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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Another Disappointment


A Loews guest was suffering flu symptoms, but mostly he worried about feeling feverish. I explained that fever is not an ominous symptom. If he wanted to check, he could buy a thermometer. Or I could come to his room. He opted for the visit. I told him how much it would cost.

“Oh… I thought it was free,” he said.

I’ve heard this before. Your doctor doesn’t answer when you dial, but I do. Na├»ve guests think I’m a hotel service, sitting downstairs awaiting their call.

He was from Chile. Did he buy travel health insurance before coming to the US, I asked. He did. I explained that travel insurance pays for housecalls, and most insurance agencies call me. However, he must phone the insurance first to obtain approval. He promised to do so.  

Half an hour later my phone rang. It wasn’t Loews but the Doubletree. An elderly man had undergone electrical cardioversion for atrial fibrillation – an irregular heartbeat – a month earlier, and he was worried. His heart didn’t feel right, and its beats seemed fast; he counted 80 per minute. Atrial fibrillation often recurs after cardioversion, but his beat was regular, so that hadn’t happened. 80 beats per minute is not particularly fast. I assured him that he wasn’t describing anything dangerous. He repeated that he was worried and wanted me to check him.

These are the best visits. A guest is worried, and I’m already convinced that there’s nothing to worry about. Sure enough, the exam was normal. He was delighted at the news, and I was delighted to deliver it. Everyone was happy.

I was even more delighted to drive to the Doubletree because it’s only a few blocks from Loews. At any minute, I expected a call from the Loews guest’s insurance agency for another easy visit. But it never came.

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