Over the past few weeks I have watched how technology and its applications can impact the lives of bedridden patients in the most profound ways.
I have seen a hospital bed that reacts to patients’ vital signs so that there is no need to hook them up with cords to beeping, buzzing monitors. Heart rate…respiration – all measured by the bed itself…amazing and a blessing for many.
I have seen Amazon’s Echo used by a mostly paralyzed older person who joyfully was able to ask Alexa to play the music she so loved.
Facetime and Instagram and Messenger and Dubsmash all play key roles as loved ones can be seen and heard and real life can be shared and experienced even from afar.
The experience was with my Mother and as she began hospice care, the technology was a blessing. But as she progressed in her illness, the apps and devices became less and less useful and simple human interaction became more and more powerful.
I share this – not because we don’t know it, but because it’s so easy to forget. In a world where social and sharing are automatically thought of as digital…where liking has no emotional component and where experiences are often assumed to be digital – I worry that we are losing our ability to affect life as we should.
Technology made my Mother’s last days easier. But it was the simple interactions with people that made it special…people who sang to her, who read to her, who held her hand or just told her that she looked beautiful that day.
My Mom passed away, last week, an 85-year-old digitally savvy woman who loved her computer and everything and used them like a native…but I am most grateful that it all enhanced her humanity and therein lies the lesson for me…
I share the following quote because it troubled me, as I have seen its possible truth…listen:
“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”
Yet I have also seen the antidote. And I thank everyone who helped our Mom through her last days and who showed me that humanity still trumps and no app will ever replace that held hand and kind word.
So in memory of my Mother – she still has a LinkedIn account…imagine – use all the technology you can…but share a kind word when you can as well.
What do you think?