Thursday, October 16, 2008

Running Past Empty

My father has been in the hospital for the last week with pneumonia which as put a damper on my writing energy and time. It's also been far more draining on me than I thought it would be. Guess I am getting old too. The thing is when you get paid to write books and you are on a deadline you still need to push the rest of life aside and trudge forward with that writing.

I admit this has not been one of my more productive weeks. The good news is I am still on track to finishing the full outline / story flow for Sapphire Sirens by the end of the month. That means with luck (lots of luck) I will have my draft done by the end of January. The trick I found for staying some what on time is to use my down time to think of ideas that will help shape the future world that these characters of mine live in.

Since I have been spending so much time in the hospital facing my fathers mortality and in many ways contemplating my own I've been thinking about medical advances that will keep my characters (and by proxy my family and I) out of situations like this in the future. One thing I've noticed is that nurses and nurses aids have some pretty nasty jobs to do. How long will it be until robots are doing some of the repetitive gross chores? My guess would be robot cleaners and mops would be first. Ideally we''ll have bed pan robots in the next 20-30 years. Also how long will it be before we have robotic med dispensers rolling from person to person handing out or delivering the right of amount of medication to each patient. This one might be harder for people to accept as a cold electronic smile certainly doesn't match a warm hand on the shoulder but it would certainly have potential to save human personal a lot of time.

A long the lines of something less SFish it would be nice if in the future doctors had more access to more information about patients that they could easily share with other doctors. I don't know if we'll carry our medical records (and perhaps our DNA makeup) in a chip in our fingers or not, but I could see how this might happen. I can see some good coming out of this as we would all have personalized medic alert tags with us at all times. I also see how this has the potential to be abused, perhaps by insurance companies scanning our tags and determining from our history and our DNA that we aren't insurable. That's part of the fun being a humor SF writer figuring out how these changes that are coming may help us or may drive us crazy.

One of the more frustrating experiences in the hospital is sometimes waiting a couple of hours to get three minutes of the doctors time to explain the situation to you. It would be nice if each patient's bed had a little recording device where the doc could record and leave holographic messages and updates for both the family and even nursing instructions. From my research we're still a good 10-20 years away from holographic recordings and I can also see the potential to abuse this but I still feel a system like this could help dissimulate information which to me is what progress is all about.

Pondering matters like this (as well as anti-aging technologies) not only keeps my mind busy but hopefully also makes my writing more interesting.

1 comment:

Janet said...

Sorry to hear about your father, John. That is such a difficult experience to go through.