Sunday, December 25, 2016

A Hotel Doctor at the Movies

My phone buzzed. 

I sit on the aisle in theaters, so I can hurry out before speaking.

“Can you see a guest at the Sheraton?”

“Which Sheraton?”

The insurance dispatcher gave an address that I didn’t recognize. It turned out to be in San Francisco, so I was back in the theater in less than a minute. This doesn’t happen often. Mostly, when a call arrives, I leave.

When hotel guests phone directly, the conversation always takes a few minutes. Even if a housecall isn’t necessary, I’ve missed too much of the movie.

When insurance agencies phone, a housecall is almost always necessary, and it takes a few minutes to copy the information. 

What to do then…. Most patients are willing to wait a few hours until the movie ends, but I never ask them. While I don’t deny that I’m a deeply caring person, I’m also a Type-A personality. If there’s work to be done, I can’t relax until it’s done, so I always leave. This does not sit well with my wife, so we usually go to the movies in two cars.

Cashiers give me a refund if I explain that I’m a doctor on-call, but once the movie is under way, I don’t ask. My fee for a visit is much higher than a movie admission. Most of the time I’m happy to get away. I doubt if I return to a quarter of the movies after I’m called away.

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