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Saturday, April 5, 2014

A Better Shot


 “Is he a VIP?”

“All our citizens are VIPs” said the consul for Qatar, referring to a countryman at the Airport Hilton.

Guests from small nations often call the local consul. Asked to find a doctor, he usually phones the hotel.

Once a consul has my number, he tends to remember it, so these calls are good news. On the other hand, guests who phone them are sicker than usual.

A woman in a headscarf answered door, and indicated a young man, curled up in bed. It was their honeymoon. Back pain is usually an easy visit from my point of view. Most acute backs are not so bad after the first day, and they steadily improve.

Unfortunately, this was not the first day. Pain had come on five days earlier in Las Vegas. A hotel doctor had dispensed the usual remedies, and pain had diminished only to return that morning.

I delivered the largest injection and strongest pills in my possession, adding that he might need more evaluation if this didn’t work.

At midnight, he phoned to say that he had improved, but now pain made it difficult to sleep. He agreed to go to an ER but wanted to wait until morning. There was no answer when I called that morning or that afternoon.

The ER doctor had given a shot, the guest said that evening, but it was not as good as mine. Desperate to return home, he had booked a flight. Would I give another shot before he checked out?

So I did. Handing me his card, he urged me to visit if I came to Qatar. Then, supported by the wife and a cane, he hobbled off.

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