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Editorial: Rude hospital patients and stupid commercials

Being in a hospital bed for days is, to say the least, boring.

Boring may not be the right word for being in a hospital. My recent stay made me realize that nurses and nurse’s aides are not nearly compensated enough. No employee should have to go through what these people endure.

My first two nights in the hospital were interesting, to say the least. It wasn’t one of those places where they come in every hour to wake you up and take your vitals.

But sleep, for more reasons than one, didn’t happen.

There was this guy across the hall. A real jerk. It seemed like anytime someone passed by, especially at night, he yelled for them to come into his room. And if one of the nurse’s aides did go into his room, he wouldn’t let them leave, yelling order after order. (I was in a hospital in Statesville, but folks in western Davie probably heard him as well). He was loud, obnoxious and downright mean to the staff. He cussed them. He called them bad names – really bad names. If they tried to leave, he would start to move from his bed, ripping at the IV. They probably had a dozen patients to care for, but this guy thought they were there just for him to abuse.

After hearing him berate a certain nurse’s aide one night, I tried to make a joke when she finally made it into my room to check on me. “Oh, he just doesn’t understand,” she said. I had given her the perfect opportunity to vent and let some steam off, but she took up for him.

Maybe she was right. Maybe the guy just needed to be in the mental ward. The abuse went on, and I started to actually feel sorry for the guy. Until he got a visitor from outside the hospital. He was as sweet as pie, thanking them for coming to see him and happily talking about family and neighbors. They left, and he went back to his usual complaints. Yes, it turns out he was a jerk. A real jerk.

In the hospital and after being released to my own couch, there just wasn’t much to do. Reading a book was out of the question, the pain and medications made concentrating on a book impossible.

But there was TV. Wonderful TV.

Watch too much TV, and you’ll wonder about our society. Not because of the shows, there’s something for everyone on the tube. I’m talking about the commercials.

Flo, once heralded as the best thing commercials had seen since the Coppertone girl (Sorry, I’m showing my age here), has become annoying. Very annoying. Maybe that’s the point. It’s so annoying you can’t forget it.

The same goes for that little gecko lizard. He’s cute and has a great accent, but enough is enough. I know they can live for a long time, but give it a break. We don’t want to see him for 20 years.

There’s professional sports players: the Dikembo Mutumbo commercial blocking shots is stupid. I can’t even tell you what he’s selling. And poor Joe Namath.
A hero from my youth, he’s now selling snake oil to the elderly. Come on, Joe, you can do better than that. Or at least stay home. Then there’s Shaq. Although I like his commercials, they are on too often. He’ll be like Flo within a year.

Sometimes, the commercials make me scratch my head. There’s one for some type of cleaning product that “smells like the garden.” Hey, I’m a gardener. We have a yard full of flowers and plants and trees. But do I want my cleaner to smell like my garden? Since I mostly only smell sweat and beer in the garden, I would have to say no.

There’s this woman reading to her cat or something, when her son yells and says he fell and is bleeding. She tells him to get a BandAid or two. And then she goes on to feed her cat a can of something the cat really wanted to eat. Is this company trying to get the business of all parents who really didn’t want to have kids?

It makes you wonder. Do the companies have no shame? No, they don’t. They have one goal: to sell you something, or in the very least, to make you remember their name.

Just writing about how stupid and annoying these commercials can be probably will make them happy. I remembered them, and in their eyes, that’s all that matters.

Books are looking better every day.

– Mike Barnhardt