My daughter broke her arm a little over a week ago. She was playing soccer over 2 and half hours away and her mom took her to the games (she had two). Apparently, right before half time she was fouled by someone on the other team and ended up falling and hearing a crack. My wife called me right after it happened and we decided that if it weren’t too bad they would come home first and go to a doctor by us. Needless to say that wasn’t a choice. My daughter was in a huge amount of pain and once we found out she heard it crack it was time to mobilize. If you’re a parent, you can imagine how helpless I felt being so far away with no way to get there quickly.

xrayThe next phone call came from the car, “what’s the nearest hospital to me and how do I get there?” The power of mobile was about to come alive. I had my iPad on me and immediately checked Google for nearest hospitals while I instructed my wife to check the app on her phone that listed things near her. We both found the same place and I checked to see how good it was (it was an excellent hospital). I immediately added it to Waze from my phone and shared the destination with her so she could get there as quickly as possible.

Once they made it to the hospital, where it looked like it was going to be a many hour, I received the next call. They were triaged fairly quickly (under 20 minutes) and ushered into a room for x-rays and treatment. Being a hospital with lots of equipment and shielding in the walls, connectivity wasn’t great. I couldn’t call my wife and she was stuck. Amazingly though, a messaging app worked. I knew exactly what was happening and what they were doing as they were doing it. The break was confirmed and my daughter was given pain medicine. They then had to set the break, put it in a cast and make sure she was okay.

In the meantime, I updated the family (and friends) through a combination of Twitter, Facebook, and Email. Having a doctor in the family doesn’t hurt either, so the phone invariably rang and there was a short discussion about the break (it was clean) and what to expect. That, plus an outpouring of friends including a hospital recommendation that came back over twitter within minutes of asking, which was the one that we used and matched what we got from our apps.

After everything was all said and done, they were out of the hospital in less than 4 hours. We found a place for them to pick up dinner and then I had to go find some things for my daughter. The first being a cast covering so that she could get clean when she got home…casts can’t get wet and she had essentially played a game and a half, so she needed to wash up. Although a web search showed one national chain carried what we needed, they only had them online, which I didn’t find out until I had spent 10 minutes in the store looking for it. A quick check with a virtual assistant gave me the number of another national chain that was close by and they had what I needed on the shelf. A quick ride to pick it and I still made it back before the walking wounded made it home.

They arrived soon after and hugs were exchanged, a few extra from me as I just missed not being there for my daughter. The obligatory cast photo was taken and posted online for all to see the injury and get the final update on her condition. The funny thing is, without mobile, none of this would have been possible. Sure, my daughter would still have gotten to the hospital but it would absolutely have taken longer. Information my wife needed was available to her as she needed it, without needing to go find a payphone or use a phonecard (for those that remember what those are). Everyone, including my daughter’s teammates and coaches were kept up to date and informed. Data that would be needed for my daughter’s appointment a week later was available then, and didn’t need to be retrieved personally by someone going back 3 days later. That’s not to say that there isn’t room for improvement but, all in all, mobile made the experience better, especially for a dad sitting over 160 miles away worried because he couldn’t be there.