Radio Silence

I visited my palliative patient today.

When I woke up this morning, I noticed my phone had 10% charge left. Neither husband nor I could locate the charger so I quickly texted my receptionist and told her I would be unreachable for the morning.  I didn’t feel comfortable not having access to the office, but I knew there were other physicians working today that would cover for me if anything urgent happened.  I also told husband that I would be unreachable, so as to not worry if he texted me for any reason and I didn’t respond.   Honestly, it felt a little weird not having a usable phone.

I had planned on taking local transit to see my patient and brought along a book I’ve been reading – “The Secret Language of Doctors” – but on the seat next to me was a local news magazine so I picked that up instead, flipped to the back and started working on the Sudoku puzzle.  After a few minutes and a few numbers figured out, I got frustrated and moved on to the crossword puzzle.

Now, I’ve never actually completed a crossword puzzle.  In.My.Life.  I get one or two clues and then I get stuck.  I never felt smart enough for those things.  As my colleague told me later, I probably just didn’t think “out of the box” enough.  Well to my huge surprise, I finished the crossword puzzle on my way back to work.  I cannot begin to express the utter astonishment and the feeling of total supreme awesomeness I felt for managing that feat.  I felt like a freakin’ superstar.

A crossword puzzle.

A useless iPhone.

Note to self: Let your iPhone die every once in a while.  You might surprise yourself.

Putting the mobile device down …

I used to be an avid reader.  I say “used to”, because, frankly, I think its been over a year since I actually finished a book.

Growing up, there were quite possibly hundreds of books in my parent’s house.  Books were everywhere.  I was always encouraged to read from a very young age. My father learned English by reading Louis L’Amour novels with a dictionary.  I seem to recall learning to read with a light-operated pen, much like the modern-day LeapFrog reading systems.   In grade school, we had to keep track of all the books we read each school year.  I still have reading logs from those days showing that I would read up to 100+ books in a school-year.

One of my favorite series was The Girls of Canby Hall. I think at one point I had all of the books.  I loved reading about the girls who lived in a boarding school.  I would often imagine what it’d be like to go to boarding school.  Now that I think about it, my dreams of having a group of girlfriends originated from reading this series.

As a teenager, I started reading a lot of my father’s books.  At the tender age of 14, I was introduced to the world of Sidney   Sheldon.  To this day, “If Tomorrow Comes” remains on of my all-time favorite novels and made-for-TV movies.  The movie is incredibly cheesy but what a fun ride!  I remember Sheldon’s novels always had strong female characters which resonated with me from a very young age.

In my later teens I started reading Tom Clancy.  I remember being fascinated with the world of espionage and if I’m not mistaken, the first novel my father suggested I read was “The Hunt for Red October”.  I must have read it at least two or three times before I really understood the book.  Of course, once the movie came out, the book made complete sense!

The last meaningful book I read was W. Somerset Maugham’s “Of Human Bondage“. I think what drew me to the novel was that the main character attended medical school, but it is so much more than just a man becoming a doctor.  It was a fascinating read and while I rarely read the classics, it reminded me of just how incredible these works of literature really are.  A couple of friends of mine are involved in a book club that plans on reading 100 of the best classic novels over the next 9 years.  It is quite a feat!  I was invited to join but declined for now.  Maybe once I get back into the swing of reading regularly, I will reconsider joining.

One might ask why, if I was such an avid reader, I stopped reading.  The answer is simple. Damn iPhone.

Seriously.  Since I got the iPhone, my nighttime reading has declined dramatically.  Instead, my nightly routine is to:

  • 1) check email
  • 2) check Twitter
  • 3) review Facebook
  • 4) browse Pinterest
  • 5) play Sudoku
  • 6) turn off light and fall asleep

The other night, husband told me he put down his iPhone at bedtime and opened up a book. Within two pages of reading, he’d fallen asleep.  I think it’s time to put the mobile device away at bedtime and open up a book.  So, yesterday, husband and I took the baby to the local bookstore while the older two kids were at school.  I found two books – the first, a fun read, Michael Crichton’s posthumously published “Micro“, and the second, an intelligent read, “Far from the Tree“, by Andrew Solomon.

Now it’s time to put the computer away and open up a book.