There are some really great things about the Internet and the amount of connection it offers. I have friends around the globe. I don’t know anyone on Antarctica, but who does?

Years ago, Sied hooked me up with a woman who runs a website. She was looking for writing based on a military topic. While I am not and never have been enlisted in the military, Dick was. I wrote a story about his field jacket.

Soon after, Sied (a co-writer at RGQ), said he was not feeling well and would have to stop writing. He suddenly died (not from the illness making him not feel well). Our mutual friend wrote to me with this sad news. The RGQ family was stunned.

Tim introduced me to MWC, a writers’ forum. Tim also wrote for RGQ and we played most evenings at MWC as well. Tim began to feel poorly and it took a while to come to a diagnosis. Tim also knew I was a nurse and wrote to me about that diagnosis.

His friends at RGQ and MWC all sat vigil and we all missed him terribly when he died. I had made it a point to befriend most of his family on Facebook and so was aware when our Tim was no longer with us.

I cried. I cried for the friends I never met but were a great part of my life. We had e-mailed with each other frequently. I spoke with both men on the phone. I can still hear Tim telling me how stupid I was for not being able to get Folding@Home working correctly. We finally did get it to work, but it wasn’t easy.

I have friends in England, Ireland, Holland, Austria, parts of Africa, scattered across Australia. They are all part of my life. They have all enriched my life. They have laughed with me and cried with me. They have offered their attention and given me sound advice. I can’t think of a better definition of what a friend is. However, if they were standing in front of me, I probably wouldn’t know it. I’ve never met them.

I have signed up for a variety of e-mail subscriptions. All content has to be written by someone. This is a good thing for writers. I appreciate the work it takes to put out a daily or not quite daily publication. I enjoy their labors each day as I read all the fun stuff in my inbox.

One of the things I am subscribed to is the Humor Letter from Dear Webby. The author includes jokes, a picture, tech help, and a doofus nincompoop who made the news by being stupid.

The mailing comes almost every day, but Dear Webby will sometimes get trapped in my spam folder and I have to hunt him down. He also travels and will sometimes end up in a place without connectivity. So missing the mail for a few days didn’t alarm me.

But after a few more days (and seeing his website hadn’t been updated either meaning spam filters weren’t the problem) I began to really worry. I remembered Sied and Tim and I worried some more.

How would I ever know if something happened? Not just to Dear Webby, but to all my friends scattered around the globe. How do we deal with this uncertainty?

I dealt with it by shooting off an e-mail and wishing Dear Webby the best and hoping he was vacationing somewhere remote without access. He wasn’t. He was “vacationing” in CCU after suffering a heart attack.

I finally learned that this week when he was given permission to use his laptop in the hospital.

Back when I worked ICU/CCU we were told to try to keep patients quiet and relaxed. They could watch the TV, including the news programs. But there is still some idea that the computer will alarm people. Dear Webby had to plead for special dispensation from the National Health Service of Canada or something for permission to have a computer hooked to the Internet.

I hope hospital administrators will soon realize that in our connected society, NOT having a computer is far more stressful than anything we can do WITH the computer.

I am happy Dear Webby is doing okay. But I am still worried how I will know that all my friends from around the world are also doing okay. There must be some solution, but I don’t know what it is.

 

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