?

Log in

No account? Create an account
entries friends calendar profile My Website Previous Previous Next Next
Mark Atwood
fallenpegasus
fallenpegasus
Taking a friend to the hospital, or, why you don't want to sleep in your contacts.
Yesterday, while driving home, I got a tearful call from a friend (who we will call MEKS for the rest of this story). She'd developed some issue with her eye, it was getting scary and painful, and she needed a ride from her workplace to a clinic. Pity the timing, if I had still been in Kirkland I could have just gone right up to Bothell, but instead I was already past the last exit before the 520 bridge, and so was committed to staying in the crawling traffic for a while.

I got home, mapped the address she was at, and went back and got her, arriving just as her appt at the clinic was supposed to be. Between bad directions from the person who recommended the clinic, and really bad directions from the clinic staff, we arrived an hour late. And they weren't willing to see her while also doing the paperwork at the same time, so sent us to a walk-in clinic down the street (and again the directions were poor).

It's been pointed out that humanity is, on average, just barely as smart as necessary. This really shows up when you ask just about anyone for directions. Why can't people give directions like Google or MapQuest? Street names and NUMBERS, turn directions, and exit NUMBERS as well as names. And correct distances, rather than "a ways" or "between five and ten miles".

Anyway, the walk-in clinic had already closed. Buttheads.

The information line on her health insurance was also closed. Buttheads. One wonders what insurance the executives at Cingular have. Somehow I doubt it's the same one that they chose for their CSR employees.

MEKS was melting down pretty badly at this point. But between me and help on the phone from omahas, we helped her hold together, figured out how her insurance interacted with hospitals and emergency room selections (the insurance's ask-a-nurse helpline was no help either), and I took her to Overlake Hospital in Bellevue.

From here the story gets happier. They weren't overly busy, they triaged her right in, weren't too stupid about paperwork (she was only asked for her address, employer, and ssn twice, instead of just once (or better yet, none at all, since they could have gotten most of it from her insurance card)), and they didn't try to keep me out with "sorry, staff and patients only". (I've gotten really good at looking purposeful and unstoppable, even without the coat and hat.)

Anyway, within a few minutes an ophthalmologist was looking at her, and soon after had put contact anesthetic eyedrops in, which improved her mood immensely. He then did a closer exam (the florasine made her irises glow bright yellow, like a zombie, or a Galactic Emperor, which was pretty cool), and then cut a few more scrips for her, and arranged a followup visit.

Soon after, her bf arrived to take care of her, and to take her home. She's got a followup appt today (and in fact, probably is at it right now.)


But I missed gipsieee's party.
5 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
seawasp From: seawasp Date: July 14th, 2006 06:19 pm (UTC) (Link)

Directions...

It's been pointed out that humanity is, on average, just barely as smart as necessary. This really shows up when you ask just about anyone for directions. Why can't people give directions like Google or MapQuest? Street names and NUMBERS, turn directions, and exit NUMBERS as well as names. And correct distances, rather than "a ways" or "between five and ten miles".

Because many of us don't think that way. I know maybe 1/10th to 1/3rd of the street names involved in most locations I go to. I navigate by visual cues. Sure, if I'm in a city I've never been in I'll use MapQuest type directions, but not after a short time, and I won't REMEMBER any of the MapQuest stuff after I've used it. I still am not sure of the exit number that I use when going home, because I'm not taking "Exit #X" but "The First Watervliet exit, the one that heads towards HVCC". And I most ESPECIALLY have no idea of distances. Within a factor of two or three, yeah, but not "go 1.5 miles". Unless for some reason I measured it and the number happened to stick.


I know people who come from, say, the Midwest who are confounded by the fact that people don't tell you to drive by compass direction because many roads out there actually run in some constant direction like "North", as opposed to here in the Northeast where "Route 18North" may run East or West or even jog South a bit while wending its way vaguely Northward.
fallenpegasus From: fallenpegasus Date: July 14th, 2006 06:47 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Directions...

I will half give you that.

But some of the directions we got yesterday referred to landmarks that didnt exist anymore ("oh, yeah, that store got torn down, sorry, but it'd been there so long i just didnt notice") and wrong directions (they said "turn right", when what actually was the case was "turn LEFT onto the shared industrial park driveway, and then turn right off of it").

So I will stand by "just barely as smart as necessary".

In fact, I will redouble it. "Because many of us don't think that way." is just another way of saying "Just as smart as necessary". A mapping computer is smart about directions and locations. Most humans use wetware instincts that evolved to find the berry bush and the watering hole again from day to day, and got repurposed for modern use, and just barely work.
seawasp From: seawasp Date: July 14th, 2006 07:28 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Directions...

But the mapping computer ISN'T smart. It's dumb as a rock. It doesn't know directions. It knows nothing. It's a mechanism that regurgitates the exact material put into it.

We, on the other hand, ARE smart. But not built to regurgitate information in mechanistic fashion.

fallenpegasus From: fallenpegasus Date: July 14th, 2006 09:28 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Directions...

I have trouble calling what a modern mapping/navigation computer does "mere regurgitation". Taking the large and intricate database that is a region road map, and instantly computing good-enough routes between arbitrary points, and giving useful directions between them, is an amazingly useful thing, no "mere" about it.

Add in a GPS receiver, and it can become almost magical. The next step will be when it grabs road status information from the local DOT servers, and uses that information, and it gets even better. (The WA DOT transmits that information, and I can buy little boxes that receive it, or also display it on a smartphone.)

These machines do what I can't trust most random humans to do at all, let alone well enough. Yeah, the computer sometimes screws up, but a lot less than the human does. "Use the force, Luke.", my ass.

Human's are smart about finding the berry bush again the next day. They're not so smart about giving road directions. When I want road directions, I've learned to trust the machines, and not trust the meatbrain monkeys.

Like the kids in "Small Soldiers", when they needed to get a message to the design engineers, and some overly helpful meathead receptionist kept trying to "help"... "Let me talk to a machine! Can you put me thru to his *machine*!"
tonyawinter From: tonyawinter Date: July 14th, 2006 08:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sorry to hear about your friend. Glad she has such a great guy to take care of her. :)
5 comments or Leave a comment