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Monday, September 15, 2014

Good News, Usually


A flight attendant with diarrhea is usually good news. Airline crew are young, so they suffer uncomplicated medical problems, and diarrhea qualifies. Her hotel in Costa Mesa was 46 miles away, but it was Saturday morning, so traffic would be light, and I’m paid extra for the distance.

To my annoyance, this was one of those inexplicable weekends when the freeway was jammed although it wasn’t a holiday, and I never saw an accident.

After caring for the guest, always the easiest part, I got back on the freeway and its creeping traffic. Ten minutes later my phone rang. This was bad news because freeway driving is more tiring than practicing medicine, and I had had enough. The caller was a national housecall service, and, to my surprise, the patient was in Costa Mesa, a half mile from where I’d been.

The service agreed to my usual fee for a long drive, so I retraced my route, cared for the guest, and returned to the crowded freeway. I was weary when I finally arrived home, hours past lunch time, but it had been a lucrative day in the fascinating life of a Los Angeles hotel doctor.  

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