Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Importance of Connecting with Others

hospitalI have to share an extremely touching experience that happened last week involving technology.

My friend, B. is 87 years old and was put in Intensive Care at the hospital last week. He is on a ventilator and feeding tube and is pretty serious. His daughter, K. flew in from Curacao but his three sons were still in Holland. K. has a cell phone but the hospital won’t call it because it would be an international phone call. So, we went out and bought her a prepaid phone in my name. They won’t sell one to someone who doesn’t have a social security number (not sure I understand why). But that still doesn’t help K. communicate with her brothers in Holland.

Luckily we found out that the hospital has free wifi but K. did not bring her laptop when rushing to get to her father in another country. So, I brought my laptop to the hospital and she was able to email her brothers and get in touch that way. Since I was on Skype and so were her brothers, she was also able to talk to them easily.

When B. began bleeding internally, the doctors had to do surgery to try to stop the bleeding. We were able to get the brothers on Skype and let them say goodbye to their father. The surgical team waited patiently while B. heard his sons. What a touching moment and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house even though none of us understood them as they spoke Dutch.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was the ability to Skype in every hospital room? Patients could have a choice and instead of having TVs, there could be laptops with webcams. Then patients can watch shows they want to see online or Skype with family members around the world. Patients with family members who are unable to visit could visit through Skype. Maybe this would cut down on the germs that enter hospitals. Maybe patients wouldn’t be so depressed and could heal faster.

I am so thankful that we have technology like that available. I wonder if many of us realize the potential that technology has in our lives. Even though many refuse to learn how to use it, what if this was you and your family? Isn’t this a great example of why we shouldn’t be afraid of technology and its potential uses?

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

Original image: 'Lubbock Heart Hospital, Dec 16-17, 2005'
http://www.flickr.com/photos/35034360660@N01/76765412 by: Mark


Sioux said...

Pat--I think you need to send this post to all the hospitals in the country/world. It would be a marvelous option.

John Behan said...

Great story, exactly why technology is so important for people that live apart or are isolated in some way.
I used to teach computer basics to groups of senior citizens in rural Ireland. I think it was a great initiative by my local county rural development board and had a positive impact on their lives.

loonyhiker said...

@John I bet those senior citizens loved you! I think it was a great initiative too and helps people not be so isolated from the rest of the world.