Why I Love My Kindle But Not an E-Book

I love my Kindle.  I do.

I appreciate that I was given this really generous gift by my family.  I love having the fun and educational “apps” that my children enjoy when we have long waiting times.  (Like today at the Pediatrician’s…..and then again at the Pharmacy.  Long waits.) One of my favorite features, that I was not aware of initially, is that I can email files and e-books downloaded on my computer to my Kindle and read them there.  Excellent.  I have purchased educational workbooks from websites and sent them to my Kindle, which is so much easier to use with my children than reading them on the computer.  I have even sent my own word documents to it for later use.

A luxury.  That’s for sure.

For a while after I first got the Kindle, I checked a website or two for the free book downloads of the day.  Mama and I enjoyed comparing notes and talking about our “finds.”  Then I realized I was cluttering my Kindle up with books that I might or might not read.  So I stopped.

But one thing I do love is being able to download the first chapter of a book free as a sample–to take the book out for a spin so to speak.  Download, check it out, then delete if I don’t care for it.  If I do, I usually put it on my wishlist.  But things were different when I downloaded the sample chapter of this one:

pic of kindle book

And I loved it.

It was the first book I could really get into since Mama died in February.  If you don’t love books, “get into” probably sounds a little odd, but if you do, you know what I mean.  I was turning e-page after e-page and it was really, really good.  Then I came to that dreaded message that told me I was at the end of my free sample, but I could purchase it for immediate download by clicking {here}.  After a brief pause and comparing prices (it was cheaper as a Kindle download), I clicked that magic box: “Buy It Now.”

It was not without guilt.  I felt guilty getting the book, and I sure felt guilty over that instant gratification that I was giving in to.  Getting something on a whim like that?  I wasn’t raised that way.  We were taught to think through things and sleep on it before we did just about anything.  So yeah, this was a little out of my comfort zone.  By the time I continued into the next chapter two minutes later, I had pretty much chastised myself sufficiently.  And moved on.  Ahem.

It was a brilliant read.  I loved it.  It was like old times, flying through the pages, trying to sneak time to read–if only for a few minutes, even reading under the covers after lights were out.  I loved this book.

Uh oh.

That’s when I realized what I’d done.

I bought a book.  On the Kindle.

That I couldn’t share.

I hate it when that happens.

One of my great joys in life is sharing a book with friends and family.  I love thinking of just who would love the book, and I offer it with the caveat that it is okay if they don’t like it.  I learned that a long time ago from one of my aunts.  She and her very young grandson were talking about a movie that he loved.  She said she really didn’t care for it, and he was shocked and confused.  She told him that it was okay for folks who loved each other to like different things.  I like that, and it’s true.  So I pass along books I love, but it’s okay if my friends and family don’t love it too.

But this one?  I knew of at least four family members who would LOVE it.  And a couple of friends.  But there it sits, locked up tight inside this electronic rectangle, never to be shared or sit on my shelf reminding me of the great story inside. Very, very sad.  How’s that instant gratification feelin’ now? *sigh*

pic of book

Today my Aunt returned this book, “Ghost on Black Mountain,” that I’d shared with her a very short time ago.  (She’s a quick reader, that one!) I was overjoyed to hear that she had loved it as much as I had.  It’s a haunting tale, no pun intended, and now I get to share with her my excitement over the author’s next book coming out in September. Shared joys are the absolute best.  I can’t wait, and we can share that book too.  (And I’ve already put this one in a pile to take to MessCat’s house tomorrow.  I think she will also love it.)

Maybe I’m just too old-fashioned for all of this.  I think I’ll go back to my old ways.  Download sample, read it, and if it’s good, check with our locally-owned bookstore and then on-line.  And wait.  There’s something to be said about the good in things you have to wait for.  As the old song goes, “Anticipation…..”

Hey, This Alarm is Beeping!

pic of stats screen

During the weeks of the HospitalStay my sister and I became number watchers.  We obsessed over heartrate and blood pressure and Mama’s temperature.  For some reason, somebody decided that the Metric system would be a good thing to use, so her temp always registered on the Celsius scale.  I finally looked up and found a converter app for my phone and, from then on, I would announce what her temp was on the Fahrenheit scale.  On a regular basis.

