A guest in Long Beach had broken out in red spots.
This looked like a terrific visit; skin problems are usually easy. A sudden rash is frightening but hardly ever indicates something serious. I have no objection to making a diagnosis over the phone, but guests are terrible at describing a rash’s appearance. In any case, most want to doctor to look at it.
My only problem was that the call arrived at 5 p.m. on a Friday, and Long Beach is thirty miles away. I avoid long drives during the rush hour, so I told him I could come around 9.
That wouldn’t work, he replied. He had a long business engagement that evening. But he’d be happy to see me the following morning.
Saturday morning drives are a snap, but a rash that arrives quickly often departs quickly. I wanted this visit, so I told him I would leave immediately and be there in an hour. Or two.
In his regular column “The Life of a Hotel Doctor”, Mike Oppenheim shares remarkable stories around visiting hotel guests as a doctor. When he began as a hotel doctor during the 1980s, only luxury hotels had a “house doctor,” usually a local practitioner who did it as a sideline. Nowadays, in a large city even the lowliest motel receives blandishments from a dozen individuals plus several agencies that send moonlighting doctors if they can find one.