Influenza had kept a guest in bed five days with fever, body aches, and general misery. He had meetings, he said, and needed something to knock it out.
While antibiotics don’t affect influenza, antiviral drugs such as Tamiflu shorten the illness by a day or two. Sadly, they only work if taken within the first 48 hours; afterwards they are useless although doctors continue to prescribe them. This encounter occurred long ago, before I had learned some facts of life.
After I left, the patient dragged himself to a local clinic and received the traditional antibiotic which solidified his conviction that I did not know my business. Returning to the hotel, he demanded his money back. Guests often believe that the hotel doctor works for the hotel.
The general manager phoned to pass on this information. He was sympathetic, but hearing a complaint from a general manager is the low point in any hotel doctor’s day.