Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Hitting the Jackpot

A call arrived during breakfast. Half an hour later the phone rang again. I was pleased because it was an ideal time for multiple housecalls.

I exercise regularly, always before noon because later the gym becomes crowded. Two morning housecalls makes arriving before noon impossible. This doesn’t happen often, so I reward myself by skipping the gym without feeling the usual guilt. Keeping fit is healthy, but an hour of exercise is as exciting as an hour brushing your teeth, and I’m suspicious of anyone who claims to enjoy it.

Where was the second patient? I routinely drive twenty miles between visits so I awaited the location with anticipation. He was at the same hotel, a rare treat!

A downside was that both seemed to be suffering my least favorite illness: a viral respiratory infection. You’ve heard plenty about my reluctance to give antibiotics when they won’t help.

My good luck held. The first guest had a cough and high fever, probably pneumonia because listening to her lungs revealed abnormal noises. In an otherwise healthy person, pneumonia is the only common chest infection that medical science can cure. So I cured her.

On another floor, I examined a middle-aged man who explained that he had bronchiectasis. This is an uncommon condition in which a small area of the lung becomes obstructed and suffers frequent infections. This was another, so I gave him antibiotics in good conscience.

These were satisfying encounters, but there was a downside. Because both patients were at the same hotel, I finished before 11 o’clock, too early to skip my workout without guilt.

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