Monday, March 04, 2013

Minimalist greyhound and identity crisis




































The artist as a minimalist in the process of thinking something very minimal.

My friend Nick shows me a netsuke which he produces from a pouch in his pocket. It is a greyhound carved in ivory (antique),  its legs delicately curved beneath it. It has beautiful eyes. Are they? Yes they are pieces of amber.  They greyhound with the amber eyes.

In the new Pembury Hospital they have an electronic check-in system for outpatients. It is like a game. The screen asks you what language you wish to speak in and offers a choice of flags. Sex comes next. Male or female? Then the month of your birth. Then the day. Just as an extra safeguard - you don't want to end up as someone else - what is your post code? The screen then tells you who you  think you are. Having indicated that you do not mind your name appearing on a further screen which summons you to your appointment, as you watch for yours  to appear, you speculate about  the owners of the names which unscroll before you. Fascinating some of them. Random characters in novels not yet written.  When mine shows up I do not immediately recognise it.

2 comments:

Roderick Robinson said...

Our medical centre has such a system which lets the doctor know I have arrived for my appointment. I approve of the mechanism but only up to the point where the info on the screen switches from inarguable to speculative - notably the predicted length of time I can expect to wait. This is always hugely optimistic. Thus I am reassured briefly but always disappointed in the long term. I don't think this is good for me.

Some years ago further "rationalisation" was imposed. In an attempt to cut down on time spent in the surgery patients were told they could only mention three ailments or concerns per appointment. Conscious of this I tend to gabble. On my most recent visit I was told (by a woman doctor I don't get on with) to list only my symptoms, not guess at what they meant. I suppose she was entitled, professionally, to do this but it left me angered. I wondered if I might respond according to my own lights: demand that all her sentences be parsable.

Joe Hyam said...

Doctors apparently resent the internet because patients arrive at their surgeries better informed than they are or more likely misinformed. I gather that some patients simply tell their doctors what remedies they need and ask them to prescribe accordingly. My doctor and his wife another doctor with an office next to his are retiring next month at a ridiculously early age because they don't like the new administrative arrangements which have been forced on them.