I have spent over 25 years of my life as a family physician in Langley and have seen many changes in my community during this time. The population has more than doubled, resulting in increased traffic congestion, commercial areas, infrastructure, and recreational facilities. Langley now has every big-box retailer known to Western civilization, including Costco, Walmart, Home Depot, and the Real Canadian Superstore. What was previously a quiet drive into the central core is now a stop-and-go traffic light adventure. Despite this, Langley has been good to me. My two children were raised here and I have made many good friends over the years. I also met my wife here, twice.* I managed to build a busy family practice while working at Langley Hospital, where I have fostered excellent relationships with many physicians and staff.
Speaking of relationships, one constant during all of this growth has been the welcome presence of the physicians with whom I work closely in our clinic. I feel so lucky and have been blessed to have shared these years with these quality individuals. Four became five, and now we are six. When I first joined the original three, I was surprised to find that our office desks were in the same room without any physical barriers to separate them. I found this lack of privacy unnerving and was concerned about confidentiality, interruptions, and noise levels. I wondered how work would get done in this open space. I shouldn’t have worried, because this environment fostered closeness and sharing. There is always someone around to bounce ideas off and listen to concerns about this patient or that issue. Complaints are shared, lightening the burden each of us carries throughout our busy practices. We also regularly laugh and joke with one another. Fridays after work are one of my weekly highlights as we settle into the weekend by sharing some drinks and snacks.
We have seen each other through illnesses, accidents, tragedies, divorces, aging parents, and so much more. These people are my rocks and I know they have my back through thick and thin. Now don’t get me wrong; we’ve had our disagreements over the years, but they have been handled with mutual respect and care. We hear about practices that have disbanded as a result of differences and disputes. I’m not sure if it was by luck or some unseen force, but I couldn’t have chosen a better group of work colleagues. I have spent more time with these people than I have with most of my family and friends, yet I don’t tire of their wit, humor, compassion, caring, and support. Perhaps I have become more sentimental as I begin to think about retirement, but it has been a wonderful journey working with these excellent physicians whom I am proud to call my friends.
Joining a practice is like a marriage in many ways, so to those physicians considering joining a practice, I encourage you to choose wisely. I know I did.
*The first time we met there was an instant connection and a feeling of electricity passing between us . . . that apparently only I felt as she doesn’t remember the interaction.
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