Saturday, March 26, 2016

A Dangerous Occupation

As I entered the room, half a dozen family members stood and bowed. When Japanese bow, it means no one speaks English, so I phoned the Japanese insurance agency that sent me.

Passing my cell phone back and forth to the patient, I asked the usual questions and listened to the dispatcher’s interpretation. After the exam, I phoned the agency again to deliver my conclusions.

The guest had the flu. 

Everyone gathered and bowed as I left. Even as the door closed, I was worrying.

Doctors are casual about washing their hands. If your doctor skips it, his hands carry whatever infection they picked up from previous patients. Remind him.

I usually come directly from home where I don’t handle sick people, but I always wash my hands before seeing a guest; afterwards I do the same. I do this partly though habit but also to protect myself.

As I walked down the hall, I was aware that I couldn’t disinfect my phone which the guest had handled repeatedly. Over the coming week, I’ll learn whether or not I’ll catch her flu.

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