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Laura Kessel is managing editor of The News-Herald in Willoughby. She writes a weekly column and shares her thoughts here.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Subscribing to a magazine plan

Betty Triplett has the answer.

The Wickliffe resident didn’t waste any time letting me know, either.

"I read with interest today (Sat 7-16-11) about your experience in the waiting room at the hospital."

Triplett said in her letter that she "would like to explain about the mags."

I wrote last week about my time in a waiting room on July 14 at Hillcrest Hospital during my husband’s heart catheterization.

I said I don’t like that most hospital waiting rooms now feature televisions and that I couldn’t find anything to read.

Unlike some who wrote to scold me for failing to bring along a book or for not realizing the value of the free entertainment I was getting while worrying about my husband’s condition, Triplett described how difficult it is for the hospital where she volunteers, West Medical Center in Willoughby, to attain reading material for patients.

She said all the magazines at her hospital are donated after the owners have finished reading them.

And Triplett would know.

She’s been guiding the magazine cart around the hospital for four hours every Thursday for the past 13 years, since she retired after 18 years working in Heinen’s deli department.

"As soon as I retired, I knew I wanted to do something," she said. "I knew I didn’t want to do paperwork, so this is the best thing for me."

She also volunteers on Mondays at a local senior center and at the Wickliffe Nutrition Site, where she sets up the dining room on Tuesdays for lunch.

Triplett said she visits patient rooms and waiting areas in the hospital, offering reading material. She said it’s usually magazines or copies of The News-Herald, which the hospital purchases.

Patients are not required to pay for the reading materials she leaves behind.

It’s easy to understand why the hospital doesn’t furnish magazines — they’re really expensive. And, as most people who wrote to me agreed, patients and their family members often take the ones they leave in the waiting rooms.

As an avid, magazine reader, I can vouch for the cost.

Subscriptions used to run $10 for a year. That’s less than a dollar a copy for a 12-month publication.

These days, though, most are approaching $20 a year.

If you read more than one, like me, pretty soon you’re talking big money.

Every month or so, I gather up an armful and bag them up for the trash, having exhausted all the articles and saved all the recipes I might want to try.

Triplett’s letter showed me how foolish I was being.

"You see, someone had to save or collect those magazines and then drop them off at the hospital," she said. "Think about it — what do you do with yours?"

Starting now, something different.

"Many people give me their mags when they are finished with them, from the senior center and my church, and I take them on my appointed day to the hospital," Triplett said.

"They are appreciated at nursing homes, the V.A. and assisted living," she wrote.


Triplett also pointed out that if you want to share your old magazines with her hospital, just drop them off.

"All you do is take your reading material to the front desk at the hospital and say they are for the volunteer office," she said. "Carol and Loretta will appreciate your thoughtfulness, and so will I."

You can also drop off your magazines here at The News-Herald, 7085 Mentor Ave., Willoughby, and we’ll make sure they get to the hospital or any nursing homes or senior centers that ask for them.

Triplett said her female patients tend to want women’s magazines mostly, but that the men she serves are excited when she still has a newspaper left on the cart.

"... a patient will ask for a certain mag, like Oprah or Martha Stewart, and then tell me they can’t afford to buy that particular mag," Triplett said.

I can see why. Those titles are about $4 apiece.

So, hopefully many of you will be like me — ashamed of the piles and piles of garbage I have created by just tossing my already-read magazines — and take them over to the hospital, where so many people are begging for them.

I told Triplett that I’m going to start taking mine over to her hospital, hoping to help out some patients who are just looking for something to do while they’re stuck in the hospital.

Maybe I’ll point out a few good recipes, too, while I’m at it.

Twitter: @Lauranh


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