Monday, July 25, 2016

Dual Relationships

My REs office meets over lunch with all of the doctors and nurses on staff for the day to discuss the morning testing results and medication plans for the day for each of the patients seen. Then the nurses call the patients in the afternoon with the plan.

My last name is not very common. In fact, my husband has a rather large Catholic family and whenever anyone has asked if so-and-so is related to me, I've always just assumed that they are and so far I haven't been wrong.

One of the REs in the practice happens to also specialize in adolescent gynecology and we have shared a few patients. Plus, I completed a learning evaluation on her son in the last year.

When I was waiting for a different doctor to come in to perform my hysteroscopy, while undressed from the waist-down and under a blanket, the nurses were talking and it happened to come up that I work at the hospital as a psychologist. One commented that she knew she recognized my last name and had heard it before from one of the doctors whose child was evaluated by me. She explained that the doctor was talking about me professionally and how helpful I was to her son. She didn't say who the doctor was, but I assumed it was this RE who I've also shared patients with.

This morning I stepped into the packed elevator with this physician. She and I briefly made eye contact and smiled at one another. I rode up to the 11th floor and she got out a few floors ahead of me, quietly saying "take care" on her way out.

This is a challenge of being employed by the hospital that is trying to make me pregnant. My husband likes to joke that my employer has some of his frozen sperm, although I'm not completely sure why he finds this so amusing.

Not one of these interactions was inappropriate or in violation of privacy rights, yet I have mixed feelings on the whole thing. She said "take care" with a specific gentleness that I can only assume means she knows who I am as a fertility patient and not just the psychologist who diagnosed her son. This was nice of her. It also kind of creeped me out.

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  1. I live in a small town where I've practiced for a couple decades. It's impossible to avoid dual (or more-than-dual) relationships here; the parent you see for therapy is likely to also be the homeroom parent for your child's class, or his/her soccer coach, or your doctor's spouse, or a member of the same church, which is so small that interactions are unavoidable. All of that to say that I know it can be uncomfortable, and I wish you well both in managing that and in your infertility treatment. (Which I hope doesn't sound like a creepy "take care." :) )

  2. Yeah... that would make me uncomfortable. My clinic had an office at the college I taught at, so I did all of my monitoring there for a while. It was very strange to have those two worlds mix, and I went back to driving to the other office because it just felt more comfortable. Like my story was mine to tell vs. having the news out there without me saying it.

  3. different worlds colliding are always weird.. good luck!

  4. I can't imagine what that is like. I really hated having to go to the fertility clinic information evening, with other new patients/clients, because our city is so small it would be very possible that someone I would know (but not want to know I was trying to get pregnant) might be there.

    I like though that the Dr was subtle and kind though.

  5. It does sound a little too "cozy". I think it would be impossible not to read things into every look or comment. Like the comment above, it's like you're living in a small town where everybody knows everybody's business. Even if (thank goodness) everyone's been very professional, it's tough knowing everyone knows your personal details. I worked for years at the Health Department and saw many of my kids' classmates as well as bus drivers etc come in for public assistance.