“I post, therefore, I am.”
I recently had surgery and now am traveling on an eight-week road to recovery. What was supposed to be a two-hour surgery and a two-day hospital stay, ended up being a four-hour procedure and five-day ordeal. The first two days after surgery, I was very woozy. Nurses struggled to keep me upright when I wasn’t in the hospital bed. I don’t remember much else about those first two days. But once the fog of anesthesia and painkillers wore off, I was ready to trade in my scratchy hospital gown for fluffy pajamas, and the uncomfortable hospital bed for my own.
Unfortunately, the doctors and I didn’t see eye to eye. They said my post-surgery vitals weren’t up to par and that they needed to see significant improvement before they would discharge me. That was frustrating. I had been doing all that they had instructed me, including taking short walks around the hospital floor, and doing breathing exercises on several times a day. Still, the doctors saw little improvement over the next couple of days.
What was I to do?
I started tweeting about it.
Social media provides me with an outlet and, at times, a lifeline. I have found that social media apps such as Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Facebook are great tools for connecting with friends and people who have similar interests.
Many of my friends on Twitter and Instagram were happy to see my posts from the hospital, and the interaction with them – the outside world – was refreshing. Who wants to be cooped up in a hospital room for five days with a bunch of prodding nurses and a TV with just twelve channels?
During my stay, I had a few visitors and phone calls from friends and family. Those moments provided some bright spots along my road to recovery. Yet I missed interacting with my friends on Twitter, reading through the timelines, engaging in discussions. My loving husband took pity on me, and after two days brought my phone to the hospital because he knew I missed tweeting, chatting and interacting.
Apparently, not all my “tweeple” and friends on Facebook were happy to see me back online. Someone relayed a couple of snarky comments from a couple of friend-slash-associates, “Oh, Kim must be doing well. I see she’s online.” I was advised that my posting online possibly was giving people the wrong impression: that my surgery wasn’t as serious as I had told them, or that I wasn’t taking my recovery as seriously as I should. That irritated me.
Social media has permeated every facet of society. It has opened up a world where people can interact with media outlets, organizations, banks, politicians, public figures and religious leaders and vice versa. Social media drives how we get information, form opinions, how we perceive and are perceived. Where it was once largely unaccepted to use social media apps in public venues, it is encouraged on many levels. Performance artists love it when their audience and fans post about their shows. Stores appreciate positive posts about their merchandise and customer service. At the church I attend, the pastor, who is very social media savvy, encourages the congregation to tweet inspirational moments during church services.
However, there are those who haven’t embraced social media, and there are others who only dabble in it, maintaining a limited presence. I find that people who aren’t fully immersed in social media, or at least accepting of it tend dismiss the rest of us as dysfunctional over-sharers. It appeared that some people viewed my post-surgery tweets as over-sharing. Mind you, I didn’t post photos of incisions or IV tubes, nor did I go into detail about my procedure or BP readings or vital stats.
Funny how these same people have yet to call, email or even tweet me to see how I’m doing, encourage me, or to ask what they can do to help during my recovery. I now know where to file them.