Holding Off No More

I am not passing this up anymore. I have been holding off for so long. It is time.

Before you think of something else that I have been holding off for, I am talking about the iPhone.

I have owned a mobile phone since 2000. That was the time I started my medical practice after finishing my specialty training. I don’t know why we call our “real” work “practice,” as it does not sound better off than the “training.” Sorry, I digress. But since that time, the cell phone has been an integral part of me.

I just cannot imagine practicing medicine without a cell phone, especially if you are on-call. Before the advent of mobile phones, a doctor needed to stay around where he could be reached or where he could make a phone call via land line. If he was traveling, and he was called on his beeper, he had to find a public phone to answer the call. That meant he also needed to have coins always ready to make those calls on pay phones.

But with the emergence of the cell phones, doctors were given more liberty to wander far, even if they were on-call. Of course, being on-call still feels like you are on a leash, but with a cell phone at least the chain is long. Never mind the fact that the first generation of the mobile phones were huge and clunky. At least they were portable and smaller (though not much smaller) than the backpack radio used by the US infantry during the Vietnam war.

1st generation of cell phone

With the advancement of technology, the mobile phones became smaller and even “smarter.” They are not just for making calls. They can be our personal secretary, our encyclopedia, our GPS, our camera, our music and movie module, and our game console. Who knows whatever functions will they add in it. It also have been more affordable by the masses, that everyone, even the ‘tindero ng balut‘ owns one. (I am in no way putting down the tinderas and tinderos for they are hardworking people, and besides they do a noble job.)

Since I have owned my first cell phone more than 10 years ago, I changed or upgraded it twice, with my latest one a few years old. I think that can be considered very conservative as I believe my mobile phone plan even entitled me for a phone upgrade every 2 years or so, at not much cost. And if you consider the fact that new and better cell phones comes out almost every few months, I am indeed fairly cheap.

I also never upgraded to a smart phone before. Maybe because I use my cell phone strictly for making a call. Or maybe I don’t want my phone to be “smarter” than me. Though when I am seeing patients during my hospital rounds in the ICU or in the wards, I have my medical residents or the medical students with me, search through their smart phones for information that we need, like drug to drug interactions, or latest medical literature and studies, or case reports regarding a strange and unusual disease, or whatever data we want to know. It is like doing research on the fly. If we have that capability, why not use it, right? I think its high time for me to get “smart” on my own.

The iPhone, arguably the top of the line smart phone, was first released in June 2007. Now, it is already on its 5th generation and I still don’t own one. Don’t get me wrong, I like Apple and its products. During the years, our household have owned several Apple products. But never an iPhone. Well, hopefully not for long.

Aside from being available now on different carrier networks (AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint in the US), there is one more reason for me to get the latest iPhone. With Steve Jobs, passing away last week (which made me, as well as the whole world really sad), this make the iPhone 4S, probably the last Apple product that he helped design or has received his blessings. And that is such history and memorabilia I just cannot pass up.

Now, I just need to figure out how to beat the crowd lining up for it when it is released in a couple of days. Or maybe I should hold off for now, at least for a few more days… or weeks… or months… or…….

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