Sometimes you just can’t argue with fate


    By Teah Mogae

    It had been a pleasant shift at the clinic. The waiting room had gradually cleared and the team celebrated a rarity in general practice, getting to close the doors relatively on time on a Friday afternoon. As I finished my last consultation of the day with Michael, a middle-aged divorced gentleman, I realised there was more he still wanted to talk about. 

    “I am happy with the plan for my bruised knee following another fall from my mountain bike Dr Teah. Maybe next time I should take you up on the suggestion of bubble wrapping myself before going for a ride,” he chuckled to himself. “Am I your last patient? I wanted to ask you about something else…” he trailed off, hesitant about raising the topic he had already started. 

    A single nod from me was enough to open the flood gates. Essentially, he wanted a companion. He wanted to check if I knew anyone locally who would be a great match for him. “I have tried the pubs, library, bowling clubs and even ventured onto online dating but I cannot seem to find anyone. I trust your judgement Dr Teah and I think you could be a great matchmaker for me,” he said with a beaming smile. I realised that this had been his agenda all along. I tried to search my brain archives from medical school and general practice training for which lesson covered being a matchmaker for patients, and acknowledged internally how this process could be fraught with legal and ethical minefields. 

    Excited by the prospect of finding a companion, Michael continued, blissfully unaware of my mental gymnastics, rattling off his ideal partner even down to her being a dog person and being an avid rider, or at least into some form of sport.“I don’t know if I could ever be with someone who supports Collingwood but if you say she is lovely, I am sure we can find a way to fix that situation,” he laughed at his own joke. “I better leave you so you can work your matchmaking doc, I am very excited,” he said, standing up to finish the consultation as I wracked my brain on how to navigate this situation without falling foul of my ethical and legal obligations.

    I realised however, months later at Michael’s follow up appointment, that I need not have stressed as he had found companionship with a woman called Susan. Admittedly she was also a patient of mine. I guess the odds in a small town are high that random people who meet in a supermarket checkout queue could attend the same doctor. Michael however had taken this as a sign that Susan was who he was meant to be with and I could not dispute my apparently amazing matchmaking skills. If medicine ever stopped being amazing, I figure I could try my hand at matchmaking. 

    Dr Teah Mogae is a General Practitioner living in Hoppers Crossing. In the interest of protecting patient confidentiality, patient stories are often composites and used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or persons is entirely coincidental.

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