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Monday, April 20, 2015

Happiness Is Fleeting


The owner of a West Hollywood boutique hotel was suffering another herpes outbreak and needed a prescription for Zovirax. I’m happy to help staff at my hotels, and this was a problem I could handle over the phone. Then he explained that, since outbreaks occurred every few months, he’d like five refills. Would I fax the prescription? After sending it off, I decided I needed to examine him to justify such a large amount. He agreed, adding that he was staying at the Beverly Hills Hotel.  

I perked up. I’ve been the doctor for the Beverly Hills Hotel four separate times since the 1980s. But I don’t market myself aggressively, so four times a more enterprising doctor has snatched it away. It’s been years since it called. I hurried to the hotel; afterward the owner thanked me for my concern. Naturally, I didn’t charge him. Leaving, I stopped by the concierge to inform him that I’d seen a guest and to mention my availability.

“I remember you, Doctor Oppenheim. From the Bel Age a long time ago.” We had a short, pleasant exchange, and he accepted my business card. I walked to my car with a light step. Not only had I pleased the owner of one hotel, there was a chance I’d acquire the Beverly Hills again.

Happiness is fleeting. A few hours later, the owner called. Angrily, he informed me that he’d gone to three pharmacies which had refused to fill the prescription. I was puzzled, and then I realized what had happened. Years earlier I had purchased the new, high-tech prescriptions that the law now requires. They look like ordinary prescriptions, but if a thief tries to duplicate one, “void” appears faintly on the copy. Faxing apparently triggers the same process. I apologized and telephoned a pharmacy to give him his medication.

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