Freshly Squeezed OpEd: Emergency Kit

Feb 3, 2014 | OpEd | 0 comments

Due to recent events that would make for a riveting feature film (the part of Frank Petrie will be played by Jack Black), I spent an inordinate amount of 2013 in hospital and rehab. But I learned that I could still carry on socially and professionally with a bit of advanced planning. I know the topic is a tad ghoulish but you’ll be glad should you ever find yourself in this situation.
FIRST: What Do You Hope To Do?
Figure out what goals you wish to accomplish. Do you want to keep friends and colleagues apprised of you situation? Would you rather just carry on with your social life without missing a beat? Or would you simply like to watch TV shows, movies or podcasts? Read? Maybe (GULP!) work?
Whatever your pleasure is, it will dictate which piece(s) of hardware best to pack. Also, whatever files you want to work if will also guide your choices.
iPhone  – Text messaging, surfing and mail can be handled easily. Just make sure that your data and/or texting plans cover your needs. (Although, I have dictated a couple of this year’s articles directly into the iPhone and was able to gather a bunch of graphics, as needed, for inclusion!)
iPad  – Gaming, TV/movie/podcast viewing and all reading. The screen real estate (Air or Mini) is perfect for viewing and much more pleasurable for reading, be it a book or any of your news apps (including video reports).
MacBook  – If you need to do any heavy lifting, a Air fits the bill perfectly. (I was pleasantly surprised how much heavy lifting I could accomplish from a hospital bed.)
SECOND: What Accessories Do You Need To Pull This Off Successfully?
Power Charger – Job One is locating power! Outlets are few and far between in the rooms. And, seemingly by-law, ALWAYS purposely out of reach! Therefore, your first and foremost accessory is a power charger, without question. A friend of mine, who travels extensively, turned me onto a series of incredibly powerful, reasonably priced chargers. I chose the New Trent iCarrier <> on Amazon. I was able to charge my iPhone 5C approximately five times from a single charge, which is brilliant as you don’t want to bother your nurses or CNAs (Certified Nursing Assistants) with constantly plugging and unplugging your device(s).
All that you require is the attending plug/unplug your charger once every several days. I reduced my reliance on the staff a tad further by having visiting friends, family members and myself if possible, plug the charger into the outlet mid-afternoon. Let it charge all afternoon and evening, then have the CNA unplug it before bedtime. Keeps me juiced and them happy and out of their hair!
Connection Needs – Do you need a thirty-pin or Lightning connector? Do you need an AC adapter for the charger or any of your device(s)? Plus, if your hospital doesn’t have Wi-Fi, you’ll need the necessary knowledge to turn your iPhone into a HotSpot.
EarPods  – And in the likely event that you are sharing a room, best bring along your EarPods. If not only for the privacy/good neighbor policy, then for the better quality of sound alone.
My Experience
After watching reruns of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ for the third time, I kicked on Hulu PLUS and began watching the TV shows that I had missed during my stay. And, my beloved podcasts (BTW, have you ever caught ScreenCastsOnline? Ripping!). And I wrote this article, as well, with my 11″ MacBook Air.
I followed my audio podcasts, BBC News and wrote the article for an earlier SCO Monthly on my iPhone 5C. I’ve tweeted, texted and Skyped. I sent links to app updates to my mail account for when I returned home. Kept in touch with family and friends. Researched medications, symptoms and treatments.
Sadly, there was no iPad in this equation. Bad timing, I fear. I sold my iPad 3 at the end of October to generate more funds for an iPad Mini Retina purchase in late November. But my body was sent to hospital, even though my heart was in line at the Apple Store. But I would have been extremely happy camper!
,,, one last thing.
As a final note, I know that many of you already have a travel kit assembled and are thinking, “I’ll just use that as my hospital goto.” I suggest that you prune it down even further. For even though they lob off bits in hospital, things such as electronics tend to grow legs.
Go figure.
©2014 Frank Petrie


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