House calls

I’ve always dreamed of being a doctor ever since I was little. Maybe it was the white lab coat or the doctor’s bag. I think it all started with Marcus Welby or was it Felix the Cat and his bag of tricks? I forget. But I always wanted to be the type of doctor that had his own practice and then got called off in the middle of the night, bag in hand, to attend to some sick patient at home.

Of course, I have a private practice. I wear a white lab coat but I don’t use my doctor’s bag. And I am afraid to say, that due to the current state of healthcare, I don’t make house calls. That was until recently.

A patient, who is also the personal manager and caretaker for a wealthy family from Arizona -Paradise Valley, he said they were from – asked me on a routine visit, if I made house calls. It seemed like such a glamorous position. Imagine being the personal doctor for a rich family, being jettisoned to spectacular vacation destination, doling out medical care by pulling out a thermometer or syphgmomanometer s from my doctor’s bag (of course it would be a Marc Jacobs’) and then sipping martinis by the pool.

That day came one Saturday morning. “Could you please make a house call,” asked my very anxious patient. “It’s for the husband of the very rich family I manage.” Ah, the only two words that could ever get me out of bed so quickly: very and rich. “Of course,” I replied. Within an hour, a black SUV limo picked me up outside my door. Then I was taken to the Mandarin Oriental in Manhattan. When I gave my name, I was escorted to the Presidential Suite. It was just like I had imagined. “This is it,” I told myself as the doors opened. “Farewell private practice. See you later insurance companies. I am just a few feet away from becoming a private on-call physician. I’ll be just like Elizabeth Taylor’s doctor.”

When I enter the suite, I am immediately struck by the children, three of them, carrying on in a rambunctious manner. The nanny was chasing after them. Then I was directed to the master suite. It had three rooms, but more than the beautiful art work or the views of Columbus Circle, I was struck by the foul smell of, well of feces. Immediately I went into 911 mode. There in bed was an elderly man, feverish, fatigued but not smelling foul at all. In the end, all he really had was a cold. After I provided treatment, the man thanked me, and I was on my way. As I departed, a large doberman followed me out. The manager walked me to the elevator, thanked me and handed me an envelope with cash. Then I was directed back downstairs to the waiting SVU. Counting the crisp hundred dollar bills in the car, I had completely forgotten about the foul stench of shit.

Two weeks later, I was called again to the Mandarin Oriental. This time, I suited up in my white lab coat, grabbed my doctor’s bag and ran out the door. When I arrived, I saluted the doorman as I walked in, feeling self-important. The concierge smiled as he turned the key to the private elevators and up I went, to the Presidential Suite once again, feeling confident and well, like a hero, I suppose.

But then the door opened and the nanny, holding one child by the arm, directed me to the same door to the master suite. I could see by the look in her eyes that she pitied me, but something, perhaps a gag order, was preventing her from telling me the awful truth. I walked toward the door and stepped inside. As soon as I did, my nostrils were inflamed with the rancid smell of feces. It permeated the entire room. Only this time it seemed to have fermented with age. Again the same elderly gentleman awaited me in bed and I tended to him. Having felt I gained some familiarity with him, I asked, “Are you having any digestive issue?” To which he replied, “No.”

“Very well,” I said but I was still curious as to why this wonderful suite in this amazing hotel smelled like a pig sty on a farm. “May I use your restroom,” I asked.

“Of course.”

Without thinking, I walked directly into the master bath. It was exactly as you would imagine: marble floors and walls, a separate area for the toilet, a bidet, a porcelain bath with a flat screen television, and a shower stall encased in glass that was larger than my entire apartment. However in the shower stall was that same doberman, sitting there as though he was his own dog house, but scattered about were piles of dog excrement. It was the most foul sight I have ever witnessed. The piles of shit were each from different days. Some were ripe and new, others older and hardened with age. It was like a fromagerie of dog shit. And just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, my patient walked in, unannounced and screamed, “God damn dog. I am so sorry you had to see this, but we just haven’t gotten around to training this damn animal.”


Then he opened the glass door, turned on the shower and began kicking the shit literally down the drain. I stood there watching, unable to move, until I finally said, “Oh don’t worry about me. I hope you feel better.” On my way out, the manager handed me an envelope. This time his face displayed a preceptive knowledge that I would not be returning. And as the SUV drove me back, I did not count the money this time. Instead, I sniffed the envelope hoping it wouldn’t smell like poop. Liz Taylor indeed.



  1. AJ Mann
    Posted May 13, 2009 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    Too Funny!!!!

  2. mich lyon
    Posted May 14, 2009 at 2:50 am | Permalink

    sooo … a friend works at the home of one of the Forbes 10. One of the 10 richest people in the world. i ask her about the 20,000 square foot house … she mentions that is smells like shit because they let their dog shit in the master bath shower.

    wonder if its a syndrome of the richest people?

  3. spinellimd
    Posted May 14, 2009 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    I think it’s just laziness if you ask me. Pay someone to walk the dog! For another hundred I would have volunteered.

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