The other day I paid my annual visit to Dr. Laura Audell, a top of the line pain specialist at Cedars Sinai. I experienced some pain and swelling down my arm after having had shoulder surgery several years ago. Dr. Audell treated me successfully, and miraculously my pain was gone. But because I want to get my money’s worth from Medicare, I see her occasionally for a check up. 

After Dr. Audell examined me, and I passed her inspection, she thoughtfully asked how my house rebuild was coming. There is nothing I like more than complaining, so I was delighted, make that thrilled, to tell her that I would rather have root canal work done on me than build a house, that I hated every aspect of building a house, and that I absolutely detested choosing colors and furniture. The more I complained, the better I felt. It was simply exhilarating until I heard her response, “I love building houses.”

I responded in shock, “Are you putting me on?” “Not at all,” she responded. “There is nothing I like more than building a house.” I could not believe my ears, and suddenly I was experiencing the first pangs of pain. “You mean that you like remodeling a room, not building an entire house,” I said more as a statement than a question. She persisted, “I have taken a house down to its studs and built it from scratch.”

You could tell the more she spoke of the rebuilding process, the more excited she became. Everything I hated she loved. My pain was definitely getting worse. When I told her it was impossible for a human being to enjoy building a house, she looked right at me and said, “Whatever floats your boat.” I had heard the expression “Different strokes for different folks,’ but never before, “Whatever floats your boat.” It was obvious to me that my doctor was going nautical on me.

Quite frankly, I had never seen Dr. Audell so animated. She waxed poetic about her love of architecture and recommended I read some of her favorite books on the subject of rebuilding.  As I left her office I felt excruciating pain.

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