Dancing in the Rain: Lessons Learned on my Personal Journey with PD (more at www.PDPlan4Life.com) Copyright 2013-20 Sheryl Jedlinski
By Sheryl Jedlinski
An Apple loyalist since Steve Jobs marketed his first personal computer in the late 1970’s, it saddened me to trade in my iPhone for an Android flip phone. I put off making this momentous switch for as long as I could, seeking help at my local Apple store and repeatedly calling the company’s accessibility support line. Everyone did their best to help me but could not find the right combination of settings to resolve my iPhone issues. I had no choice but to see what the Android market had to offer me.
Just how critical were my iPhone issues? Very… as I could not perform even the most basic functions. Unlocking my phone typically took several tries as I had to hold still long enough for the phone to recognize my face or for me to enter my password while holding each button down. I disabled quick tapping so I would not tap too many buttons by accident.
Answering calls required that I hold my iPhone still in one hand and then drag a slider from left to right with the fingers of my other hand. I missed many calls while trying to get this maneuver down pat. Dialing outbound numbers on the iPhone takes only a single click. It doesn’t get much easier than that. Easy, however, isn’t always best. My dyskinesia had me accidentally dialing my frequently called numbers many times a day whenever I would hold the phone.
Many functions on the iPhone are activated by swipes, a challenging movement for those whose Parkinson’ disease symptoms include dyskinesia. I’d be doing one thing and suddenly swipe to something else. Worse yet, when I was on a call, my cheek or my fingers would frequently touch the dial buttons and make touchtone noises in the ear of the person I was talking to. I know the phone is supposed to sense and prevent this, but with the phone constantly in motion that did not work.
When shopping for an iPhone replacement, I found I had two main choices: a very basic flip phone often marketed to seniors or the new “loaded” Samsung flip phone. I opted for the latter, figuring that I would eventually get accustomed to its different way of doing things and want to be able to add more features. Before I left the store with my new flip phone, the saleswoman had changed the settings to address all my issues.
By always keeping my phone unlocked, I no longer require a photo, fingerprint or code to start using it. Answering calls is as simple as flipping open the cover and beginning to talk. Accidental or “pocket” dialing is pretty much a thing of the past because the phone requires two separate motions to dial a number. When I am on a call, the buttons are not automatically displayed so no matter what I do, I am not pressing them by accident.
For now. I am using my new flip phone strictly as a phone for answering and making calls. I do other things such as e-mail with my familiar iPad which is usually nearby and has a bigger screen.
I have been slow to learn the other phone features because it’s such a different environment than I used for years. It is rumored that Apple will soon come out with a flip phone in the next year or two. Hopefully it will address my problems so I can switch back to its familiar interface.