Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Code for the Day: Lack of Awareness (R41.9)

Some day I intend to write a book about airline travel.  Not the usual fun and informative here-are-my-best-tips-and-tricks type of book, but a real, this-is-what-it's-really-like-and-can-you-believe-people type of book.  You see, for an avid people watcher, airports are the mother lode.  And what strikes me most about airline travel is how completely clueless people can be when they're using airplanes to get from point A to point B.

If you've traveled a lot, you've seen it too.  The woman with 5 bags (how did she get them all through security?!) who can't manage them all, so she stops in the middle of a busy airport concourse to reorganize herself but fails to see the traffic accident she caused behind her.  The young, able bodied person who takes a seat on the rental car shuttle while a elderly woman with obvious difficulty balancing stands and hangs onto the roof strap for dear life.  The person in the middle seat sitting next to you on the plane, who decided taking the armrest wasn't enough and now has his elbow in your side.  Or how about the guy who took my carry-on and walked off the plane and was at the parking garage before he realized he had the wrong bag? 

I just finished a couple months of more travel than I've done for quite some time.  I used to travel every week and I think you become immune to it after awhile, but after my brief return to airline flight, upon my arrival home, I happily posted on Facebook that I was glad to be done with my weekly dose of invasion of personal space (AKA airline travel). 

And while I don't think people are purposefully annoying, I do think it boils down to one thing: lack of awareness.  I've talked before about addiction to smart phones, but seriously - people are so dialed in that they've lost touch with reality.  It reminds me of the movie WALL-E, where the humans have left earth and spent countless years floating around on hovercraft and talking to their friends on little computer screens. And of course, the friends they are talking to are sitting right next to them!  One day the little robot WALL-E knocks a couple of them out of their little machines and they not only discover each other, but that the spaceship has a pool!

I know I am guilty of being ultra-plugged in, so I try to make an extra effort to unplug when I'm in a busy airport.  Unless of course, I am waiting at my gate and need something to pass the time.  The payoff is immense - watching other people can be quite entertaining!  One of my favorite people watching stories happened at baggage claim.  It was a late Monday evening and I was at an airport that I traveled to weekly and I knew it took about 30 minutes for bags to start arriving.  I also knew that the airport was terrible about marking which carousel would have your flight's bags.  On this Monday evening, I sat on the edge of an empty baggage carousel and watched the madness unfold.  It wasn't long before my attention locked on a short, balding, middle-aged man who bore a striking resemblance to the lead character from that cartoon, The Critic.  He bounced around from carousel to carousel looking for his bag.  When he saw one that was red (this appeared to be his only criteria - not size or other appearance), he pulled it off, looked at the tag, and heaved the suitcase back on the carousel with a heavy sigh.  I was momentarily put off when he grabbed my bag, but as I watched him struggle with my huge bag, which was more than half his height (and full of code books!), I suppressed a giggle.  Karma!

So this week as I am now happily grounded and working on some education material, I ran across this little gem of a code.  It's not the code description that captured my interest, but the index entry.  I found the code for the day under the main term "Lack of" and the subterm "awareness"
  • R41.9, Unspecified symptoms and signs involving cognitive functions and awareness
 And just for good measure, let's add this one too:
  • Y92.520, Airport as the place of occurrence of the external cause
If you're heading to the airport any time soon, happy aware travels!