The Curse Of Everything Being On The Internet

Tonight I had to fill out of a form online for an upcoming dermatology appointment. It’s my first time using this particular medical portal, so I first had to create a username and password to add to the literal gazillion user names and passwords currently in existence for me. I couldn’t even hazard a guess how many online accounts I have like this one. I can tell you, however, that if my stored logins and passwords ever disappear, I suspect I too will disappear from existence. I don’t know a single one of my myriad logins and passwords by heart. Not a one. So, I imagine that should my laptop every decide it is sick of storing whole my damn life, I will simply cease to exist. Isn’t that how it works these days? Anyhoo, after that first screen, there were nine others covering a range of information, from my medical history to my family’s medical history to surgeries I’ve had to medications I take to my next of kin and on and on. As I sat there laboriously working through this online document, I thought about how much time and money this must save doctor’s offices and how they probably have been able to reduce staff by at least a person or two because no one has to complete data entry from paper forms. It’s a more streamlined system.

I left my laptop momentarily to verify the dosage on a medication I take, and when I returned I noticed the screen had reset to the login page. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. Goddammit. NO! I logged in again, praying the information had saved. Alas, it had not. Forty minutes of my life gone in an instant with zero to show for my efforts. I cursed Al Gore for his role in paving the way for the Internet. In the olden days, I would have had a hand cramp that lasted for days after filling out those printed pages with ballpoint pen, but those pages would still be in existence on my counter when I returned and not lost to the ether because of some random software glitch.

I love me some Internet. I really do. I love that the Internet allows me to keep in touch with people without necessarily having to see them in person all the time. I love that the Internet enables me to research a topic in real time while I am having a discussion with someone. I love that I hardly ever have to go into a bank anymore. I love that if I am feeling super unmotivated, I can have the exact groceries I want delivered to my door through it. I love that I can shop for clothes without having to go into a store and pick them out and then stand semi-nude in front of a full length mirror in horrific lighting wanting to gouge my eyes out for my trouble. I love that I can use it to download a book or read a newspaper or watch a film. I am grateful I am able to use the Internet to complete tasks from home in my pajamas. All of this is good. If we can figure out a way for the Internet to make wine appear at my house instantaneously, it will be nearly perfect and I can go back to praising Al Gore for his foresight.

But until we can get a system whereby my medical history doesn’t suddenly go missing after a disturbance in the force resets an almost finished online form because some programmer somewhere forgot to put in an automatic save function, I would like some paper back in my life. Just a little. Not a lot. Don’t get me wrong. I am all for saving trees and the planet and all that jazz. I just like knowing that there is a paper trail once in a while. If you give me my paper medical forms back, I promise I will stop complaining about the hand cramps.

1 comment

  1. My dad is 89 and struggles with filling out the forms online. He finally created a word document with them and emails it to the doctor’s office or prints it out. Also my son introduced me to Last Pass. It saves all of your passwords and encrypts them so they can’t be stolen. It works for my husband, but I can’t log into it — it says my master password is wrong!

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