We both ordered a diet coke. I secretly love when other people order diet drinks… They get it.
This was the first time we planned a meeting outside of the office and I’m sure neither of us knew what to expect. She’s off on her maternity leave now, so we figured it was a good time to meet.
Before we got too far into our casual conversation, I started with the awkward conversation: “I thought more about what we talked about last time we met… About transferring my care to another doctor. It’s not often easy to find friends who are in this medical-motherhood lifestyle and it just seemed ironic how our private lives kind of meshed and it would be great to be friends. But, You are also a really great doctor and didn’t want you to feel like you were obligated to be my friend if you transferred my care to one of your colleagues.”
I first met her just over a year ago when she was the only female GP I could find in my area who was accepting new patients. I knew instantly that I liked her. She’s my age. Over time I learned that she has kids the same age as mine – we kind of bonded over the challenges that come with kids of this age. She was open to me about her struggles balancing life as a doctor, a mother, and the wife of a professional husband.
One night I was at a community association meeting and I met a man with the same last name as her. “My wife is a GP at [the clinic at the hospital where I work], maybe you know her.”
Spring time came and we started seeing her at the community playground with her kids. We walked past her house on our way home from our community garden. We shared our bounty of green beans and snap peas. We mingled together at a community association BBQ where we laughed over virgin margaritas and watched our husbands talk about who-knows-what.
The last time I saw her in the office I talked to her about my recent thoughts about possibly changing specialities to achieve better work/life balance in the future. I asked her if she would be willing to meet with me to talk about what her work/life balance is like and what her road in her career choice has been like. Of course, she was more than willing to meet with me, and that’s when we briefly talked about whether there was more value to me in a friendship or a therapeutic relationship. At the time I didn’t know what to think. Becoming friends with someone who used to be my doctor… Well, it was complicated last time. I just said that was wasn’t sure, but that I also didn’t want to make her feel uncomfortable. She gave me her cell phone number and I left the office. I waited until I knew she was on her maternity leave before I contacted her.
We had a great time at lunch. I wished her all the best in her upcoming delivery and we parted ways. We have no plans to meet up again, but I know it’s only a matter of time before we run until each other again. And, it will be at least a year before she’s back in her office.
Hopefully this friendship turns out a little differently than before.