Thursday, August 19, 2010

The TV Lady

I’ve never been particularly savvy with technology, and I’ve certainly never been an early adopter of new products or trends. No one has ever accused me of being faddish or of changing my tastes with whatever is hot this season. I still occasionally get accused of using the Pony Express.

I didn’t have a cell phone until my sophomore year of college. My current cell phone came out circa 2005. I resisted CDs and DVDs until tapes and videos became obsolete. I was coerced into using text messages a few years ago. I’ve never purchased an MP3 player but finally started using one when I received an iPod Touch as a gift (in 2008). I didn’t have the technology to pipe it into my car until almost a year later. You get the picture.

I certainly never expected myself to be spending so much time on the couch alternatingly employing the varying capabilities of not two but three computing devices (in between firing off text messages on my archaic cell phone). My brothers gave me an iPad for my birthday – quite possibly the greatest gift ever – and it now plays a prominent role in my every day. I love ‘Words with Friends’ and have several games ongoing at all times (if you want to play, the name’s Dre-Bird). I frequently lull myself to sleep with a challenging game of ‘Wheel of Fortune’ or a tough round of ‘Hangman’. I also occupy my time with a couple of news apps and books I’ve downloaded. It’s quite the little machine, ripe with opportunities for passing the time. Then I have my work and home computers, with which I tinker at different times – though don’t worry, the work computer only comes out rarely when I want to check in and see if I’m missing anything critical. Anyway, the point is, I’m pretty much running command central over here and have quickly gone from ‘laggard’ to at least ‘early majority’ for those of you familiar with the New Product Diffusion Curve.

It is with this lens that I critique the television rental system at my hospital. TV is free for those of us in dire enough straits to require care in the ICU or the CCU (along with peeing in bed, one of the perks of being REALLY sick). However, on the regular floors, patients must pay a daily fee to rent the television. I think it’s $4 per day. There are 600 beds total; let’s imagine that 300 of these are on regular floors. In my [vast] experience in the hospital, approximately 50% of patients are too sick to care about watching TV, so that leaves us with 150 rooms renting the television each day the hospital is full. That means a maximum of $600 per day in TV revenue. Small potatoes, right? Now let me tell you how this money is collected. There is a lady who actually identifies herself as the “TV Lady” when she knocks on each of these 150 doors to collect payment every single day. THAT’S the system. A lady walking around the hospital, knocking on doors, collecting $4 from each TV-watching patient. If that isn’t an antiquated system, I don’t know what is. It makes my pre-historic self look like I’m on the forefront of the technology curve.

Every time I see the TV Lady, I am blown away by the inefficiency of this system and flabbergasted that someone hasn’t identified a more cost-effective solution. But I guess I should take comfort in the fact that the brilliant minds are focusing on advancing the technology for things like life-saving organ transplants instead of television rental services. I suppose it would be a far more alarming scenario to seamlessly order my TV service through an automated system and then get a knock at the door from the uniformed “Organ Lady”.

Status update: Yesterday was my four-week anniversary! I have not received my biopsy results yet, but I am feeling good most of the time. Something is wrong with my left foot, which has prevented me from taking my daily walks for a few days, but yesterday I got the go ahead to use the stationary bike at the gym (when there aren’t a lot of people there) and today I rode it for 20 minutes! I've also eaten out at restaurants (outdoors only) and even had my first glass of wine (as documented in the photo below, which I affectionately refer to as fat-face)!


  1. happy anniversary! and i'm glad to know that you are enjoying vino. cheers to you!!!

  2. She's probably a member of the TV Ladies' Union. They can't get rid of her until she retires.

  3. Wow, Andrea - you look FANTASTIC!!! I love reading your blog and am so happy to hear that you're doing so well. I am a nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit and your blogs actually make me more aware of what my patients, though tiny and unable to tell me what is wrong, are experiencing. Thank you for your honesty and clarity in all you have written - other patients are benefiting! :)


  4. Happy Anniversary, Andrea! I, for one, think you look fantastic. I laughed out loud at the Organ Lady-- does she still wear rabbit ears? Also, I think you should start asking your fans to suggest titles for the art you featured: My vote for today's is "Pac Man TV Mugs and Eats Old Lady's Purse. Nose Lost in Scuffle." I'll keep brainstorming on what role the flowers played in the crime...

  5. You look wonderful Andrea!! So happy to know that each day brings more improvement. Received the update e-mail from your dad which is also greatly appreciated. You remain in our prayers. Although we've never met, it is clear to me you are one amazing lady! Big hugs from Texas to you and your family!

  6. What wonderful news and progress! Cheers to you!! Thoughts and prayers continue your way from the Routt family! Love, Linda :)

  7. Hey now, I became tight with the TV lady over at St. P's, she even let me go on the honor system on days where I couldn't waddle out of the bed to find the $4 (ok, I could have waddled but sometimes just didn't feel like figuring out how to close the gown:)

    Seriously, I'm impressed with the exercise and can't wait till you can stand a visit.

  8. Andrea you look beautiful! SANTE! (speaking of being archaic, I don't know how to type accents... pls forgive me, excuse moi!) Love the tv lady story! You are exercising more than I am, congrats! :) Thinking of you girl!!!