"Don't whistle in an elevator" were the words of wisdom Willy Loman offered his son Biff prior to his interview. I believe Arthur Miller's intention was to emphasize how you never know when you are being watched and to remember that you are always making an impression. It seems even more salient in the modern world where almost everything and everyone is connected through the internet. Yet, on a smaller scale, my 'don't whistle in an elevator' moment occurs every time I walk into my RE's waiting room. I seek out a chair in the far corner and bury my face in my book, but I can't help to glance at some of the other women and wonder if any of them were a patient of mine at one time, or if they intend to seek care at our practice if they do become pregnant.
To my knowledge, we've had two mutual patients. I inherited one patient from a colleague who transferred to a different office. She had classic PCOS and my colleague was giving her a trial of Clomid for 3-4 cycles before referring to an REI. After the fourth cycle was unsuccessful, she sent me an email asking for a referral to my RE' office, as he participated with her insurance. I carefully drafted and signed her referral letter (which was not awkward at all...) and noted to myself that I hadn't actually met her in person. All our correspondence was by email. I had no idea what she looked like, and unless she looked up my on-line profile, she wouldn't recognise me. Fortunately for her, she started her third and successful IUI cycle just after I was in the office for my miscarriage.
At the end of last year, I saw another mutual patient for her annual GYN exam. She revealed that her primary care provider referred her to an RE after her husband's workup confirmed male factor issues. Curious, I looked into the computer database, and discovered that she had been referred to my RE. I was still fueled with the 'at least you can get pregnant' optimism and thought I'd either be pregnant soon, or maybe she wouldn't have too much recall after meeting me only once. However, she's had a few other GYN related issues and I've seen her a few times this year. Recently, I asked her how things were going with her treatments. "We did two IUIs that didn't work and we're saving up for IVF" she informed. Then she added "We didn't like the doctor, so we won't be going back there."
I have to confess my first thought was a sense of relief. One less potential encounter. I also have to confess that I wasn't too surprised. Perhaps it's easier for me to navigate his personality, but I can definitely see how he could rub someone the wrong way. Immaturely, I felt a little smug. Although he's brilliant and highly educated, he failed to connect with this patient.
At the end of each day, I always try to look ahead at my schedule for the next day to familiarize myself with the patient load. I came across a name that looked really familiar, although she was entered as a new patient. I ran her name through the database, just to see if there was another account for her. Nope, she had no prior visits to our office. I walked in and introduced myself. She looked vaguely familiar, but I didn't have any immediate recall. Then I looked through her patient history questionnaire. She listed 'Wax Specialist' as her occupation. "Do you work at the salon in town?" I asked, as she nodded. Bingo! That was it. She waxed my bits on at least one or two occasions. I started to wonder if she was the one I informed that my waxing appointments are scheduled in accordance with my infertility treatments. It was a little un-nerving to acknowledge that she is perhaps my only patient who has seen my hoo-ha, but as she didn't seem to indicate that she recognized me during the visit (or was being very professional) I guess all her clients and the many VGs all blend together.
Out of sheer curiosity, I logged into my online profile through the salon's website and looked through my service history. I had seen her on two occasions, and she was the one who offered 'Congratulations!' when I informed her about my infertility treatments. Thus, although you never know when someone may be watching you, it doesn't necessarily mean they're paying attention.