Thursday, March 13, 2008

More Relay Frustration - Claude, Charlie, and a Baked Lime

I know the relay system is a great wonder for those who were cut off from phone communication for many years but I don't know if I will ever get used to it. Making calls as a late deafened person is totally frustrating as it is no longer convenient.

Yesterday I called my sister and got the answering machine which always hangs up unless I have told the operator I would like to leave a message BEFORE making the call. I know what the answering machine says as I know who they are. So I was sort of surprised when the operator typed "This is DJ, Michelle, and CLAUDE." LOL Who is the heck is this Claude?

Of course there is no Claude and I know that but if I was somebody unaware I would think a Claude really exists. Their Boston Terrier's name is "Spud" so their message on the machine is "You have reached DJ, Michelle, and SPUD." Somehow the operator interpreted the sound of the name Spud as the name Claude. Do Spud and Claude even rhyme or sound alike to you?

Then later I called Harley and the operator types to me "This is Charlie." LOL I get that interpretation quite often but at least those two names totally sound nearly the same. Often operators will type "BJ" for "DJ". I have not told my sister that yet.

So then we have today. I try to call my sister and it literally takes dialing, waiting, and hanging up 6 times before getting a connection! I thought there was something wrong with the phone so I checked all the wires and even pulled out my computer to make sure the phone was plugged in which it was. I tried it again and finally got through only to have the operator get the number wrong! So we try it again! Then within the process of the conversation the operator types to me that my sister inquired if I got an email from the "Baked Lime". LOL Do people even bake limes? Fortunately she kept talking and I was able to figure out from the rest of the conversation what she was referring about - our "Big Climb" and not a dang "baked lime".

I told her about it and then she unnecessarily apologized because she thought it would be easier for the person to type "Big Climb" instead saying the "Leukemia and Lymphoma Society" to which the operator disastrously massacred typing the "Lukemia and Lyphious Society". (rolling eyes and shaking head) There were more errors left for me to decipher that I cannot even remember now.

This happens a lot! Sometimes there will even be abbreviations used which I have to quickly try to guess as there is only a tiny screen where I can view 2 short lines of text at a time. If I cannot problem solve what was meant in time the conversation passes me by and the text disappears and is replaced with new words.

Now there is a method of reporting complaints and is encouraged. However, like the disappearing text, the operator's ID number disappears also once the call has been made unless you have forked out $180 for a printer that will print all your conversations on a skinny roll of receipt paper. If you don't have a printer, you would have to remember to quickly jot down each operator number EVERYTIME you made a call so you have their ID number in case they screw up.

I understand that listening to and typing conversations would not be an easy job and that errors here and there are inevitable. Further, it may be difficult to understand some answering machines or people's voices if static is on the line. This communication is better than no method of making a call at all. Yet, going from hearing where making calls is a simple process one takes for granted to the complication of depending on a third party for communication is just plain frustrating and not an easy change to have to accept.


Anonymous said...

Have you tried Cap-Tel or IP-relay? There are several IP (internet protocol) relay providers, and options to customize, and having the convo displayed on your computer monitor means you can see more and scroll or save convos. (You just need internet access to use that, and a couple people have posted IP CapTel options from Hamilton and Sprint, that sound nifty, too!) I know Cap-Tel has really expanded in availability, and again, you can scroll back on the phone screen to get the Call Assitant's number. I suspect the pay rate is pretty low, for a pretty demanding job, but understand your frustrations. If you'd like another TTY for your sis, my folks' is sitting in the closet. They used it when I was an undergrad, and ND provided a TDD for me. Just let me know, and I can ship it. But the newer options are pretty cool, I think!

Hugs and don't forget to put de lime in the coconut,

Kathy said...

Hey Beck!!! My friend Gwen uses the Sorenson VP (Video phone). As far as I know they give them out for free to deaf/HOH people & their family as well. I know Gwen's family members each have one & the Sorenson folks sent a guy to each one of their homes & set it all up.

Kathy =)

Rebecca said...

Well here is the deal-
I applied for a captel phone through the state and about a couple months ago they wrote me a letter telling me that I was turned down. Yet they did say they would be happy to accept $450 from me to buy one. Ha! Yeah right! My text phone did not even cost that much!

I do use sprint internet relay but the unfortunate thing is that it requires me to type which as you know is not easy for many of us NF2ers to do and is slow. Then the person on the other end has to wait for the operator to voice what I had typed as internet relay does not allow you to speak back. Sigh (rolling eyes)

I don't use TTY for exactly the same reason - the option is to type and I am not a fast typist. I have a VCO (voice carry over) phone.

Thanks for the offer though.

What I find most efficient and use like a phone is just yahoo instant messenger. That way we are typing back and forth at any speed and there is no delay of responses or a third party. Yet the person you want to contact has to be signed in and at the computer.

Some people still don't "get it" and don't leave a message for me of what they want for when I return to the computer. Likewise, if I respond back when the person is not at the computer, some people have not made the effort to setup receiving my messages when they return. Then if I want to contact someone immediately or contact a business I obviously cannot message them or get an instant answer.

Rebecca said...

Hi Kathy!

Yes. I have a video phone. How a video phone works is that you use fluent sign language through an interpreter on your tv screen instead of reading text on a captel phone, vco phone, or tty.

So if I wanted to call and make a doctor appointment, I would have to understand an ASL interpreter and also be able to sign back instead of speaking or typing.

While I have had 8 sign language classes, I am not ASL fluent by any means. The interpreters sign very fast and I find it hard to understand both at the speed and in a linear dimension (not 3 dimension). While I do use sign language (PIDGIN) to communicate with my husband, sister, and some friends fast sign language is hard for me to mentally process and also receptively comprehend with my visual disturbances (oscillopsia and nystagmus). To read text and sign my head must be absolutely still. While driving it is difficult to read road signs now as my vision bounces too much to make out the words until I am right upon a sign with large letters.

Rebecca said...

Thanks Jamie and Kathy!

As we can see, phone communication is just not simple and uncomplicated anymore. That was my point and one of the gripes of being late deafened. Gone are the days forever of having that kind of freedom to pick up a phone anywhere, at anytime, to call anyone quickly and conveniently.

It is funny because I used the phone A LOT when I was hearing person. As a matter of fact I got teased by my coworkers as I had the highest cellphone bill when I was working as a supervisor for the state. LOL Now I would have the lowest or a non-existant one (with my text cellphone I rarely send text messages as the buttons are so small and it is time consuming to compose).

There is a new web captel service that I just found out about this week. However, when I tried to register online yesterday my dang computer broke and I don't have the website. I will have to look it up and try again.

If I can speak, read the conversation on a computer monitor and makes calls easily, well that would just be wonderful!

Rebecca said...

Let's all just have a big key lime pie! ;+)