Sweets & Tweets at the National Aquarium

Last week, I was invited to a Tweetup via Twitter by the fine folks at the National Aquarium (@NatlAquarium on Twitter). They were hosting a preview of Polar Express 4D, and had invited a group of tweeps from in and around Baltimore to the event.

I was honored and delighted to have been invited. But being that I had just had surgery, I was afraid I wouldn’t be up to the adventure.  My husband assured me as long as I took it easy, it would be fine. (He’s always right. Well, maybe almost always. But in this case, he was right.)

So Wednesday evening, we drove down to the Aquarium, and I was delighted to see downtown Baltimore spruced up for the holidays. Upon arriving at the entrance, we were greeted by Aquarium staffers and the conductor of the Polar Express!

We were directed up to the Polar Express Lounge where the air was abuzz with excited children, the aroma of fresh-baked cookies, and hot chocolate! Of the many, many times I have been to the Aquarium, I have never been there late enough to enjoy the night views of the Inner Harbor. Stunning!

And then, the pièce de résistance: the movie preview. We were ushered (mugs of hot chocolate and 3D glasses in hand) into the Aquarium’s 4D Immersion Theater for the experience. We were advised to put our mugs on the floor, because we were in for a bumpy ride. And bumpy it was. Not only that, it was cold, windy and snowy at times. It made for an incredibly rich experience.

I was delighted to meet one of my Twitter idols, @CharmCityMa, in person after the viewing. She is one of the most fabulous, wittiest mom-divas on Twitter, and the fact that she reps Charm City is an added plus!

At the end of the evening, we were delighted to catch a glimpse the Power Plant Holiday Light Show. Take a peek here:

A perfect holiday ending to a perfect holiday evening!

Post Haste

“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?

Hey, the Washington Post liked my pic on Instagram!

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.

How did I resolve to address the matter? Via social media, of course!

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.