A Doctor’s Parting Words

We are settling in back home tonight after a two-week trip to New York City and one of the Mid Atlantic states. We stayed at one hotel for twelve nights and it started to feel like a home away from home. This was the first trip for our puppy, a black German Shepherd, who actually turned one year old while we were away. This dog makes friends everywhere we go.

I am not as gregarious as our puppy, but at this particular hotel I made friends (sometimes because of the dog) with all the desk clerks and the newly hired maintenance man and his helper. I also had a quiet understanding with the woman who ran the complimentary breakfast buffet. I never took the dog there, but he contributed to my multiple trips to the free buffet every morning. This dog doesn’t eat dog food; we feed him human grade food, so I made a few trips every morning to the breakfast buffet to load up on eggs and bacon for the dog and me, as well as pastries and yogurt for my wife.

Every morning the breakfast buffet supervisor seemed to look me over as I heaped a generous amount of eggs and bacon on my plate and disappeared to our room, only to appear minutes later for another big helping. She always smiled at me and said with an East-European accent: “Have a nice breakfast”. Whenever I ran into her somewhere else in the hotel, she smiled as if she knew my little secret and always said something nice.

Early this morning, after three trips downstairs to pack the car, as we passed through the lobby on our way out for the last time, it seemed as if they were all there. The night desk clerk, just coming off duty, the daytime desk clerk, the maintenance man, even the breakfast lady showed up, seemingly to say good-bye to the puppy. The breakfast lady was the last one to do so, and she spoke to Moses in Russian.

I said, in Russian, mustering all I could remember from thirty years ago: “I understand a little Russian“.

She beamed, exclaimed ” Ochen chorosho (very good)!” and went into something long and complicated, of which I understood nothing. I reverted to English and told her why I came to learn some Russian at all when I did my military service back in Sweden.

She smiled and said softly “I am doctor in Russia, here – ” and she shrugged “housekeeping”.

I wanted to say something more profound and supportive, but the puppy was starting to get impatient, we were already an hour behind schedule and we had a very long drive ahead of us. All I could do was mumble something about reading somewhere that there are many foreign-trained doctors who are having trouble getting their license here. Then I drove back home to my life as a doctor in America while she went back to check on the breakfast buffet.

1 Response to “A Doctor’s Parting Words”


  1. 1 Steph August 4, 2008 at 8:14 am

    Lovely story! You paint a real picture with your words.

    I’m intrigued at the very concept of taking a dog to stay in a hotel. How do you cope with exercising and toileting a dog (and especially a large dog) when in somewhere like New York?

    Moses sounds like an adorable dog. I guess he won’t be the only one who’ll miss the morning supply of bacon and eggs ;-)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Bookmark and Share

Mailbox

contact @ acountrydoctorwrites.com

RSS A Country Doctor Reads:

  • Doctors as Stewards, is that News?
    Maybe it’s because I grew up in a socialist country, or perhaps I am actually from a different planet, but an article in today’s New York Times left me scratching my head. The article describes how some doctors and medical groups are quietly beginning to consider the cost of treatments they provide or recommend, for […]
  • Simple Bedside Test Trumps Mega-Workup
    The Journal of Family Practice just published an illustrative case of a young woman with severe headaches and blurry vision. After a couple of hospitalizations with non-contrast and contrast brain MRIs, lumbar puncture and exhaustive laboratory testing, the diagnosis was made with a no-cost two minute bedside test, promoted by yours truly in a post […]
  • Miracle or Outlier?
    A story in the New York Times about a cancer patient who wanted to live to see her daughter’s wedding caught my attention. Haider Javed Warraich, a resident in internal medicine writes: As a physician, I never liked the word “miracle.” I preferred to think in terms of “medical outliers.” And yet that day of […]
  • Psychotherapy and the Dodo
    In “Alice in Wonderland”, the Dodo claimed everyone a winner. In many people’s view, every form of mental health treatment is equally effective. Not so, according to new research. Bulimia, for example, is said to respond better to CBT, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, than other modalities. So when it comes to psychotherapy, it seems the dodo […]
© A Country Doctor Writes 2008-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given.