I went almost one month without my computer. Needless to say, I thought my hair was going to fall out. Happily, it is still intact and it will be pampered today with a nice cut and the magic that removes gray hair. I felt cut off from the world as typing on my phone makes me want to move into a cave. Feeling primitive, I realized something astonishing. I was forced to rely more on phone or face-to-face conversations to share or receive information. I was no longer able to “shoot over” an email at 10:00pm so easily. I grumbled relentlessly and my family wanted to send me to exile island, thankfully they survived me. I had to plan my day better and dive deeper into my efficiency. Suddenly, my experiences were richer and meaningful.
I actually had to pick up the phone instead of trying to borrow my son’s laptop or typing on the phone. I could hear the happiness or frustrations in my friend’s voices. I would get excited with them! I could ask more questions and learn more about how they were feeling. What I normally would have planned via the computer, I met in person.
My son was diagnosed at age two with both life threatening food allergies and asthma. Side bar: I say life threatening since there are so many layers to allergies, I have discovered if I don’t say it, then people ask if it is serious or assume it is like hay fever and Zyrtec will fix a reaction.
Back to the magic and life sixteen years ago when the internet was extremely slow and I had discovered my food allergy and asthma education on how to live successfully with both diseases through face-to-face conversations. Although, I was overwhelmed, I never appreciated how golden those moments were. Not only did new friends help teach me about label reading, well before FALCPA was in place, they gave me their precious time, love and concern. Strangers reached out and changed me life by showing up at my front door with safe foods and a lesson on how to call a manufacturer. Strangers met me at coffee shops to share information from the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (now FARE).
I could see, touch and feel their successful living with both diseases and found comfort that with a little more homework, I would be on that glorious path too.
Even though we enjoy this incredible and amazing 24/7 access to food allergy and asthma friends nationwide and globally, the lesson for me is that I need to schedule time for human interaction. To call my internet friends up on the phone and ask how they are doing. To try to meet friends who live here in town versus watching their lives through Facebook. Don’t get me wrong, I adore the internet and appreciate how I lucky I am to connect, advocate and be part of a larger community. I have come to realize that I need to enjoy the freedom and access this virtual world brings me while relishing in the beauty of simple human contact.
I am still unhappy with HP, but am thankful for the reminder that nothing can replace the beauty of connecting and being with other humans. This is powerful stuff.
Lessons come in very interesting shapes and forms and I hope my next lesson is a tad bit less frustrating!