Sunday, March 14, 2010


Hospital rant

by Larry Geller

I haven’t written much recently because I decided to go have that eye surgery I’ve been needing for so long. It worked fine! In a couple of days I’ll be able to see better what I am touch typing! No big deal. I should’ve done it some time ago.

Just being in a hospital triggered one of my oldest hangups, though. Theme music. As a kid in New York City I watched TV in the early days. It was something really unusual and wonderful. Not like owning an iPhone, of course, but imagine—moving pictures on a roundish screen right in your own living room! It was as addictive then as it is now. Even in black-and-white at first. It was as much a step up from radio as the iPhone is from that old black dial phone of yesteryear.

I got it into my brain that if anyone important came on the scene, their theme music would play. The lesser parts didn’t get theme music, but the lead part was accompanied by his/her theme everywhere.

Dr. Kildare had theme music, of course. There was dramatic music when a gurney was hurriedly wheeled through the hallways, as the double doors slammed open, and as the patient was positioned with the bright white lights above. It was the only way to enter an OR as far I as was concerned, since the scene was repeated over and over again every week on TV. Real composers wrote real music for TV back then. Read about the music on Dr. Kildare here.

But there I was at Queens, waiting for my own ride into the OR, waiting for it to happen so it would soon be over. I couldn’t wait to go to sleep so that I would wake up repaired.

It’s all high-tech now, nothing like Dr. Kildare. In the prep room, the air was clean, cool and sterile, not real. Patients and their families were all around, helping and soothing each other. Nurses nursing, EKG techs measuring, doctors in white coats or scrubs, lots of serious things happening, compared to my little problem.

No music, though.

For background music I would have selected this, from Bob Marley (click to play):

Three Little Birds

"Don't worry about a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right.
Singin': "Don't worry about a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right!"

Wouldn’t that be perfect hospital music?

Then my turn came. Drip bottle flying in the air, off we rushed down that white corridor (now a fashionable cream color), through the double doors which silently opened, turning left, then turning right, just like on TV, all I could see was the ceiling and the lights, and ultimately the OR with all that high-tech stuff and yes, the big OR light overhead, though it was still turned off.

No music! Nothing! Don’t I count? Am I a nobody? I guess so, I didn’t rate any music at all.

No “beep beep” from the vital sign monitor either, even after they hooked me up to one. On TV it always beeps. Silence. 

Then it went dark, and the next thing you know, there I am in the recovery room, waking up. And I could see! Every little thing gonna be all right. I sat up to look around.

Hey, we have a celebrity,” came a shout from the nursing station.

Someone spotted Ratman. I can’t escape. “I saw you on TV!”  Yes, that was me. Yes, that rat video. Yes, KITV. Yes, I did think they were cute.

Still, no theme music (sigh). Ratman needs theme music. So when I go into Chinatown next time they’ll know I’m coming.



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