I felt like you when I switched from my 755p to the Pre+. A LOT of productivity was lost with webOS, and the only way to regain it is with patches.
BUT, a lot was gained, too--multitasking, to say the least.
You have to realize that the Pre is NOT the next incarnation of Garnet, and therefore you use it differently. Same results, different method of achieving them, and usually just as quickly once you get used to it.
For instance, I know what you mean about being able to hit a button and the program pops up and is ready to use in a split second. With webOS, it's OK to leave apps running all the time. That's the whole point--multitasking. Every morning at 7:00 Multiple App Launcher opens my three most used apps: calendar, tasks, shopping list. And I leave them running ALL DAY. It's super simple to get to the app I want.
There are certainly some glaring organizational omisions (color-coding in month view, contact groups, agenda), but the patches really do make up for a lot, and then some. You'll have a very nice, customized phone when you're done.