I knew it would happen eventually; how could it not? With my parents in and out of the same hospital where I practice, there would come a day when one of them would share a semi-private room with one of my patients. Juxtaposition. How strange to have my parent in one bed and my patient in the other, the interactions so different; one personal, the other professional. And how odd for each of them to acknowledge the contrasting relationship they share with me, one as daughter, the other doctor.
Today, when Mom's roommate of the last three days was discharged, the vacated bed was quickly cleaned, made up with fresh sheets and wheeled down the hall to accept the next patient into the rehab unit. Lately I've had strange inklings, feelings that are more than just passing thoughts because many of them come to pass; it's like having a bit of a view into the future. To say that I "just knew" that the new roommate would be one of my patients is about the best way to describe the feeling. It wasn't long before she arrived in the room but not before I said my quick goodbyes to Mom and ducked out. So, as it stands, neither my patient nor Mom know of the shared connection with me and perhaps we can keep it that way for now.
A common theme in my life of late is the collision (perhaps too strong a word; perhaps juxtaposition is really better) between contrasting roles in my life. Mother/Daughter and Doctor/Daughter are two examples. All of us wear many hats; lately I am putting on two at once and not only does it look weird but it feels weird too.