It got to the point that Dr. C, who was filling in for Mama’s surgeon, replied, when I asked what number he was looking for on the respiratory screen to indicate improvement, “I’m not going to tell you.  Because then you’ll be looking for that number all the time.  And there are other things to factor in.”  Yeah, it seems he had MY number.  He was right.  There were times I thought if I stared at the numbers hard enough, I could bring her blood pressure up or down, or that I could will her temperature to return to normal 1/10 of a point at a time.

And then there was the beeping.  Oh, that infernal beeping.  After a couple of days we learned the difference between the “hey, the medicine has almost run out over here” and the “heart rate is excessively high” or “O2 levels are dropping.”  For sanity’s sake, this was good knowledge to have.

We had really good nurses and techs for the most part, and they were so kind.  The respiratory therapists were great as well, and they were willing to share and answer questions.  I appreciate them so much.  But as is usually the case, there’s one in every bunch.  I particularly remember a late afternoon in the STINKU (sorry, STICU) when Mama’s O2 levels were dropping, the alarm was sounding, and I could actually hear sounds that were distressing.  I went to her door and stood, hoping someone would hear the beeping if I opened the door.  When that didn’t happen, I started staring people down.  Finally the two RT’s who were having a pleasant conversation with someone behind the desk looked up.  “Did you need something?”

(Hold up.  Okay.  Doesn’t that just make you mad?  Not “do you need something?” or “can I help you?” but DID–it just feels so condescending…..and unfortunately this is not the only time I was asked if I did need something.  Maybe it was in the delivery.  Okay, rant over.  Thank you.)

Yes, yes I did and I still DO need something.  I pointed out the incessant beeping, the numbers dropping, and the sound.  “Oh well she probably just needs suctioning.”  And yes, that helped tremendously.  But how long would Mama have gone without relief if I hadn’t been there to stare someone in?  So frustrating, especially since we were only allowed to be with her a few hours a day.

Another time during our stay with the CVICU, the IV alarm started going off.  The meds were low.  No one came in for a few minutes, and then our favorite nurse walked in. “Y’all I am so sorry.  I was in with my other patient with an emergency.  I apologize, I know this sound has got to be making you crazy.”  She went on to say that working there, you pretty much get used to the beeps.

I guess you do, as I heard them whenever I closed my eyes for days after we left the hospital for the last time.

I was thinking the other day about those beeps, those alarms.  I think we all get used to them.  Oh not that incessant chiming of the whirring machinery in the Intensive Care Units or Emergency Rooms.  But the beeps, the alerts that we should be hearing from one another.  Sometimes I think we get so busy, too busy, that we don’t take time to hear what others are saying.  Or feeling.  Oh sure, we ask folks how they are doing, and we usually get the obligatory “fine, and you?” but we don’t often go beyond that.

I just finished reading The Invisible Girls: A Memoir by Sarah Thebarge.  (Yes, you should read it, thank you for asking.)  A really good book.  And actually quite an impressive one, considering my lack of focus.  I haven’t been able to “sit through” a whole book in several months.

Until now.  In her memoir, Ms. Thebarge meets a Somalian family in a chance encounter and realizes that these girls and their mother seem to be invisible to all around.  Just as she herself felt invisible at times.

How often do we go about our days, focused on the to-do list or the activities du jour and fail to make eye contact, to hear what those around us are really saying?  How many “alarms” have we not responded to?  And how often is someone suffering quietly because we are not listening?  Or seeing?  I am sad when I realize that I am guilty of this.  All too often I don’t make time, take time–I am not interruptible enough in my comings and goings.

I had a conversation with someone the other day about what it all boils down to.  Relationships.  We want to matter to someone.  We want someone to care when our alarms are beeping, be it ever so quiet.  We want to be known and treasured.  Not much to ask, huh?

Here’s link to a shorter version than what I shared before of Hugh Hollowell of Love Wins Ministry sharing what that kind of relationship looks like:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=hddnX_t5lRs

There are folks all around us whose alarms are quietly beeping, who are in need of attention or some love or just someone to sit with them where they are.  They are looking for a friend.

Tonight I am thankful for people like Sarah Thebarge and Hugh Hollowell who see and who are friends of those who could really use one.  I give thanks for the ones who have heard my alarm going off and who have sat with me.  What a beautiful message we can give to one another, “You are not invisible or silent.  You matter.  I hear you.  I see you.”  Let us make it so.

pic of i see you