Step Away from the Cell Phone

It happened again three times in clinic today.  In the middle of a patient visit, a parent picked up their cell phone.  To answer a call, to text a friend, to read their email.  The trend of being always connected and available has reached the exam room.  When this first started happening I was sort of incredulous.  I mean, I’m there, talking to you about your child’s health, and you’re taking a call? 

Then something interesting happened. I got a smart phone, and I started to get more connected myself.  I downloaded a few apps.  And, it was great.  I could read my email or the newspaper anytime.  I could use the phone during a clinic visit to check a drug dose or potential side effect.  Eventually, and here’s the confession part, I found myself start to be sort of drawn to the phone.  I pull it out while waiting in line at the post office.  I take it out of my pocket at work to use the calculator and suddenly find that my email is open and I am reading it.  This seems to happen as if all on its own. I have to close it, remember what I was doing, and move on.  I even sometimes have to consciously stop myself from grabbing the phone while driving.

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