March 13th, 2007


The office is not the world

I was all set to have a nice little rant, entitled Can they make it any harder to get anything done in this town?!?! when I got a swift kick of perspective to the head. The rant was going to be about the utter pain in the ass that our God-forsaken outsourced procurement system is. It has this wonderful little feature where the order of line-items on a purchase order in the procurement system (which is the order they get imported into our financial system) is not the order in which said same procurement system prints them on the actual purchase order. I work from the printed PO, as do all of the vendors. Our financial people work from what the system tells them. Which, means that billing gets royally screwed up and requires many hours of manual intervention to fix.

Honest, I was all set to go on a tear. Then I happened to be standing in Mark-my-unindicted-co-conspirator's cube when one of his crew came over with a question. The question had do to with handling some data elements in the Fetal Death system he's working on for the Vital Records Department. He had in his hand a fetal death certificate, which I could not help but look at. It was from two weeks ago.

In that terse way of all state forms, it spelled out the death of an infant boy during delivery --"probable asphyxia due to accident with cord" -- on the 27th. It listed all of the particulars of the mother and father, the mortal stats of the fetus, that an autopsy had been performed, and then progressed down through the method of disposition (burial), collecting signatures along the way from the Doctor who pronounced the child dead to the Funeral Director who oversaw his burial, to Hartford's Town and City Clerk who recorded the certificate in his ledger.

I have dug graves for infants. I have helped lower the tiny concrete box into the ground. I have seen the way the parents look -- like life itself has been ripped out of them. I have absolutely nothing to complain about.