“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.
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?
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.
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!