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Dear Diary

Dear Diary
Well, it’s been over a week since I posted anything online. I think that’s a record for me. In fact, I haven’t been online that much at all since well before Christmas.
First, there was a miserable work week before Christmas. Almost 70 hours of work in 5 days. A lot of people were sick. Some people just want to come in and get “checked out” before the holidays. One lady with a cough and runny nose wanted me to give her antibiotics to guarantee that she wouldn’t get her unimmunized grandchildren sick when she saw them for Christmas. No guarantees, ma’am. Those children are at an increased risk of catching communicable diseases regardless of whether you get a ZeePack or not, so the only way I can guarantee that you don’t get them sick is to have you stay home for Christmas. Fortunately, they live out of town so my kids won’t have to sit next to them in school.
Another lady who felt weak for several weeks and wanted a clean bill of health before going on a holiday vacation instead got a diagnosis of severe anemia and lung cancer. “But I only smoked for about 10 years,” she said in disbelief. Throckmorton was right on.
Many family members brought in their elderly parents or grandparents saying that they “didn’t look right.” When we couldn’t find anything wrong with them, many times the family members got upset and wanted us to keep them overnight to watch them. Not sure what the overnight observation would accomplish, but not one of the families wanted to sign an advance beneficiary notice. I’m sure I’ll get nastygrams sent to Press Ganey about me because I was rude and unprofessional and incompetent for not admitting the patients. The good thing is that by the time the satisfaction surveys get sent to the patients, the family members will have left for the year.
After finishing my last shift, I drove home, took a nap for a few hours, then got back into the car and started a marathon road trip to visit the in-laws. Spent 14 hours in the truck on Christmas day and another 8 hours in the truck on the day after Christmas.
Stopped at restaurant in Tennessee and my youngest daughter kept asking “why does the waitress talk that way?”

Laying on a warm beach has a way of making a long trip worthwhile, though.
So we’re staying as guests in a retirement community for a week. It amazes me how priorities change once some people retire. You can’t get into any community without handing over ID and having someone at the gate confirm that someone in the community is expecting your visit. That’s more security than the emergency departments. There are landing lights leading you in the entrance to the security gate.
Once inside, some people honk at you if you drive too fast down the road. Others honk if you drive too slow down the road.
When going to work out in the workout center, it is a serious offense to use the center before 11AM if you don’t live in the community and don’t even think about letting a child do sit-ups in the corner of the room. And if you try to use the elliptical machine without writing your name on the dry-erase board – even if no one else is waiting to use the machines – a bunch of old men with New Youk accents yell at you and then argue back and forth about who gets what machine for the next 20 minutes until you end your workout by attrition.
When you go home to watch TV, you’re inundated with commercials from plaintiff attorneys who implore you to call them if you’ve taken acne medications or diabetes medications or if you’ve had cardiac bypass operations and you’ve suffered any complications. Same thing on the billboards. One more reason not to live in Florida.

Oh, and one other thing. We can get rid of mosquitoes using Raid. What the heck do you use to get rid of geckos – or “get-gos” as the people down here call them. And don’t say buy the insurance, either.
Annoying little buggers. They hide near the entrance to the buildings and then jump inside when you open the door.
Current thinking is to let them run around the house and starve to death. Personally, I don’t need a get-go climbing in my mouth when I’m sleeping or attacking me in the shower. And I don’t want a get-go corpse stinking up my suitcase. They can climb the walls, so catching them isn’t as easy as it seems. They’ll sit up near the ceiling and stare at you … until you come back with a broom and knock them to the floor. Finally caught one in a plastic container. Then I walked down the street and let him loose by the front door of one of the neighbors. Yeah, that’s right, Brooklyn. I saw you checking your mail after your argument over the machines in the workout center. Merry Christmas.

Then we get the text message.
We hired a college student to watch our home while we were gone. Good references. Cousin of a family friend. Seemed conscientious when we met him.
“Wild party at the WhiteCoat house tonight. Cars line the streets. Lights flashing on and off. Love, Mrs. Kravitz.” So I did what every respectable person whose house is being trashed would do. I called the police and made a complaint about the noise. Of course, I used Skype so my number couldn’t be traced.
Twenty minutes later, we get another text message. “Police at front door. People fleeing out back door. Cars on street vanishing.”
Called the next day and found out that there were “just a few people over watching a basketball game.” Oh, and by the way, the puppy knocked a barstool over in the basement and put a hole in the wall.
Last time we trust a family member of a friend.

OK diary. Just wanted you to know that I hadn’t vanished. Time to go to the workout center and listen to crotchety retirees yell at me.
Sunshine is a-wasting.


  1. Happy New Year, WC, to you and yours. Waiting in breathless anticipation for the ending of the Bundled Payments saga. All the best in 2012.

  2. Yay, Dr. WhiteCoat, best “vacation” ever. Hope you don’t forget to bring a “get-go” home in your suitcase!

    Loved this entry. Kinda makes you miss work, eh?

    Happy 2012!

  3. The geckos won’t bother you in your sleep or in the shower. They’re essential — they eat the tiny house spiders and ants. (And *everyone* has ants down here, I promise.)

    Actually, after 25+ years of living with geckos, I learned last year that they can “talk.” The males make grunting/chirping noises at each other during season.

  4. Hope you have a terrific 2012, WC! Love the way you handled your long distance house cleaning.;)

  5. Happy New Year to you and your family.

    Great entry! I’ve already told my husband he’d better not even think about retiring into one of those stuffy communities. If he wants it, he lives alone. ;-)

  6. It’s not funny that a college student would do that to you…but we joked last night about Kid #3 doing that as we returned to the house because we forgot something…Love the entry, hate Florida too!

  7. I assume you’re in Arizona for the geckos then? You can buy a sticky pad meant for mice that might catch them. They like to run along baseboards. I just wait to see one, put a clear plastic cup over them, then release them back outside. If the cup cuts their tail off then it twitches like crazy for 10 minutes.

    They’re not really a big deal though. My cat actually managed to kill one by pawing it to death.

  8. Loved the post!

    Reminds me of some Seinfeld episodes.

    I was thinking of the insurance. :)

    Hope your house wasn’t trashed badly.

    And that you all had a terrific vacation and will have a great 2012. :)

  9. Wow, that seriously sucks. I remember going to parties like that in High School. It ain’t pretty. Keep strong brotha’.

  10. My parents retired to Florida. One of the bathrooms in their house had tiles held in place with packing tape – and one perfect gecko skeleton. Didn’t know packing tape would hold up that well over time!

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