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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Recovery From Cardiac Bypass Surgery: Day 10

Well, the air-conditioner did work its magic on my father's urine production that night and his output was much improved from what it had been during the daytime. I was very relieved that my theory about the hot weather conditions was seemingly vindicated.

I got out of bed around 6:30 AM and again helped my father exercise, have breakfast, etc. After that, started organizing the collection of music I had copied from my brother's computer the day before he left. Most of the music in the collection was reasonable well-tagged and it was easy to organize. I am a big believer in organization, so I always make sure that all my music is well-tagged and the directory structure is based on the artist and album information contained in the tags.

Unfortunately, a lot of people seem to be either too stupid or too lazy to tag MP3 files properly when they rip them. Many times, the ripped files come out named as track1, track2, etc., with absolutely no information about the artist or album or song title in the tags. Those files are easy to organize as far as I am concerned: they get deleted off my hard drive right away. I don't care how rare or priceless the music is. If it can not be organized on my hard drive, it does not belong there.

The problem occurs with some files that have issues, but not insurmountable ones. Some people seem to rip music such that the name of the file contains all the tagging information such as artist, album, etc. This results in obscenely long file names, but at least I know what the file contains. I use a piece of software called TagScanner (I talk about it in this post on free software) to extract tag information from the file name and fill the tags appropriately. This usually works if the naming convention is reasonably unambiguous with the separators between the fields in the file name not being used in the actual field information itself. Sometimes, after using TagScanner, I have to manually massage the tag information to get it just right.

The other type of issue might be music files stored in an original folder structure that contains the artist, album and other information, but the files themselves may not have any tag information. It is TagScanner to the rescue again as it can actually create tag information from a folder structure also.

Once all the tag information is created, I can then use a different functionality of TagScanner to move the music to the type of folder structure I use to organize my existing music. TagScanner will actually create the appropriate folders under my current music folder, move the file from wherever it is currently, to the appropriate folder, and then rename the file to contain only the title of the song.

So, I spent a large part of the day trying to organize about 30 GB worth of music into their proper places, with their proper tags. Some of the music files, unfortunately, were in wav format, so I first had to use MediaCoder to convert them to MP3 format, then derive their tag information from the file names, and finally store them away appropriately. All this took time, and at the end of the day, I still had about 1.5 GB worth of music that I had not sorted out yet.

Apart from all this computer work, I also went to a neighbor's place and checked my email for about half an hour. They obtain their internet access through a different provider, so they still had internet access while my parents did not. But since it was a neighbor's place and I was actually using their computer rather than hooking my own laptop to their broadband router (unfortunately, they did not have a wi-fi router), I restricted myself to a quick peek at my email. My main aim was to make sure that I was not missing something major that required my immediate attention. Also, my wife had sent me email with a list of things she wanted me to buy and bring back home with me, so I noted down the items on that list. I would have to figure out the logistics of how I was going to find the time to run around acquiring all the items on the list, but that was a different worry for a different day!

After that, I made what should have been a quick trip to a pharmacy. The pharmacy is associated with and co-located in a nearby hospital where my father was initially admitted when he first had his cardiac episode. When he was discharged from there, they gave him a discharge summary with results from some tests that had been conducted on him, but not all of them. So, in combination with my visit to the pharmacy (my father was running out of some medicines in his extensive regimen of drugs that he had been prescribed, so the visit to the pharmacy was to replenish his stock of these drugs), I decided to stop by the appropriate department of the hospital to get the rest of his reports.

Easier said than done. The department that should have had his records told me that all the records they had were included in the discharge summary, and they had nothing else to give me. They directed me to the nurses' station corresponding to his room number to see if the nurses had any additional reports. But the nurses did not have anything and directed me back to the first office I had visited. The terminology they used was quite bewildering and added to the confusion. It turns out that when patients come to the hospital with some insurance, their records are treated differently than if the patient had paid out of his own pocket for the treatment. But one department of the hospital referred to patients with insurance as "company patients" while the other department did not have any idea what that term meant! Getting everybody involved to talk the same language was my first and most difficult task. Finally, after a couple more back and forths, the records department located a file with results from a few more tests conducted on my father. The originals of these reports had been sent to the insurance company for their records and all the hospital had were copies. Upon my insistence, a clerk grudgingly made one more copy of these reports and gave them to me for our records. My quick trip to the pharmacy had ended up wasting a solid chunk of the afternoon, but at least it hadn't been a complete failure!

While I was battling the hospital bureaucrats, the orderly whome we had requested for assistance had arrived at home and taken care of giving my father a shave and a shower. After my daunting trip to the hospital, I also shaved and took a shower. On the way to the hospital, while trying to focus on too many vehicles at the same time at a chaotic intersection, I was bumped into by a bicyclist. It would help to have at least 4 pairs of eyes to keep a look-out in all directions when one is a pedestrian in this place, and a single pair turns out to be woefully inadequate most of the time. It was a pretty slow colission and we apologized to each other and continued on our ways, but I got scraped by some metal part of the bicycle on the side of my leg. I paid special attention to this scrape, cleaning it out with a lot of water and soap, during my shower. I probably would not have given it a second thought when I was living here since such scraps with traffic are pretty common-place out here, and you develop the necessary immunity to survive such cuts and scrapes without incident. But, I have no idea how weak my immune system has become after not being exposed to those conditions for a while. Falling sick is one of the biggest risks associated with my visits back home, and I was not keen on catching some kind of infection through an open wound on this trip.

Later in the evening, I had dinner, gave my father his medicines, etc. He was sitting in the hall and watching TV when my mother confided in me in the dining room that she was once again worried about his urine output. Her worries were based on his uring output during the day, and I reminded my mother that he had produced quite a bit of urine during the night, thanks to staying cool in the air-conditioned bedroom all night long. But my mother was not convinced that it was proof he was out of the woods yet. She also had concerns about the color of the urine and the fact that it foamed up when collected in a container. The urine output bugaboo was back! She had me try to call the doctor to see what he thought about her concerns, but the doctor could not be reached. Maybe he will call back tomorrow, and in the meantime, hopefully my father's urine output during the night will be adequate not to induce panic in my mother.

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