I have a turbulent relationship with my cell phone.
Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy my downloaded music, my photos, and a variety of apps. I love texting my friends and family. Thankfully, my phone contacts are literally at my fingertips – not only is it convenient, but my post-chemo-besotted brain wouldn’t be able to remember all these contacts’ numbers.
My cell phone has also locked me into a prison of sorts. Numbers that leave haunting reminders. Numbers I never wanted there in the first place but am happy to have now.
I cannot bring myself to delete my deceased friends as contacts. Maybe I will someday, but their phone numbers comfort me and connect me emotionally to these treasured individuals.
I’m really too young to know so many deceased people.
Then again, I was “too young” for breast cancer.
I could never have imagined so many doctors’ numbers topping my “favorites” list. I’m talking an entire cadre of doctors – from primary care physician to oncologist. All my doctors’ numbers are plugged into my trusty device in alphabetic order by doctor last name. I don’t use the words Doctor or Dr. before their names because there are simply too many.
So when that panic button goes off – and it does go off rather more regularly than I’d like – or I have a pressing question, I want to know immediately which doctor’s name to press: Smith, Jones, Doe, and so on.
When I have medical questions, I’m entitled to a phone call or two…or three…or a couple million.
And my oncologist has had his share of calls over the years. Poor guy.
My cancer diagnosis was delivered by phone. So was the news that I had osteopenia. So was the news that something abnormal was seen on an MRI. And then the good news that this abnormal something was just scar tissue from the multiple lumpectomies I had.
I need my doctors nearby, not just for convenience. They are my security blankets. I need to know that when something seemingly abnormal shows up on a scan that my doctors have my back.
That time my oncologist talked me off the ledge, as he has done so many times before.
My phone has been the device through which doctors reassured me, scared me, and buoyed me up.
This winter I had pleurisy, and I called my primary care physician ad nauseum to get pain medication.
If you haven’t had pleurisy, I can tell you one thing: it’s a bitch.
And I was not about to be the “noble hero” who would just bear the misery. (Noble hero narratives don’t sit well with me.)
So as soon as I got home from the emergency room, I called my PCP and got my pain medication.
And some days later I called her with the punch of her contact name to tell her I was still in agony and needed a refill.
My smart phone is not all fun and games – it is designed for the serious business of staying healthy. I’ve made an important choice to connect with doctors for the sake of my physical and emotional health.
And to connect with fellow blogger sisters, which means the world to me.
Come to think of it, my cell has turned out to be my lifeline. And I’m holding onto it tightly.
Have you ever gotten bad or good medical news by phone? Do you have a smart phone and, if so, what do you primarily use it for?
Tags: calling doctors, cell phones and doctors