Reflective

Central Park duck pond

“He had an awful lot to say about you.” 

I steeled myself for what was to come. I had no idea how physicians in the group I left perceived me now, almost eight years later.

Eight years? Had it really been that long?

She laughed heartily.

I relaxed.

Her dentist, apparently good friends with the other provider, referred her there for a work up for bone loss he had picked up on dental X-rays. I stumbled upon the visit in her medical record in the EHR when she requested a refill on one of her medications. Aside from the fact that it was a work up I could have easily done and referring her to another primary care provider when she had one already was itself a bit unprofessional, I did not know if she would make her way back to me or stick with him. Patients always loved him. 

So I waited.

“I told him you were my favorite doctor ever. He said you had to be right about everything but he missed working with you.”

Right about everything? Really?

Admittedly there are certain things I do not compromise on. You routinely lose my patient’s vaginal specimens and I will insist that you come and spread your legs for a speculum exam as punishment. Ok, not really that drastic but I take that sort of thing very seriously. Pelvic exams are not just physically uncomfortable, they are emotionally uncomfortable for patients and saying, “just have them come back for a repeat” is not an adequate response when I am dealing with a lost specimen for the fifth time in as many months. I will raise holy hell if I have to. But I am rambling….

It is interesting sometimes to see what people remember or think about me. Sometimes it hurts, though, and most of the time I would just rather not know. Is needing to being right about everything what I wanted to leave him with? 

No. 

Not really.

But it could have been worse. At the end of my tenure at that office there was all sorts of drama, he had been involved in some of that, and I was glad to leave it all behind when I left.

A few weeks later I ran into that same former partner at a restaurant. I was there with my kids to get something to eat after a long, tough Friday. They were beat. So was I. 

He saw me and walked over say to say hello. We chatted for a few minutes about how his kids were all grown up now.

“I used to work with your mom,” he said to my son and daughter. “Do you know what she did?” 

My kids swung their tired eyes over to him and focused on his face, warily. He was a stranger. They were used to strangers addressing their mom in public but were not used to being addressed directly themselves. I again braced myself, not knowing what he would say. 

“She told a bunch of kids at an office picnic that she would pay them $5 if any of them hit me with a raw egg. All of a sudden this whole herd of kids was running at me with eggs in their hands.” My son snickered. “So do you know what I did?” They shook their heads, leaning in close to get the scoop. “I told them I would pay $10 if any of them got her with an egg. They chased her all over that park.”

“Did they get her?” My son asked eagerly.

“Sure did.”

I interjected here. “With ONE egg, alright? Just one.” I held one single finger up for emphasis.

Now? I am a legend as far as my kids are concerned. My son in particular loves pranks. He loves knowing mom does, too. I am grateful to my former partner for giving us that.

Time passes, doesn’t it?

Time heals wounds by bending memories. It tempers recollections and feelings until sometimes bygones truly can be bygones. 

I haven’t played a good prank in years, though. That is drawback to the passage of time. I am getting so awfully dang old!

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43 thoughts on “Reflective

  1. Ok, I had to laugh at your passing thought of wondering if you wanted to leave him with the impression that you always had to be right… like… um… you wanted to correct that impression for him. 🙂

    I am wildly curious about what others are left with about me, but I really also do not want to know. Fun stories you shared, V.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. that is a great story! You are right..we never know what is going to tumble out of someone’s mouth. I am going to a graduation reception this afternoon…and one of the people who will probably be there, is an old fool I worked with 20 yrs ago who the last time we ran into him in public, said some very inappropriate suggestive things in mixed company, directed @ my wife and I. Send positive vibes my way this afternoon if you would Doc.:-) DM

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have told myself and others before that I don’t care but that is just not true. I guess caring about it helps us with manners and civility, maintaining order and peace to some degree, so it not an entirely bad thing provided it is not taken too far. At least that’s what I tell myself nowadays. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We do all.care about the reputation we leave behind, but I for one agree that you should havs been angry at him for losing samples. 1 pap a year is enough for me…Thank you!!
    I love how it ended! He does have good memories of you obviously and I can just see your kids laughing at Mom getting egged! 🙂
    Yes my friend it is rime to play another joke I would say!! Way to long to go without one! 🙂 you need ideas, just ask!
    Though I am known for getting myself in trouble. LOL!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Wish I did not care what people think of me. It would make life SOOOO much better. But alas, I do care and they do get to me too much. I love pranks and I think they can be good for the soul.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s a great tale and just goes to show how sensitive we can be to other’s perception of us. Getting everything right as a doctor sounds like a HUGE compliment. I wait in trepidation for “X was talking about you”. Sometimes ‘assertive’ comes up or ‘funny’. I guess they don’t tell me the rest… 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think it is the working so darn hard to fix the problem that makes you right. You’ve earned that! And as for only getting one egg on you, I say kudos. Interesting how as you say with the passage of time memories soften. I understand that perfectly. 🌸🥀💖

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a fantastic reflection of the angst we carry around over how others remember us. I often wonder how others see me. It is near impossible for me know. What a gift this person gave you and your kids by sharing this story of you from the past. It is a great reminder of what we choose to say or keep mute about and the power of it impacting others.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. People sometimes say things about me that I find wildly inaccurate based on how I see myself. But mostly I’m just “nice”, which means they haven’t really noticed me, good or bad. What can we do? We are who we are. That is a great story though! (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Aaaaaaw! Several months ago, I told Li’l D how my mom always got in trouble for playing pranks (like putting thumb tacks on the teacher’s seat). We came back to this–somehow–in the last week or so, with him asking what other tricks my mom played. I had to tell him I only wish I could remember. I have the feeling of listening, though, and that’s almost as good, even if I can’t share that as well as stories with words. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. If only I cared what people thought of me…LOL I am one of those who go through life, doing and trying to be a good Samaritan to others…..as long as I can lay my head down at night and sleep without guilt and troubles eating at me, I am good…..glad that the run in with him went well with the kids….after all they are the only thing that counts, and it can’t hurt to be super mom in their eyes….xxkat

    Liked by 1 person

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