Posts Tagged ‘cell phone’

The Life-Giving Phone Call

Monday, February 19th, 2018


I rushed to the emergency room because my friend from Honduras was doubled over in excruciating pain. She needed someone to translate her Spanish into English. Wheeled into a CAT scan and a sonogram, my friend discovered she had a 14-centimeter mass on her uterus, a cyst in her ovary, and the organs in her abdomen were swollen. At that point they didn’t know that her appendix was full of pus and was about to burst.

Meanwhile one specialist after another came in and out of the room, asking questions. I found out that in Honduras, years ago, her last C-section had gone bad. It had opened up, and her intestines had come out of her body. She held her intestines in with her bare hand for 6 hours before she could get an operation to put them back in and sew her up.

After translating for 10 hours with no food, I was exhausted. Another friend from my Hispanic church called and asked if I needed anything. Food, I said. Within a short time, I was eating delicious Cuban food as far away from my friend as possible, since she was not allowed to eat or drink in case she needed emergency surgery.

When I looked into my friend’s anguished face, all I wanted was to take that pain into my own self to alleviate her. I realized this is what Jesus does for us. He loves us selflessly and takes all our anguish into Himself. I saw the cross in a new light, and I felt that Jesus was shining out of my face.

The lab assistant noticed. She said I had a gift, and that she had noticed my selflessness a year ago as I was taking care of another Hispanic woman who was alone at the hospital, in an emergency.

When she pierced my friend’s arm with a needle, I petted my friend’s head and told her that it was all for the best because now she was going to get the surgery that she had needed for years. “Hold on,” I said. “God is providing for you to be healed. Not many hours from now, you will be healthier than you’ve been for years.” Her eyes filled with hope and joy in the middle of her moaning pain.

I called home and told my son to make spaghetti for dinner. I texted my husband that dinner would be ready when he got home, but that I was at the hospital with my friend.

Later that evening, I answered my cell phone; it was my husband. We had been in some recent arguments, and depleted as I was, I braced myself. I didn’t want to be told that I had to go home and abandon my friend who had no way to communicate with the doctors and surgeons. I asked questions of the doctors that my moaning, almost unconscious friend wouldn’t have thought of asking, and I knew enough of her story to be able to add vital information that was needed for making the decision to go ahead with the surgery.

I was pleasantly surprised that the phone call was life-giving.

My husband asked if I wanted him to bring me some food. I told him I had just eaten, but it was kind of him to think of me. I wasn’t sure how much longer I would be at the hospital, because my friend was going to be transported to another hospital for the night, to have surgery the next day.

I was so exhausted from making life and death decisions for my friend, answering social workers and countless other people what her situation was. On the phone with my husband, he gave me the strength I needed by cracking jokes and then staying on the line and not hanging up. I was transported back in time to when we were dating, and he cared and wanted to be with me.

I felt refreshed after the phone call. It was exactly what I needed.

After following her ambulance to the other hospital, I settled her in for the night and went home. The next day my friend got the surgery she needed, and she has been recuperating ever since. I’m exhausted from spending a full week at the hospital, and I’m glad things are sort of back to normal.

How Technology Rules Us: Part 1

Monday, September 12th, 2011

how-technology-rules-us-1I got my first cell phone this year. Yes, I have lived without a cell phone for four decades and survived. When I grew up in Guatemala, my family went nine years without any phone whatsoever, not even a land line. When a bullet came through my window nearly killing my sister, my mom had to wait until my dad got home from work to tell him.

When I was 18, I moved to the United States. Valuing money, I decided to not spend my money on frivolous things. I saw cell phones like a piece of American jewelry, a decadence that made people feel important. Instead, I saved up all my money, and when I had the chance to live in England, I used the thousands of dollars that I had saved to travel the world. Yes, you have power when you have money. Power to live the kind of life you want to live instead of being enslaved to an American credit card institution that jacks up your interest rates and gives you no way out. Then you’re stuck.

Perhaps I thrived more as a result of not having a cell phone. I was productive. I wasn’t constantly checking for text messages, and continuously surfing the net from my phone, checking Facebook or whatever, generally wasting time. During a lull in the day, I would pray for someone, or turn and have a conversation with a real person, sometimes resulting in the salvation of a soul.

A cell phone is not necessary for survival. We just think it is. People have survived for thousands of years without it. You don’t need one.

A philosophical problem I had with getting a cell phone was that everyone that I knew bowed down and worshiped their cell phone. No, not physically, but in their hearts, because they were ruled by it. For example, I would be out on a date with my husband, and nearly every single person in the restaurant was looking at a cell phone screen instead of spending time with the person they were with. Our virtual lives have taken over our real lives.

So how come I finally bought a cell phone, and not just any cell phone either, but a modern one with all the bells and whistles? Because my sisters were begging me to get one. They wanted to feel that they had access to me 24/7, and they just wanted to say “I love you” and not have a long phone conversation. And because my business coach said I needed it to check e-mails and post to Twitter and Facebook. And then we finally had the money. Plus, my husband wanted one badly. Well, he wanted both of us to have one, so that he could get a hold of me to tell me that he was in a traffic jam and would be an hour late, and to please take the kids to karate and guitar practice. So yes, the cell phone has immense practical value.

I knew that I had come full circle when I ended up texting people during a date with my husband, which is something I determined never to do. I had purposely left my cell phone at home, getting into the car. My husband slid into the driver’s seat, handing me my phone and saying, “You forgot this.” As soon as we were driving away, my phone chimed. I had gotten a text message, and only five people have my cell phone number: my husband, my best friend, and my three sisters. Knowing that the chime indicated a person that I loved who had a need, how could I not get it? Besides, it would only take a few seconds to answer…

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