The Langham called 11 a.m., a perfect time. I was finishing at the gym; I could shower, travel, and return home for lunch.
The gym is near the 405 freeway, a few miles from my home. It's not my usual route for the 25 mile drive to Pasadena, being slightly further, but I decided to experiment. A mile after I set out, traffic stopped cold as far as the eye could see.
That's when I remembered crews are adding a single northbound lane to the 405 through Sepulveda Pass. There's no room, so workers must rebuild every overpass, carve out and reinforce cliffs, and heap up dirt to widen the roadway. This six-mile addition will cost a billion dollars. I cannot think how much mass transportation a billion dollars would buy if there were any political support.
After fifteen minutes of creeping, I reached an exit and took old Sepulveda Boulevard past the construction. While driving, I answered a call from an insurance service and agreed to see a Brazilian boy with a fever in Huntington Beach. Huntington Beach is in Orange County, forty-five miles distant. It could have been worse; it's the same distance from Pasadena.
The Langham guest was a Washington Post reporter with a respiratory infection. He was covering a local convention, so the paper was paying for his room at the very posh Langham, but it wasn't paying my fee, so he had phoned several times before deciding on a visit. I delivered advice and medication before proceeding on my way.
After shaking my hand, the Brazilian father reminded me that I had visited his wife a month earlier. In most US cities, travel insurers send clients to clinics or emergency rooms. Having a doctor appear at their door is more pleasant, so Los Angeles travelers lose their inhibitions about asking for help, and I see many repeat customers. After examining his son, I explained this it wasn't necessary to give him a cold shower for his 101 temperature. He would feel bad for a few days and then recover; I handed out four packets of Tylenol.
It was after 3 when I pulled into my garage and answered a call from the Westin at the airport. This was one of those what-might-have-been calls because I'd driven past the airport twenty minutes earlier. I retraced my route to care for a lady with a painful eye, returning in time for supper.
About Mike Oppenheim
Doctor Oppenheim has been a hotel doctor in Los Angeles for thirty years. He has made about 15,000 visits.
Authors contact: Mike Oppenheim Email: firstname.lastname@example.org