Monday, January 14, 2008

I'm Not A Doctor, But I Play One On TV

I've never understood why hospitals charge their patients for television. It's really kind of cruel.

In a hospital, a television is no longer a's a necessity. You need a TV to make you forget about how awful and lonely you feel. You need a TV to give you a sense of time. You need a TV to drown out the horrendous moaning coming from the strange old person in the adjacent bed. If a hospital is going to charge for television, they might as well just charge for food and medicine. Oh wait, they do charge for food and medicine. Well, then if they're going to charge for television the least they could do is include HBO.

My best friend has been in the hospital since Thursday after having a particularly icky surgical procedure. She's being treated at one of the best hospitals in the country. It's so good, in fact, that free television comes with every room. There's just one problem, only four stations are offered: The Weather Channel, CNN Headline News, Fit TV and ABC Family.

Can you think of four worse stations for a person in a hospital bed to be stuck watching?

The Weather Channel: Do you really need to know the snowfall amounts in Denver when you're hopped up on Percocet and Vicodin in New Jersey? Being reminded that you live in a world with its own weather system only makes you resentful of the patient with the window bed.

Headline News: The same news report over and over again, every half-hour with just enough detail to leave you frustrated and unfulfilled. The Ticking Clock Channel would be more relaxing.

Fit TV: Gosh, nothing would make me feel better about my ill health than watching the fake tan brigade do lunges to techno music or old people--who should feel worse than me--doing yoga on the beach. It would make me want to throw a fit.

ABC Family: Gilmore Girl fans must be elated. The rest of us just get stuck watching the Gilmore Girls because we can't stand the beeping from that stupid machine at the foot of the bed. And why oh why would you pick a station with "family" in the title when all of the patients are already depressed about being away from their own families?

My friend eventually sprang for the eight-dollar-a-day deluxe television package. I suppose that was the hospital's sinister plan all along. Offer free TV, but make it so undesirable that people will fork over the extra cash for decent cable.

I hope she comes home soon so she can watch her own television.


Suzy said...

Yet one more reason why I enjoyed going to India for surgery 2 years ago. Every American (and UK) station. I actually saw the Oscars in my private room at the same time it was being broadcast in LA. And not only is the TV free, but there's no such thing as sharing a room.

The only problem is that it will be years before I eat Indian food again.

Traci Skene said...

Indian food AND great cable? Sounds like my perfect evening...well, except for the surgery part.