A Suburban Farm of 6th Happiness.

Need help with laptop damaged during Medical Emergancy

by Alan - May 8th, 2017.
Filed under: Uncategorized.

A few weeks ago, my spouse was in the hospital.   It was in the middle of the night and our brilliant Service Dog, Mikołaj, woke me up– barking and literally dragging me out of bed by my sleeve.  I have a sleep disorder so its very hard to wake me up, but he did it.   When I finally woke up, I found my spouse (Whom some of you know as Tam, or Bug) non-responsive  – as in, cold to the touch, purplish blue lips, and not breathing.  If it was not for Mikołaj, I do not think thay’d be alive today.

I tried CPR and Heimlich- that worked, some food and lots of vomit!   They had choked on something during a seizure.   911 was called and the emergency workers came in with all their equipment, and proceeded to make hostile accusations about the cause of their condition that deserves a future rant, and more, but that’s another story and not what I’m writing about today.

What this post is about is that the EMS workers dropped a large box like thing on the bedside table.   On this table I had my laptop, carefully closed and in its case.   This is normally a very safe, and easily accessible place for me.   After the hospital ordeal was over and I got on the computer, I  found that my Wacom Tablet wasn’t working right.  Further, the laptop wasn’t working right.  At first, it was minor, then it got worse- the cursor jumping around erratically, windows closing or popping open unexpectedly.  I thought maybe there was a virus.  Maybe some driver was updated and incompatible.    I even went and tracked another mouse down, with no luck with it.  Then I saw it:  the screen was cracked.  And I remember that’s where the EMS workers dumped their stuff.

The thing about my laptop, is that I carefully chose it because it had the memory etc I needed to do the things I do, and to multitask (I not only often need a text editor and web browser (with multiple tabs) open, and an art program, all open at the same time, I need assistive device programs running in the background – such as voice recognition, or for the drawing tablet, or to catch typos etc).  The second reason I chose this laptop is that it has a touch screen which isn’t that common on laptops.  Although I do have a cheap tablet which of course is a touch screen device- it doesn’t have the memory needed, nor does it have a keyboard or multiple ports for adding a mouse a wacom tablet etc.  Plus, the size is hard to use because holding it forces my thumb out of joint.

Because of my physical disability, Ehlers-Danlos (link for more info/links), I use multiple assistive devices with my laptop: I switch between the touch screen, the mouse, a wacom tablet and pen, the touch pad on the keyboard, using ‘mouse keys’, and sometimes voice recognition- often within minutes of using one of the others.  If I use one input method for more than a few minutes, my fingers and wrist lock up; the pain travels up my arm to my shoulders neck and back and I end up in pain that even a strong dose of prescription pain killers can’t stop.  I end up moving between the bath and bed for the rest of the day, trying to get it under control.

When the EMS workers dropped this big box thing on my computer case, it cracked the touch screen on the laptop- it’s a very fine crack on the screen, that is not yet affecting the visuals, but makes the touch capabilities impossible to use.  I was able to turn off the touch-screen driver, so I can use the laptop, but I’m currently restricted to the keyboard or the mouse.  I’ve lost the touch screen and the wacom tablet as assistive devices.  While I can use the laptop still- I thus limited to using it only for very short periods of time or else my joints get all locked up.  This seriously limits the time I can get anything done on it.   Plus, that crack is going to grow- they always do.  Eventually, the visuals will go, and the computer will be useless then.

The Wacom Tablet itself didn’t crack – as the mouse still works- but the PEN that comes with it, that did break somehow.  I don’t know what/how, but the pen costs around $100

Almost all of my work is done on the computer, both online and offline.  Being Autistic, almost all of my social contact is also online, even with people I know offline.  It allows me to do things like banking and shopping and making Dr Appointments- which would otherwise, due to social anxiety and environmental sensory stressors, be difficult to impossible for me to do offline.  So loss of the computer is also loss of independence.

In the past, I have tried to raise money for things we needed by putting things on Ebay or Etsy or the storefront software I wrote myself… I have spent several weeks since the incident and now, trying to get together stuff to sell. It’s proven impossibly slow since I can only use the laptop in spurts and the tablet cannot handle the size of the images from my camera.  Just to get ONE item photographed, edited, uploaded, weighed to figure out postage, a description written for the store front… it had taken a full week.  At this rate, the screen will certainly be broken and computer unusable long before I get my online store restocked, and running again.  I don’t even know if what I have would sell well or not (mostly pet supplies, some artwork, other random stuff), or bring in enough to help cover the cost of the laptop.

The Laptop is a HP Omen.  I was lucky to get it on clearance after Christmas as a gift to myself with Holiday and birthday money I saved up (so I have only had it a few months!).  It was around $600.  At Microcenter you can buy accidental insurance, which I did, for 2 years, so that brought it up to 7-something I think.  I checked their website, and there are currently NO OTHER LAPTOPS that have close to the amount of memory that this one does AND that have a touch screen which has been a huge help for me due to my joint disease.  I have asked before, and they will not let you buy a computer from another store online and have it shipped to your local store.  If I bring them the damaged computer, they will give me a gift certificate, and I will be stuck unable to buy a replacement laptop that can run half my software (or multitask assistive software) or provide one of the best assistive aides I’ve had on a laptop for a long time- the touch screen.

Further, my Wacom Tablet’s warranty has long ago expired, so a new one would have to come entirely out of my pocket.

The problem is, being on disability, our income is just above the poverty level.  Enough to keep us out of most help programs, but low enough that every month is a scramble just to cover the cost of food and medication copays.

