Comcast Internet trouble and a patient (fictitious) labeled a drug seeker.

Posted in Thoughts and Reflections at 10:57 pm by admin

This afternoon my internet went out, I mean completely out. Since Comcast changed our IP address about two weeks ago, which happens from time to time, it’s been acting flaky.

While we were visiting Daniel’s parents, he told me, “Oh, we have a new IP address.” When we got home that Saturday evening, I experienced very slow web page loading intermittently. I checked the IP address and found it was listing us as Patterson, N.J., a far cry from Pennsylvania.

Last Thursday, the internet would go out for a moment, then come back on. I’d have to tell my browser to stop loading the page, then tell it to reload the web page, and then I could go on my merry way (That’s clicking on the browser – reload/stop loading – button). Thursday evening Daniel checked our internet connection signal strength and found it was down to -16 dB, that’s minus 16. Friday morning I called Comcast to report the problem and the man on the other end of the phone said he could identify no problems and that everything was operating “well within normal parameters”, but he did schedule a service call for tomorrow August 19.

Daniel and Comcast tell me that the IP address has no bearing on the connection, but I just don’t know. This comes from a technodult though. You can explain to me how the internet and computers work and why something isn’t causing a particular problem ’til you’re blue in the face, but if I am experiencing a problem with functionality, and I know it’s not me screwing up, and it’s not my computer, then THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG.

When I called Comcast this afternoon, I was eventually connected with a woman in the internet division. Over the the phone she told me she was going to try to do something with the modem. When she came back on the phone, she said there was no signal going from the pole to the house (she did try this three times), there was nothing more she could do, and we’d have to wait until the service call for tomorrow. An hour later the internet was back up.

Segue: It’s quite simple really, you have to keep looking. It’s not unlike a patient who comes to the ER with complaints of pain in the right lower abdominal quadrant. You examine the patient and observe a scar where the patient had an appendectomy three years ago. So you know “IT CAN’T BE THE APPENDIX”. Unconsciously you rule the appendix and anything associated with it, because IT doesn’t exist any more. You do all kinds of tests and find nothing. Weeks go by as the patient regularly returns with the same complaints. Eventually, no-one believes the patient even though they repeatedly complain of pain and require narcotics for pain control. After several months, the patient is labeled a “drug seeker” and begins to be denied medication. They turn to the street and purchase whatever they can get their hands on, supplementing this with alcohol to suppress the pain.

Two years later the patient is rushed to the ER in shock, no blood pressure, rapid heart rate, rigid abdomen, white blood cell count through the roof, and a fever of 105 degrees Fahrenheit. An emergency CT scan shows a massive peritonitis (abdominal infection), and they are rushed to the OR. During surgery, what does the surgeon find? She finds extensive abdominal scarring and adhesions; a massive abscess, which is drained; and an old sponge from five years ago that was left in the patients abdomen when they had their appendectomy. The surgeon makes an under the breath comment to the effect of “I can’t believe this patient survived five years of recurrent peritonitis and no-one picked it up.” The patient requires resection of segments of necrotic (dead) bowel from the peritonitis; a colostomy; and then repeat surgery a year later to reverse the colostomy. Over the course of the next twenty years the patient undergoes repeated exploratory laparotomies for lysis of recurrent adhesions due to the massive infection that started this chain of events and the healing process that takes place after each subsequent surgery (wherever you’re cut inside, things grow back together, and not necessarily where they should grow together). Perhaps in the year 2100 we’ll have nano probes (like on Star Trek) that will eliminate this.

So to segue back: This evening when Daniel came home, he told me the signal was now -20 dB. We’ll see what the Comcast technician finds tomorrow.


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