Monday, December 15, 2008

Dad's phone

Posted by Terry McNichols

One of the great difficulties at this stage of my life journey is to watch my parents age. My siblings and I were concerned about my parents making a very long drive without a cell phone. So we banded together and hurried to make sure they had one before their trip. My father called me crestfallen to tell me that as he was packing up his car, he dropped the phone on the pavement and now it wouldn't work. I too was disappointed and discouraged as it was impossible to troubleshoot the problem by long distance.

I received the phone in the mail a few days later, expecting to return it to my local phone store. I opened the package and turned on the phone and voila, it worked just fine. I decided a miracle for which I had prayed had indeed come to pass. The truth of the matter is much more down to earth, however. My dad dropped the phone on the pavement and the screen went blank. He reinstalled the battery, and was devastated that it didn’t work. When I called him tonight to tell him that it was now working, I told him I thought the problem was that the button you use to turn the phone on needs to be held down a very long time before the phone comes on. His response? “I didn’t even try to turn it on. I thought it was always on.” I didn’t know if he’d feel better or worse, knowing the only thing wrong with the phone was that no one tried to turn it on.

In my dad’s defense, the phone system isn’t intuitive, with a red button for turning on and a green button for sending calls. I had told him to leave the phone on all the time. He had turned it on in the very beginning, but had forgotten. So today I sent the phone back to him and we’ll try again.

It is not only the elderly who have trouble with their cell phones. Many of us are technologically challenged. It is embarrassing to have the younger generation so far ahead of us in such matters. But my challenge to myself is to keep up for as long as possible!
(photos by JonJon2k8 and wka, shared via Flickr)

Addendum: My father is now very adept at using his cell phone. He sits on the patio at his Arizona condo and calls his children when he is lonely or bored. The cell phone that at first proved so challenging, is now a major lifeline, connecting him in a way that wasn't possible years earlier.


Julie said...

I love this blog. I can so totally relate - we've been debating getting my Mom a jitterbug phone, but it may cause her too much stress!!! I look forward to your posts...Keep up the good work! It's appreciated!
Blessings, and Merry Christmas!

Terry McNichols said...

Julie: I think the jitterbug phone option would be my choice if I were doing this again. But I was able to get may parents on our phone plan for $9.99/month, plus all the taxes, of course, and it has been my father's lifeline. We have more than enough minutes to share between us. There are 5 of us so he calls us all regularly. I have talked to him more in the last couple of years than ever before. I say go for it!

Trudy said...

Oh, sis, this is a special. You are so right it is his life line now. I can remember as Dad's mother, our Grandma, was getting older she found all these new fangled contraptions so challenging. I do not look forward to getting older.