Last month I packed a couple of casual outfits, some clean underwear, and two Treos for a short trip - to the hospital. Its less than three miles away, but it might as well be across the galaxy.
I landed in the heart hospital with a back injury from a fall after a scary blackout. The medical trade called it a syncope and blamed my heart. They took it very seriously, brandishing words like pacemaker, virtually ignoring my other injuries, and barraging me with a bunch of high-tech toys. For almost a week, I hung out in bed wired up to their network of monitors, bored out of my mind.
To while away the hours, I brought along paper and electronic books, plus a well practiced channel surfing finger for the TV remote. I also packed my Treos, because I figured to entertain myself and others by browsing the internet, checking the weather, calling friends and clients, and otherwise enjoying a mini vacation.
A bar-free zone
Even with electronic devices lining the walls, the hospital didnt prohibit cell phone use. They didnt need to. Deep in the maze of the huge buildings fourth floor, my phones registered not even a hint of a useful signal. Nothing. Were talking zero bars, both carriers SunCom for my 650 and Sprint for my 700p.
My friends who visited reported that their Motos got one feeble bar on Cingular and SunCom near the window, from which they could watch the excitement at the emergency departments busy heliport. But ten feet into the room, nothing. The fact that the flitting helicopters made no sound might indicate why. The place was tight as a tomb. Okay, bad choice of words, but you get the idea.
Besides making phone calls, I looked forward to using the Treo in many ways, entertainment topping the list. Id finally be able to surfeit my addiction to Bejeweled 2, repopulate its high score table with Js, and hone my Sudoku skills. I failed to factor in one small problem: I was too sick.
The Treos stayed ready and able my friends rotated them onto the chargers in my apartment for me but I felt too bad to take advantage of them. Something to do with lower back pain. If youve ever had it, you understand. If not, I sincerely hope you never do.
Aside from entertainment, however, there are things I could have done with the Treos that I didnt do, and wish I did. The nurses came around frequently to check blood pressure and such, dutifully announcing the results as though I, or they, had accomplished something. I wish Id kept track of those figures in a Treo memo, or a Documents to Go spreadsheet. Easy to do. But I hurt too badly.
The physicians, veritable gaggles of them, came by and introduced themselves - heart guys, endocrine specialists, general medicos and everything else, the whole gamut. Several of them had names I could never remember, much less spell, and I wish Id been able to record those in the Treo. For one thing, Id like to thank them, now that Im sprung from the place, my heart cleared of any wrongdoing, and back in the real (as it were) world. But I was too ill.
Work, too. I couldve used my Palm Wireless Infrared Keyboard to do some writing, like polish my novel or work on articles for TreoCentral. I could have dashed off some emails touching base with clients - and I needed to do so - as well as take care of all kinds of other textual tasks. I didnt.
In the middle of the night, I heard the distinctive sound of a Treo ringing. I knew it wasnt mine, cause I have custom ringtones on them. Then I heard the grumping. Someone visiting the nurses station from elsewhere in the hospital couldnt take the call. There was no signal. I smirked, but kept quiet.
For the whole trip, I used my Treos far less than I hoped or wanted to, except to look up a few contacts that I called on the wired room phone. I thought up many ways I could put them to use, but opted for none of the above. I actually felt guilty about not getting any non-phone benefit out of them. The Bejeweled genie will be mad at me, for sure.
Its taken me three weeks to recover enough to properly photograph the Yo bear, who kept me company in the hospital and brought a smile to the nurses faces. I credit Yo, a gift from Annie and Harv, with speeding my recovery. Thanks, yall!
So, take your Treo with you to the hospital, by all means, if you have to go. Better yet, stay healthy.
(Editor's note: after reading this cautionary tale, if you'd like to send
Jay your thoughts or prayers, just click on his name at the top of this
article. He's been a close friend of mine for over twenty years and I'm sure
your best wishes would mean a lot to him. - Harv Laser, Managing Editor,
(You can also post a get-well-soon in our forum.)