Back when I was in the hospital in 2004, one thing that helped my state of mind was getting online via dial-up to the Internet. I could do email, surf the web, do instant messaging, and generally keep in touch with reality outside the hospital room. Late in my first stay, an administrative type came by and had a cow over the fact that I had a laptop computer plugged into a power outlet, and also that I had hooked up to the phone line. Neither was allowed, she said.
Let me tell you that the time I spent in the hospital when I couldn’t use my laptop, not for Internet acces, not for DVD-playing, not for any personal data project, was pretty depressing.
Now, some of that could just be me. I haven’t heard of anyone else offhand who set up their weblog in recovery within a couple of days of major surgery. But I’m thinking that perhaps there might be some value to making Internet access available to patients stuck in hospital. There could even be some intra-hospital application, as if there were an instant-messaging-like interface to the nurses’ station, I could have simply typed in what sort of thing was up. Messages to the patient could remind them to get up and walk at intervals.
But I think that investigating the value of providing computer access, and especially Internet access, to hospital patients should be pursued. So, if anybody out there is an M.D. or hospital adminstrator who sees some possibilities there, I would be happy to help in discussing the topic and perhaps collaborating on it.