Grandma, can you pause the story?

Tracey Shirley
march 3rd, 2015

I remember smiling to myself when my granddaughter asked me to “pause” while reading her a bedtime story. To her, the language was appropriate. She has only known a world where you have the power to “pause” by simply pushing a button.

I think about my grandmother who was born under a tree out back because the only bed in the cabin was occupied by a sick relative. Born in 1913, she lived to be 93. We often discussed the changes she experienced in her lifetime: automobiles, indoor plumbing, television, and space travel, to name just a few. She never quite got the hang of voicemail. More than once I got a message that went something like, “I don’t know if she is there or not, I think I got the box.”

Though time has put my grandmother and my granddaughter on opposite ends of the technology curve, they will have many parallel life-changing experiences due to advances in technology.

I am in the middle. A conduit, if you will, between the past and the future.

I am a bit slower than my younger coworkers when it comes to knowing (and at times understanding) what is new in this ever-changing technology world. I am like an older 386 processor: I get the job done, it just takes longer. But my granddaughter naïvely thinks I know more than I do, simply because I know more than she does.

I am becoming familiar with the term “Internet of Things” only because I am reading The Patient Will See You Now. It’s a great read about how medical care of the future will evolve to the point where people will be the stewards of their own health, health data, and health care. I am excited about this change. Let’s face it, if you die due to a medical error, the doctor feels bad for an hour or two, but life goes on. For you, not so much.

Without technology we would never be able to drive our own health care. Technology will empower us to not only store years of health data but also to access it whenever and wherever needed, in milliseconds. Medical devices (blood pressure monitors, pace makers, artificial limbs, etc.) will check and report status automatically, alerting you if a problem is detected. This will take the place of most routine office checkups.

Technology is just about everywhere you look, even when you are not looking. The other day a stern female voice surprisingly emanated from the dashboard of our new vehicle. It advised us that the posted speed limit was 45 MPH and we were exceeding it. My husband checked with the dealer to see if that “feature” could be disabled. To his dismay (and my joy), we’re stuck with her.

They say the only constant is change. With that in mind, we should embrace change. But keep in mind that change for one person may just be standard operating procedure for someone else.

So I “paused” reading while she got a drink of water, and then picked back up right where we left off. Take that, Netflix!

After story time I tucked her in and kissed her good night. For now, Humans 1, Machines 0.

Tags: culture internet-of-things