Phone Usage Opens New Doors in Recovery

June 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Rehab and Recovery

Jess and I were among the last people to join the cell phone revolution. We always figured that we could leave the phone at home and just trust that things would work out the way we had planned them. We took our first plunge with prepaid phones and eventually graduated to regular phones with minimal function. Only recently did we graduate to phones with a keypad and camera. The phone became something more than way to talk to people. It became a way to share thoughts and memories instantly.

The purpose of upgrading to smartphones was to be able to take and share pictures of our new baby, because everybody knows that a regular camera just isn’t cool enough for this task. About two weeks prior to the due date we went to the wireless store. I wasn’t interested in learning about new phone functions, so I argued for keeping our low-functioning flip phones. Jessica wanted a more vibrant experience, and she sought out smartphones that would take and share great pics of our new little bundle of joy. As so often happens in a marriage, the wife was right and got her way.

As it turned out, her phone never did take any pictures. Her facebook friends would have to wait, for trauma at delivery sent her into a five week coma. Baby pictures were eventually taken and sent out, but all thoughts were now on mom and her physical difficulties. Everyone else got to see baby pictures long before she even got to see her own baby.

Recovery has gone well, and Jess has gotten to the point where she can operate a cell phone. Although her usage falls far short of complete proficiency, the phone still provides tremendous benefits. The ability to place calls secures an added measure of freedom. Being able to sit on the couch and reach out to family and friends is empowering. While her right hand isn’t ready to push buttons, it can hold the phone and allow the left hand to do the dirty work. Instead of giving in to hours of boredom, the phone is a lifeline to new interactions with old friends.

One of the worst characteristics of disability is the feeling of helplessness. A caretaker may be needed to help a stroke victim or TBI victim with even simple tasks. The light that represents personal freedom is often dim. The world of disability can become a cold, dark place. Once this happens, life is transformed into indifference.

The ability to make calls freely is a game-changer in the fight to lead a positive life. It opens doors to the outside world and world is a comforting place when one feels in control. Learning how to operate the phone can be quite difficult, but the payoff arrives as increased confidence and motivation.

The benefits of learning to use a phone are not limited to the immediate result of talking. This is an activity that a patient may be able to manage all by themselves. It may be one of the few times they feel like they’re truly in control of their day. Precious productive time is achieved without directives or reminders. The patient feels powerful, capable, and free. Confidence spurs the patient on to pursue more activity.

A patient in recovery needs to be constantly trying new things. The #1 challenge of a caretaker is providing an environment that is consistently productive. Once that productivity becomes automated, life improves immensely. Activities that can be completed without giving advice or help are of maximum benefit.

The cell phone promotes active living. It promotes initiative and provides instant gratification. The unseen benefits of cell phone use are even better than the obvious ones. The ability to get a second opinion and to let out frustration is healthy for both patient and caretaker. The person on the other end can encourage from afar and assist without moving at all.

Major recovery is a long and repetitive process. Moments of empowerment are the moments that patients and caretakers live for. These are the moments that spur recovery to greater heights. Phone usage is one of the easiest ways to empower a patient. It is perhaps the best way for them to feel they’re maintaining their freedom. When deciding on worthwhile activities to pursue learning, operating the phone is definitely one of the best!


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