October 9, 2012

Noblesse Oblige . . .

. . . back in the 20th century. 

"No need to hurry.
No need to sparkle.
No need to be anybody but oneself."  
~ Virginia Woolf

You remember the Duke and Duchess of Windsor who spent their time, after he abdicated the British throne, traveling around the world to international watering spots and visiting on everybody else’s dime whenever they could?

After World War II, the Duke and Duchess were regulars in late El Morocco/Stork Club society just before it cratered.  They had to stay somewhere in keeping with their station and so they always tried to be in the Waldorf Towers.  When they came to New York, they would invariably be invited out for dinner somewhere they didn’t have to pay.

The Duke was confiding to Bill Fine who was running a cosmetic company. He complained that the Waldorf was too expensive. “It costs so much money plus tip for the Duchess and me to have coffee and toast each morning.”  He went on to tell Mr. Fine that one morning he had walked down to the Lexington Avenue Drug Store to check on their breakfast plan.

There, the counter man said to the man who had been King of England, “Ain’t you the Duke?”  When the Duke fessed up, he told the counterman his problem. It was costing at least $25.00 for two people to have coffee and toast in the hotel. (Those were the days!)

The latter exclaimed, “Relax, Duke. The Drugstore will deliver coffee and toast to the Waldorf Towers” for only $10.  And, that, exulted the Duke of Windsor is how he and the Duchess began to have breakfast in their fancy hotel for only a few bucks. 

I’ll vote for him!

October 2, 2012


While straightening the deck chairs on my personal Titanic, I received a letter from my MD, which I'll paraphrase. “Mona, it says, bad news. I've been your personal physician for 40 years, but I'm hanging up my sign. At the end of September I begin my retirement and will be transferring my patients to other doctors in the community. In the mean time I hope to minimize your inconvenience. So long and thanks for all the business.”

Bummer!  In my 20's, 30's and 40's stopping by once a decade or so worked OK for each of us. In my 50's it's been two times more per year than I'd like, and I'm soon be ramping up towards the age when people see their doctor every few weeks, just to get out of the house. When I planned on needing him most, I'll be abandoned, lost in the wilderness.

Paying up prolongs the inevitable. He wants to quit, selfishly I want him to stay. To leave now, while in good health or in several years feels like the same option. Fortunately, I live in a community where Md's are thick on the ground, so here's what I've made up my mind to do.

I want to find an MD finishing his/her residency this spring, and become their first patient. The likelihood of them knowing anything useful now is slim, but I don't ask for much now. Down the road, when they are smarter, and I'm sicker, they'll be so grateful for my being their first patient and sticking with them, they'll work extra hard to keep me alive.

If you have a better plan, let me know.