Sunday, 20 June 2010

Out of context

When one of my US nephews was about 3 or 4, he saw his preschool teacher in Walmart. Normally outgoing, confident, and very fond of his teacher, his first instinct was to hide - she wasn't meant to exist out of school, and he was completely thrown by her presence in the real world.

Yesterday I knew how he felt. I was in Starbuck's in town with a friend, and Nurse Perfect from my old clinic walked in. I suppose it wasn't all that unexpected - I did know that I live between the clinic and her home, because she once offered to drop some drugs off for me on her way home, and my town has a Saturday market and a couple of other attractions that make it worth the occasional visit.

I don't know if she saw me, and even if she did, I don't know if she recognised me - my face wasn't the thing she was usually looking at when I saw her, and the part of me she is most familiar with isn't usually on display in a coffee shop. Even so, and even though I loved her when I was going through treatment, my face started to burn and I sank lower in my chair and had to mumble excuses to my friend about how hot it was getting next to the window.

I wonder what the correct etiquette is here in buttoned-up Britain when you bump into your ex-IVF nurse when she's off duty...?


  1. Lol! I don't know what the etiquette is, but I do know that meeting a friend for coffee and getting a comfy chair in Starbucks for an hour or so sounds like very heaven! Glad you got to have some time doing fun stuff :) XXXXXXXXXXXXX

  2. oohhh, awkward!

    I know over here that medical staff are told not to initiate conversation with any patients they met in their work capacity due to privacy issues. So when I've seen any of my Drs or nurses outside of the clinic i've always had to acknowledge them first and then they'll talk to me.... It is quite good because it means if you are with someone who doesnt know about your history you don't have to worry about being outed in public. But I can totally relate to the red face burning and wanting to dissapear routine... Hope the starbucks was nice. xxx

  3. That would definitely be uncomfortable/awkward! I am trying to picture it right now ... do you act like you don't know each other? Is it rude to do that if they realize who you are? I imagine like Egghunt said, they must have some sort of standard protocol for these situations but it's hard for the patient when they don't know exactly what that protocol is! Anyway, I am glad you were able to avoid it being super weird!

  4. Not sure what I would do either though hiding is probably the likeliest scenario. It's sort of like you have this secret friend who knows your deepest darkest secrets, they know a side of you most people don't know exists, and you'd like to keep it that way. It isn't that you don't want to talk to the person, it's just that you are used to seeing them in a particular atmosphere and it's one you prefer to stay out of as much as possible. Makes total sense to me.