Bending over, a guest at the Georgian felt stabbing pain in his back. He could barely move.
Acute back pain usually doesn’t last long, so, over the phone, I assured him that he would be disabled for a day and then gradually improve. I was not anxious to make this visit because it was 4 p.m. I would be driving to Santa Monica and back during the rush hour, a tedious experience. But he wanted a visit.
It was a tedious drive, not improved by the sight of immobile traffic on the opposite side of the freeway. The guest answered the door himself, always a good sign in someone with back pain. I examined him, repeated what I had said over the phone, and handed over pain medication; it was an easy visit.
Returning, I settled into the rear of a nearly motionless stream of cars. I was in no hurry; it was suppertime, but I wasn’t hungry. After ten minutes, my phone rang. A guest at the Crowne Plaza in Beverly Hills asked for a doctor. His wife was vomiting.
I often delay visits, but people who are vomiting hate to wait. This would normally be a quick drive because the Crowne Plaza was only five miles away, and I was headed in that direction. But it was the rush hour. I left the freeway and crept for thirty minutes along Pico Boulevard to the hotel. The visit went well, and the drive home was tolerable.