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Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Eve

I enjoy hotel doctoring over the holidays. Staff love that I’m available, guests are grateful, traffic is light.

At 2 a.m. on December 24, a lady in North Hollywood reported that her husband was suffering diarrhea. She added that he had fainted during the last several episodes. I had never heard of that before; it seemed like a risky housecall, so I told her we needed to call the paramedics. Sure enough, the paramedics took him to the hospital for a day of rehydration.

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?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Another Easy Visit

Airport security confiscated a tourist’s glaucoma eye drops, so he called his insurance who called me. The drops come in a tiny 2½ cc bottle, so the seizure seemed puzzling. On the other hand, nearly ten years ago they took my tweezers, a beautiful needle-nosed instrument perfect for removing slivers. It cost $20. Later, I checked the Transportation Security Authority web site and learned that tweezers are specifically permitted. Naturally, I’m still fuming.

The visit was easy. Usually, I phone a refill to a pharmacy when a traveler needs a legitimate prescription, but December has been slow; no calls have arrived in a few days, so I’ve felt uneasy. Ironically, medical experts unanimously frown on giving prescriptions without an examination. They never explain how an examination in a hotel room can prove that a patient has, for example, glaucoma, osteoporosis, emphysema, acid reflux, or epilepsy. If he takes high blood pressure medication, and I find a normal pressure, must I refuse the refill?