2010 has been a year of….


Right from the beginning of the year there has been a lot to deal with.

My wife Bryony had her operation over the Christmas of 2009 with the recovery and switch on happening in the January of 2010.

Unfortunately the operation didn’t work out as expected. While from a clinical perspective the operation went fine, practically it didn’t make any improvements. Bryony persisted with it as long as she could but the implant was actually unbearable to use.(she explains it here)

The specialists at the hospital were great but there was very little they could do other than tweak settings. The implant manufacturer even flew one of their specialists in from America as they were all very puzzled as to why it hadn’t worked.

To make matters worse shortly after Bryony also lost a considerable amount of hearing in the other ear, to the extent that her hearing aid was doing nothing at all. At the beginning of the year we hoped we were hoping that there would be a life changing shift in her hearing and here we were in the middle of the year and it looked like the life changing shift was happening – just in the complete opposite direction we wanted!

Bryony wrote three great posts at the time talking about what happened and how she was feeling about it all.

Scared is not the word

A life of complete silence

A life of complete Silence #2 – Working at work, working at home

As the months have gone on she has had some improvement, the hearing aid is of use again and while it’s not the same she has adapted to the new level.

While all this has been going on we were trying to move house. We’d lived in the same house for six and a half years but now we have two children there just physically wasn’t the space for us all to live there. This coupled with the fact our oldest, Alice would be going to school the other side of town meant we had make a change. Selling the house wasn’t quite straightforward though, with a recession and depressed housing market our house wasn’t that different from all the other homes for sale. We finally managed it and a house we’d made an offer on some time looked like it’d be a our new home.

With this being the year of challenges though it was never going to be that straightforward. We couldn’t get a mortgage on the new property. With lenders being more cautious we had a hard time getting approved. We had to admit defeat and look at something lower priced which meant we spent a frantic couple of days looking at house while I was on crutches (I’ll come to that in a bit!)

We managed to find something and had our offer accepted. After several weeks of hassle with solicitors, etc we were finally able to move into our new place (I’ve glossed over that – getting the paperwork sorted and physically moving was a pain in the rear)

We’re actually really happy with the house got instead. It’s located perfectly for the school run, is in a quiet street and there is a park at the end of the road for the children to play on. Maybe these things happen for a reason!

So why was I looking at houses on crutches?

After a very long wait I finally had my knee operation.

This wasn’t fun at all and it’s not experience I want to go through again and frustratingly it all happened just as everything was going on with the house move meaning I was looking at potential new houses on crutches. I got some strange looks from the various estate agents we saw.

The operation was in June and since then I’ve had varying levels of physio to get the knee back on track. I’ve even had to join a gym to help with recovery. I’ve never been a fan of the gym and in the past I’ve never needed one as I’ve played enough sport to keep me healthy and fit.

It’s been a long hard slog and consumed a lot of free time and thoughts. Hopefully I’m on the home stretch now. I’ve been discharged from the physio sessions and have to finish the rest of the strengthening work on my own. A couple of weeks ago I played a game of badminton and was able to get around the court normally and had no side effects afterwards. I really don’t want to go through this again. My original goal was to be back playing football in 6-9 months. I will probably change this to be 9-12 months to be on the safe side so currently I’m aiming for the start of the next football season to be fully recovered.

Coupled with plenty of challenges on the business front 2010 has been a year I’d rather not repeat anytime soon.

That said it’s not all entirely doom and gloom.

I’ve also had some really great experiences this year.

In August I turned 30 and Bryony organised a surprise gathering of friends. I was really pleased to see so many of my friends from AMITPRO there. Anyone that thinks a peer group is just all about business is missing a trick. Many friendships and relationships are made there and I’m really proud to be a part of AMITPRO.

As well as my birthday it’s been great spending time with AMITPRO friends at Pecha Kucha, the Replay event in Blackpool, the Retro Computer Museum, and the Vintage Computer Festival

Speaking at three different user groups (AMITPRO, Manchester and Reading) has also been a great experience. Standing up in front of a group of people and talking is not something I thought I’d ever be able to do yet here I am at the point where I actually enjoy it though enjoying it and being any good at it are two different things! I’ve got lots to improve on.

I was even fortunate to be named on the SMB Nation Top 150 list for 2010. I was very surprised by this, especially when I look down the list and see some of the other names on there.

I’ve sucked at blogging an awful lot this year for various reasons. I’m annoyed that it’s the last day of 2010 and this is my first post in December.

Thanks to everyone who has made the effort to read the blog and leave comments this year. As bad as I’ve been at it this year I still love doing it so hopefully I’ll pull my finger out more next year.

Also thanks to everyone I’ve interacted with this year. Whether it’s been virtually through Facebook, Twitter, Xbox Live, etc or in person I appreciate your thoughts, company and input. 

Finally, one thing that makes any hardship during any particular day go away is coming home to my kids. They have both grown so much during 2010 and I’ll leave it to them to wish you a happy new year!

Xmas 2010


If you’ve made it this far through such a lengthy post thank you!

Catch you in 2011

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Andy Parkes is Technical Director at Coventry based IT support company IBIT Solutions. Formerly, coordinator of AMITPRO and Microsoft Partner Area Lead for 2012-2013. He also isn't a fan of describing himself in the third person.

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