Saturday, December 18, 2010

"Do You Go To Ontario?"

“Do you go to Ontario?” asked the dispatcher for Expressdoc, an agency that sends doctors on housecalls. Travel insurers who don’t call me directly use Expressdoc. It’s a mystery why because it costs them extra, but I charge the same no matter who calls, so I don’t mind. Ontario is in San Bernardino County, fifty miles distant, but this is small potatoes. My record is ninety miles to Carpinteria. Freeway traffic, not distance, determines if I drive. I delay distant, late afternoon visits until the evening. Morning drives are acceptable; the hours between ten and noon are golden because traffic slows after the morning rush; it builds again after twelve, and there is no afternoon decline. The Ontario call arrived at 12:20, so I was not optimistic about the return. But it worked out fine. I took the Pomona freeway, bypassing downtown, and the hour’s drive passed with no significant slowing. I listened to Slaughterhouse Five on my CD; highly recommended.

The patient was a Brazilian lady visiting her son; her upset stomach presented no problem. Accompanying me to the elevator, the son he told me he was reevaluating his decision to remain in the US because the political atmosphere had grown so shrill and confrontational. I agreed. Did you ever think there’d come a time when South Americans considered their governments more stable than ours?

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