able to get out and go for a walk or go to the gym at the minute! Thank you Covid-19! But hopefully once this is all over, I’ll be able to get back to doing some kind of exercise! But my main symptoms of my asthma are shortness of breath, tight chest and wheeziness. But not necessarily all at the same time. I’ve been in hospital before and not been wheezy, but have what’s known as a silent chest, which means there’s very little air going in and out of my lungs. This is bad and means I really should be in hospital if I’m not already. But we’ll go into that in more detail later.

I also have a condition called Adrenal Insufficiency (AI). It’svery similar to a condition called Addisons Disease. My AI is actually really well controlled, so long as I remember to take my steroids in the middle of the day (I’m a bit of a nightmare for remembering to take my medication in the middle of the day). I have been on steroids pretty much constantly since I was 19 for my asthma. Until I was about 23 I was on very high doses regularly which confused my body so much that it stopped making it’s own steroids and got lazy. Because I was giving it what it needed artificially, it decided that it would cease making it’s own cortisol. So since I was  23, I’ve been on what’s known as cortisol replacement therapy. So I take the same amount my body would produce in the form of tablets three times a day. I’m god awful at remembering to take them, so more than once I’ve gone into adrenal crisis and needed injected with steroids. Like my asthma, I’m planning on doing a blog dedicated to my AI, as it’s quite a complex condition and I don’t want to waffle on about it on here if it’s not something that interests you!

As I said above, I’ve been on steroids for a long time, and a lot of the health issues I’ve got stem from the amount of steroids I was taking. I developed a condition called Avascular Necrosis of the femoral heads. This basically means that the blood supply to my hips stopped flowing as good as it should and the heads of my thigh bones where they go into the hip socket died and crumbled and I needed to have both my hips replaced at a young age. I was 22 when I had the right one done and 23 when the left one was done. It was tough going, but you wouldn’t even notice it now. I’m sitting typing this with my legs crossed under me!

Steroids have also caused me to gain a lot of weight. I’ve gone from being a size 16 to a size 22 in about 10 years. Partly steroids but also partly down to my own poor diet when I wasn’t living at home. But I’ve ended up with things like problems with my eyes and diabetes because of them. They’ve definitely not helped my mental health and I notice when I’m on high doses of steroids, my mental health goes to pot. Which is why we try to avoid steroids like the plague. My consultant would sooner have me admitted on IV medication for my chest than have me back on steroids. Nasty things! There’s a joke among the asthmatics online that the steroids we take for our asthma are known as the devil’s tic tacs!

But, I will hopefully blog again soon! Will definitely go into a bit more detail about my asthma and AI. Thanks for reading!

Categories
About me Family Health University

The first post.

So, I’m trying to get my head around WordPress, so apologies if this totally looks rubbish, I’m getting there!

So, my first post is going to be a little bit about me in more depth than what’s on my “About me” page.

My name is Vicky, and I’m 28 years old. I live in Manchester on my own, but my partner, who at the minute lives in Southampton, is planning on moving to Manchester in the next few months. At the minute, the whole country is in lockdown and we aren’t meant to leave our houses because of coronavirus/COVID-19. So Chris has come up to stay with me so I don’t go any more insane than I already am!

I spent a few years at uni studying Biomedical Science, but due to a lot of different things, my health mainly, I had to give that chosen course up. I’m planning on going back to the same university in September to study Psychology and counselling. I’m looking forward to it, I need a new challenge. I’m bored silly just sat at home!

So, my health. I’ve got a few physical and mental health problems that have had a big amount to say in the shaping of my life over the past 10 years. I’ll probably do a separate blog talking about them, but in a nutshell, I’ve got a few mental health problems and a few physical health problems. I’ll go into more detail in another blog. But it’s important to know that my health problems don’t define me. I just happen to have them on top of being Vicky, the techy, geeky four-eyed psychology student!

But for now, I’ll leave it at that and will let you decide what you make of my blog!