The Life and Times of Florence Knitingale

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Computers are Evil

Or, how I became the office hero by utilizing what is apparently not "common" sense.

We have a computer system at work that governs absolutely everything we do. I believe I've mentioned this. It contains the schedule, the files of all the patients, the orders for procedures and tests, patient history, and so forth. We enter prescriptions into it and, while we can print them out and give them to the patient, we more often use the computer to fax them directly--no paper involved at our end. We use it to log phone calls from patients, to leave messages, and quite possibly we are supposed to use some program called "Wee 6.0" when we want to pee. I haven't determined that yet, but it seems highly likely.

The computer is also, as it happens, an evil minded little troll who highly resents the holidays that we mortals take and sought to make us pay this morning with a little game of "screw the humans". Seriously--it was possessed. If it had had a head, it would have been spinning around wildly. Some people couldn't log in--but not all, because that would be easy to figure out. Patients couldn't be registered--again, just some. Attempting to fax prescriptions caused it to shut down the whole system. Attempting to check what medicines a person was taking caused it to throw the user unceremoniously from the system. And, just for fun, it randomly shut the program down while people were typing--preferably at a point that would make the innocent victim squeal like a little girl whose older brother just pulled the head off her doll. It wasn't pretty.

Around 8:15, a patient came in to be seen. The computer, chuckling evilly and stroking a white persian cat with one hand, decided that this person could not be put into the computer. Therefore, she had no chart. No chart--no way to enter vitals, list meds, list allergies, etc. No way to get this info to the physician. It was dreadful. Medical people were wringing their hands in desperation, and the Dr. was actually pacing, saying things dramatically such as "there MUST be a way to get this person in so my schedule stays on time!" I resisted the urge to say in a heavy Scottish accent "I'm givin' her all I can, Cap'n!" Instead, I did this:

I picked up a clipboard. I put some paper on it. I grabbed a pen. I went and called the patient back. I wrote her vital signs, her medications, and her allergies on the piece of paper with the pen. (Stop me if I'm getting too technical.). I walked down the hall (WALKED DOWN THE HALL, mind you) and handed it to the doctor. I told him she was ready to see him. He looked at me as though I had just invented cold fusion, and thanked me profusely. I swear, I would not have been surprised to hear him say "And this call it....paper?" "Yes, yes I do. And this pointy thing here? This is a pen. No, don't put it in your mouth. Icky."

I saved the office a bit later again, when I realized that no one was handling the refills because of the computer glitch. I tried something radical--I picked up the phone and CALLED in the prescriptions. I dialed the phone and I talked to the pharmacists and I told them what I needed...and it worked. People got their medication and all was well in Mudville. Or Clinicville. Or whatever.

I can see potential in this. I may have to start coming in and randomly tossing out things like "Oh, dear. The computer gods are angry. They say you haven't been appreciating their queen--that would be me. They're threatening you with paper and telephones. The only thing that will appease them is for you to bring me offerings of chocolate and foot massage. I wouldn't test them if I were you. Do you really want things to come to having to bring me expensive sock yarn? 'Cause it could happen, people!"

Scary thing is: I'm not completely sure it wouldn't work.

On another note, I finished the rose socks and started a really, really lovely NEW sock in a breathtaking Koigu with shades of teal, and purple, and blue. Very rich. The pattern is a feather and fan pattern. And there would be a photo of it right......

Except Mr. K has taken the camera hostage. I guess he hasn't heard about my recent promotion to technology goddess (or non-technology goddess, I guess that would be). Just wait until he tries to get into his e-mail tonight. But anyway, the sock is pleasing me ridiculously and I will post a picture of it tomorrow. As is typical for me, I will continue to adore it until it doesn't fit right, it seems to be too tightly woven, or I spot something I like better because I have the attention span of a tomcat with ADD standing in an alley with 300 cats in heat, a mountain of tuna, and a man driving by in a catnip wagon. It's a sad thing.

Knit on, friends. Knit on. And be nice to your paper and pencils.


  • At 8:09 PM, Blogger beckie said…

    Don't you love doctors? The one I used to work for hated computers so we lived off charts..It was nice to live with the paper in a way...More dependable in a way (until you lose something in filing!)
    Good job saving the day!

  • At 8:11 PM, Blogger Marianne said…

    Yeah, I was afraid things like that happened in dr's offices these days....good old paper charts, people actually writing down pertinent information in them, goodness, what a concept. Glad you could save their asses.

    I've SO been wanting to see the rosy socks...and now the Koigu...if I sit here at the pc and refuse to go to bed, think Mr.K will relinquish the camera?

  • At 11:23 PM, Anonymous angie Cox said…

    I hope "Gonzales" isn't reading this as he can get very nasty and might wipe my gorgeous Roo screen -saver . We have the greatest respect for paper and pencils .Friends are almost go-smacked that Holly draws with a pencil and uses watercolours .Some try to force us to buy her an art programme .She is a luddite who prefers books and adores paper . The smell of paper , the textures are as gorgeous as yarn . I can't draw so just sniff all that cedar-wood and fondle the huge box of water-colours she has .
    If you think poots are evil meet our recordable D.V.D player decided to keep me at my wits end last week when Roo was on T.V .It decided it would , after all, format the disc about ten minutes from the start after two hours of Holly and Jeff's best efforts. I don't do such things as Rw and R- , T.D.K , Maxell etc are too boring for me .

  • At 1:19 AM, Anonymous MonicaPDX said…

    Oh lawsy, the visions - of both the clinic (Truly, it's worthy of Pratchett, the scene with the doctor. "And this call it....paper?" I swear I could hear Leonard da Quirm explaining something to the Patrician!) and a tomcat with ADD, etc!

    If I hadn't just typed such a honkin' run-on paragraph, I'd say it was too funny for words. [g] But then I'd be lying, so, you know. Thanks for enabling me to scare the neighbors again by cackling late at night! ;)

  • At 7:06 AM, Anonymous Gretch said…

    You're a genius! A flippin' genius! Now that you've mastered all other manual labor involved, you have risen to take control of the clinic by harnassing the power of technology. Use it wisely - ask for the sock yarn only in dire situations. You'll get it.

  • At 5:23 AM, Blogger Jo said…

    As always its been a veritable chuckle assured pleasure dropping by!

  • At 1:46 PM, Blogger Dana said…

    That was a ball to read! It sounds like your new job is an adventure every day and you've already scored major points with your boss. Go for the fiber! :)

  • At 1:46 PM, Blogger Kitty Mommy said…

    Our clinic apparently has a computer that eats the information immediately after it is entered. I had an appointment where the nurse asked her standard gazillion questions and plugged all the answers into the computer. Then the doctor came in, called up my chart on the computer, asked all the same questions, and entered them all again. A week later I went in for a follow-up and they still had to ask me the same question and got significantly pissy when I pointed out that the answers hadn't changed in the last seven days. Love those 'puter...


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