Monday, January 31, 2005

HAVE A GREAT DAY SK

I called the pharmacy today and asked about whether I had a refill left on a prescription medication. They said yes, I did, so I arranged to pick it up later this morning.

Then I called my doctor's office and made an appointment to see him.

Big deal, huh?

You bet. Because instead of asking Husband or Sis to make these calls, I did it myself, using my TTY and a Relay Operator.

The TTY is initially a hell of a lot more intimidating than you'd imagine. Using it reminds me a lot of the very first times I went online, nearly 20 years ago. Eventually, I realized that I could relax - as Husband put it, it turned out "you can't break the internet"- but for the first few times you connected, you were terrified that you'd somehow screw everything up.

If you don't believe me, try using a TTY the next time you're in an airport, where they're federally mandated, both in the US and Canada. Go ahead :) Call the hotel to confirm your reservation, or your spouse to let them know you arrived safely, using a Relay Operator. I guarantee, your hands will sweat, your fingers will shake, and you'll be convinced you're about to reveal yourself as a complete ass.

If you're curious, here's a transcript of how a sample TTY call works. It's different than I imagined and kind of cool.

First, I pick up the phone handset and set it in the TTY cradle. Then, I dial the number for the Relay Operator (711) into the phone keypad. I can see by a flickering red light on the TTY that there's a signal getting to the TTY (a dial tone, then ringing). Then after a few seconds, this scrolls across my TTY screen:

Relay Operator: HELLO LL.COM RELAY SERVICE [This is the telecommunications company which provides our local relay service.] GA [this means "Go Ahead", or "it's your turn to type now".]

Me: GOOD MORNING OPERATOR CALLING FROM 506 555-2222 CALLING 506 555-3333 GA

RO: THANK YOU... DIALING... RINGING 1... 2... 3... 4... HELLO DR. SMITH'S OFFICE NORA SPEAKING GA (Now the Relay Op is typing to me what the person on the other end is saying.)

Me: GOOD MORNING NORA THIS IS RONNIE CALLING I WAS WONDERING IF I COULD MAKE AN APPT TO SEE DR SMITH THIS WEEK GA (Now the Relay Op identifies herself as a Relay Op and then verbally tells the person on the other end what I type, literally, in the first person.)

RO: YES CERTAINLY RONNIE WE HAVE AN OPENING ON FRIDAY AT 3 PM IS THAT GOOD FOR YOU? GA

Me: YES THAT'S GREAT NORA THANK YOU SO MUCH SEE YOU THEN GA

RO: OK SEE YOU THEN BYE SK [This means "Stop Keying", or, "I am ready to hang up/have hung up now".]

Me: THANK YOU OPERATOR SK

RO: YOU'RE WELCOME HAVE A GOOD DAY SK

Then I hang up the phone and press a button to turn the TTY off.

Neat, eh? The Relay Ops are so fast it's incredible. (And Lord, thank goodness I took typing and still have a speed of about 60 wpm!)

So, two little calls. Two simple little tasks completed by myself.

A good day.

ronnie

1 Comments:

Blogger Jared said...

You should check out T-mobile sidekick II. It will allow you to use relay services from the mobile device so you can make phone calls to hearing people from anywhere that has coverage!

1:41 PM  

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