Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Only when I laugh (2)

After my near-sleepless night on the admission ward, and following some 17 hours observation, I was moved to a more general ward. All protestations to take my daily 2 hour walk fell on stony ground. The dogs must be really missing me - at least I tell myself that. But the truth is they are still being walked, just not by me, and for dogs I suspect loyalty is only as faithful as the next walk. So here I am, relaxing and pontificating, with my body getting used to a miscellany of drugs, most of the ones I binned more than eight years ago.

Apart from a student-nurse waking me up to see if I was breathing (so much for those who think I snore) things have gone quite well and I am settling in to a new regime, sleeping well (too well) and anticipating a significant wait before the operation, if other inmates' experiences are anything to go by. Despite rumours there is no escape plan. People are free to come and go, including visitors. Our NHS is great, doctors and nurses, and other staff. So what's the problem?

Over my bed is a television screen, a facility provided by private enterprise (as can be deduced by the cost to use it). Although I do not watch much television I thought this might be a useful means of keeping in touch with the outside world since it has a built-in touch-screen internet link and a telephone which is free for outgoing calls to home numbers, but 50p per minute for incoming calls from private lines. So I paid for £25-00 of usage (5 days). This would not have been unreasonable if the touch-screen worked properly. Instead it has a mind of its own and I have already lost a substantial amount of blog-text because of its peculiarities.

It is worse than just being inefficient and slow. The slider-bar which moves the screen up and down is temperamental and very often does not work at all. What's more it is close to the advert thumbnail and guess what! It is not unusual for an advert to fill the screen when you try to move the slider-bar. Most of these adverts are for internet providers, probably advertising on the basis that their services are better, and cheaper, than the hospital facilities; and whatever you do there is no way of avoiding having to look at these adverts. For example, if you try to close the advert thumbnail, with the close ad tab, this opens it up. Worst of all, once an advert is open it cannot be closed. Similarly when you press one of the on-screen keyboard keys you can never be quite sure what letter will appear. It may be the letter you press or the one next to it, either side, or the one above or below. But it doesn't matter how incomprehensible is the text you are working on because once the advert is up it remains up until you hit the return to MAIN MENU tab which, of course, closes everything down. There appear to be no alternatives, for example, the on-screen keyboard has no control keys, so the user is stumped.

Naturally I complained first thing Monday morning, and laid it on thick about sick people having to struggle with unworkable hardware for which they had paid over the going rate. When I added that I was sure she had heard all this before, she said she hadn't. From that I inferred that she had either been told to say that, or that patients do not complain. Having no reason to mistrust her I later asked the man in the next bed, Paul, if he had struggled with the touch-screen. He had, but he had not complained. Anyway, tomorrow the maintenance man for this company will be here, and, poor man, will have to hear the complaints all over again. You get what you pay for used to be the maxim.


  1. Re your post on my blog I can't help you, but if it's a Wikipedia issue just make the changes yourself or if that's not possible because the page is protected post them on the talk page.

    1. Thanks John. Will take your advice when I get out of here. Using this touch screen Hospedia computer is almost impossible.