Sometimes a Spare Hand is Better Used for Other Things…


…than typing on a smartphone.

This is a rather personal blog that illustrates the point of why I love/need the BlackBerry Classic.

My mother is in Hospice care after many years of gradual decline from Alzheimer’s. It has been a painful journey over the last ten years watching the slow change from a woman who once changed my diapers and came into my room in the middle of the night to put an extra blanket on me, to a helpless bed ridden person who needs the same done for her.

I have struggled with lawyers and siblings to keep her in her home, when siblings were more concerned about gaining control of her possessions than her welfare. My BlackBerries have been instrumental in keeping myself organized, and communicating while still remaining in contact and productive at work. I can honestly tell you without my BlackBerry I would not have survived this ordeal. Throughout it all, I have managed to call her everyday, record precious conversations and document the decline, mostly from 500 miles away. Our conversations have gone from repeating stories to repeating sentences, to completely nonsensical jumbled phrases and words, to an unintelligible whisper.. But through it all, even when I have no idea what she is trying to say, I know that she knows who she is talking to and is elated when I call and ecstatic when I visit.

I do my best to try to understand and play along, but I know that words don’t matter. It is the feelings inside that matter to her, the temporary relief from loneliness. She is a widow, has lost her other son to a heart attack, her daughter has betrayed her, her grand kids have abandoned her and other than her awesome caretakers, I am all she has left.

Last week, I began to noticed a sudden change, her speech the day before made merely no sense, today it was completely unintelligible. We believe she had a small stroke. Phone calls were now pointless, so I instructed the caretaker on how to use Skype, so at least she could see me if not talk to me. Skype on the Classic is easy and mobile, I could go for a virtual walk with my Mom, show her the world as she is confined to her bed. But I was saddened by what I saw and that she had so much trouble trying to express herself. The hospice nurses told me her blood pressure was fluctuating and she had stopped wanting to eat or drink. They estimated she had less than a week to live.

So, last Friday, I packed my bags and made the journey North for what would likely be the last time after forty years of semi annual visits.

As I type this I am lying next to her in bed. It is the only way I can hear her quiet whispers, and she has fallen asleep holding my hand – above is an actual photo. I am typing this blog entirely with one hand and one thumb, a feat that I would challenge anyone to do efficiently with any other smartphone. The Classic came into my life at just the right time. Because a spare hand has better uses.

At the same time also I am in complete contact with the rest of my world, having only one hand has not prevented me from getting news from friends and replying instantly, remaining in contact with business associates who have to fill in for me, all while holding my Mom’s hand and looking out at the lake view that I have fought to keep her viewing in her declining years. I know that putting her in an unpleasant care facility would have been the end of her. She is doing much better as I speak, you can’t imagine what something as simple as a visit from a loved one can do for a lonely older person’s attitude.

Today, as I was with her, I learned that one of our UTB member’s mother has suffered a stroke. For his privacy I will not say who, but please keep her and his family in your prayers.

If this story has moved you, call or visit that older person in your life. Bring your BlackBerry and you won’t miss much of your own meanwhile.

If you feel generous, I can personally vouch for at least one organization that would benefit people in these situations, a wonderful organization of caring people who have devoted themselves to the comfort of the terminally ill and to aid in keeping them in their homes. The other day, they even sent a harpist to comfort and entertain my mother and she loved it. That organization is found at


I am a long time BlackBerry user and fan. Beginning with the 7520, I have recognized the value of subtle productivity enhancements in BlackBerry devices for business communication and have never since strayed. Even when the iPhone took the market by storm, I was unimpressed, because it did nothing to help my business needs. Currently enjoying my one handed dream phone, the Classic! BB10 with a toolbelt! Today I contribute to UTB whenever I feel that I can help enlighten someone on the benefits of using BlackBerry over any other platform.