Many columns back, I wrote that the two most significant inventions of my 58 years on earth are the Internet and the cell phone. Simply put, a vast majority of the world population owns both, or, at least, utilizes both. Why?
Well, where both were considered nonessential luxuries many years ago, they now are essential tools: Short of a “Rambo”-like survivalist in possession of the skill set to survive off the rugged outdoors—and the wildlife indigenous to the outdoors—cell phones and the Internet are necessary to conduct everyday business. Though I haven’t taken the time to check, I wager a person would have a difficult time landing a job at McDonald’s if he/she can’t provide a cell phone number at which he/she can be reached.
Still, many readers are familiar with my take on modern-day fixation with the “Lower 40,” which is the area below the beltline of the human anatomy. As I told the publisher and editor of a certain newspaper, it doesn’t matter on how high a rung you initiate the discussion, if the subject matter is human behavior, the conversation, these days, has a tendency to spiral downward and, ultimately, crash in the Lower 40.
To bolster this stance, just recall the sex scandal between President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. Other than astronaut Neil Armstrong stepping onto the moon, and the O.J. Simpson murder trial, I can’t recall an incident receiving as much attention and coverage as did the Clinton-Lewinsky tryst . . . you get the picture.
A couple weeks back, I entered a hospital to undergo some tests and procedures. Realizing I would be there several days, I packed a carry-bag with the bare essentials: toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, shaving cream, T shirts, shorts, and, yes, a few changes of underwear, a.k.a. “drawers.”
Upon being admitted, I changed into hospital pajamas. Later on in the day, I was taken from my room to another wing of the hospital to undergo a test. Once inside the testing room, the nurse matter-of-factly told me, “You’re gonna have to lose the drawers.”
“How come?” I asked.
“Because we need immediate access, in the event an unforeseen situation develops,” she replied.
So, with that, I . . . for lack of a better word . . . “lost” my drawers.
After divesting myself of the drawers, I attempted to hand my cell phone to the same nurse.
“What are you doing?”
“If I’m not allowed to keep on my drawers, surely to goodness, I’m not allowed to keep my cell phone?” I quizzically responded.
“Oh, no, quite the contrary,” she said. “In fact, we encourage the patients to keep their cell phones.”
I must admit that, over the course of the next few days, I could not get off my mind the drawers-cell phone incident. So, I made an attempt to rationalize it, and here’s what I came up with:
As the nurse said, it makes total sense that medical personnel have “immediate access” to certain areas of the human anatomy, in the event a medical procedure is necessary: the less clothing, the quicker the procedure, the more efficient the medical care.
However, a cell phone is a totally different matter! If personal cell phones were not allowed in modern-day hospitals, here’s the potential fallout:
*Corporate subordinates would physically punch out hospital security to gain access into ICUs/intensive care units and CCUs/critical care units to tell their CEO bosses that stocks had plummeted to zero!
*Still, those CEOs would be ripping IV’s from their arms, jumping out of beds, frantically staggering down hospital corridors, hospital gowns gaped open on the backside, then walking outside to hail down taxis to drive them to their offices to assess the damages!
Of course, there are less-dramatized scenarios of patients keeping cell phones, merely, to touch base with family and friends.
Modern-day hospitals: cell phones welcomed, no drawers allowed.