Reason Number 29: Out of the Office
My partner ran an errand at Target during lunch. He lives about twenty minutes from our office, and usually uses a different discount chain.
“I ran into four different families who come to our office!”
“Did they recognize you?” I asked.
” Yeah and each had a story to tell me. I don’t know how you get any errands done living here.”
Well, actually I do get my errands done, and I enjoy the mini-celebrity that comes from being a pediatrician in a community. Seeing patients and their parents in their activities adds another layer of understanding to their care. It’s networking on an informal basis, too. Some of those trips give me clues to family dynamics. The hug from a favorite patient in Chik-fil-a is just icing.
The early days of motherhood and shopping with young children were challenging. I felt that I had to wear both mom and pediatrician hat when I was in the grocery store. All the advice I gave in the office had to be followed to the letter in public. My children added a very human (and mischievous) element to my attempts to model good parent behaviour. I still feel that obligation although it doesn’t feel as weighty as it did when my children were in the 0-5 ages.
If I’m seeking solitude and privacy, I wander to stores outside of my practice “catch” area. Even then, I can be pleasantly surprised when a little hand taps me on the leg to say hello. By and large, parents are very kind about asking me medical information when I’m out in public. I appreciate the division between office-life and out-of-the-office life, and patients do too. Still, a smile of recognition, a wave of hello, and a tug on my shirt can make an otherwise ordinary day memorable.