Fixing the touch screen is the FIRST and most important thing.  If the screen cracks further, the laptop will become useless.  If I can get the Wacom tablet replaced, it will be a huge relief to my joints and stress level.   I have found the screen can be purchased on Ebay for around $150 to 300-some dollars on average- there may be other places to buy it, I am not sure where to look though that is reputable.

I have the know-how to replace the screen myself.  Hard my hands as they are prematurely arthritic and my joints all dislocate, but it is doable.  If I could raise extra money, I could maybe buy the screen and afford to pay a local repair shop to do the work.  I will be surprised if I could raise enough money to also get a new wacom tablet, but as mine was several years old, I don’t know, maybe someone has an old one they no longer use and would be so kind as to gift it?

If you are able and willing to help, I thank you very much.

Because of being Autistic, the computer is my lifeline, but because of the Ehlers Danlos, using any computer has become very physcially painful and thus I need multiple assistive input devices.  

These are the ways you could help:

1. Send a donation via PayPal.  Please send as a ‘friend’, otherwise PayPal will take a chunk of the donation out for “fees”, and every penny matters for us (and you are helping me as an online friend, so there is no reason to feel awkward sending this way.  If however it does really bother you, you can alternatively use the ‘donation’ link.

  • PREFFERED: help by sending money by PayPal as a Friend here: https://www.paypal.me/PetNouveau
  • Alternative: if you have an PayPal account, you can send money directly to me via the email below, or use this donation link (will deduct ‘fees’, so I won’t get the full amount):

2. Send used or purchased parts.  If you have an old wacom tablet (compatible with Windows 8) you no longer use, or you happen to have the same laptop I have- maybe the motherboard died and you got a replacement, I could scavenge it for parts.  Here are the Specs on my laptop:  HP Omen with Intel Core i7-4720HQ,  8 GB RAM memory and Running Windows 8.1 And these are the parts I need to get fixed:

  • 15.6″ Touch Screen Display <- THIS IS THE PART I NEED REPLACED.   IT IS HP PART NUMBER: 811202-001 “Display Panel Kit” I found it on EBAY $300 (Edit: the one I thought was $150 turned out not to have the  touch screen part) is it available anywhere else?  The official HP store wants $900 which is more than I paid for the laptop itself!).  As said, I can replace the screen myself.  But, it will be hard on my joints.  If I can raise enough money, I could have a local repair shop do it.
  • Intuos Wacom Tablet PEN.  Mine is a medium and has both a mouse and pen.   Only the pen broke.  I had lost it several years back and was able to buy a new one (before my medicine copays got jacked up) and it was around $100 for just the pen.   Looks the model is pretty old that buying a used tablet as well as the pen may be cheaper than that even.   If the pen can be found cheaper though, that is all I need.   This Ebay Auction shows what my tablet and the pen look like (they don’t have the mouse for some reason): http://www.ebay.com/itm/Wacom-INTUOS3-6-x-8PTZ-930-Graphics-USB-Tablet-GRIP-PEN-/282464839480?hash=item41c4376738:g:6iIAAOSw42JZDoP4

3. If you live in the Chicagoland area and happen to want some pet chickens, I have a whole bunch of chicks that were hatched between April 4th thru 14th).  They are $5 – $10 each depending on breed; http://fithfath.com/farm/poultry/chickens/a-new-chicken-breed-for-the-city/ I actually talk about them in on another page so I won’t describe them here.  I also have some Dog toys (large stuffy octopus, collars, leashes, glow in the dark ChuckIt frisbees, treat dispensing toys etc) Cat Toys (handmade little stuffies full of sheep wool and/or catnip and some with naturally shed chicken feathers) Bird/parrot toys (both commercial and handmade) and toys/supplies for pet rats, hamsters, gerbils.  I wanted to get this stuff online to sell, but it’s taking me too long, and I fear that either it won’t sell, or that it ill but I will loose money on shipping so that what profit I make is pocket change.  If you live nearby though, it might be economical, so feel free to contact me by email if you’d like more info:

ETA 15th May: Update on what has been raised, and how far I have to go still is available here: http://fithfath.com/farm/2017/05/15/update-on-computer-repairs-thank-yous-and-life/

These photos show the screen that was cracked.  On one of them, I marked the crack out in red as it is very fine and hard to see.   I put some ‘gorilla glass’ over it that was meant for a tablet, so it doesn’t cover the whole screen, and is really really annoying when reading to see the text ‘warp’ at where the gorilla glass edges are.  But hopefully it slow down the crack getting worse.  (Wow, the camera flash really makes all the dust stand out.   I can’t see any of that in the room’s lighting.   Guess I better clean it.)

ETA: for those who have suggested GoFundMe, yes I know of it.  I tried it before when Tam/Bug’s home aide left, and their dog was dumped on us.  I tried using GoFundMe so we could afford basics of dog food etc while trying to get her into a no kill breed specific rescue… it was one of the most depressing things I’ve failed at.  The website kept sending me suggestions on how to fundraise- but either I couldn’t do them due to the disabilities, or I tried and the suggestions didn’t help us gain any donations or even views.  I ended up returning the few donations we got, as after fees, it wouldn’t even have been enough to buy a bag of dog food, and we had to take the dog to the local ‘kill’ shelter.  They do have a low kill rate, and the dog was friendly and trainable, so I do hope it turned out well for her, but I don’t want to use their site or anything like it as long as I live.

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