By Nancy Brant
Many years ago my friend Gail Leddy had this insane idea to start a medical alliance in Bartow County (GA). Most of us had no idea what an alliance did or was but she guided us through the process and I fell in love with every aspect of it. It has been a long-term affair!
At first I got all the tangible benefits of belonging to a group that all shared the common bond of being married to a physician—and in essence being married to medicine. We all knew what it was like to spend an anniversary alone, give birth to a child alone, or change plans at the last minute to accommodate a patient’s needs. I loved the community service and all the things we did to promote healthy lifestyles in our cities and towns. It gave me an outlet for the professional expertise I had that had been largely unchanneled up until then.
But the real benefit of alliance membership remained hidden. I looked at the networking as just another means to meet people and get connected to other medical spouses or professionals and learn how to promote my spouse. And then life happened….
There were sick children, medical emergencies, cancer, divorce, death, and they were interspersed with wonderful things like graduations, honors, marriages, births. With the emergence of technology all these things began to play out over the Internet so we were all connected no matter where we lived. And the connections that had been forged became binding.
A close alliance friend was diagnosed with inoperable, incurable cancer in January. I have journeyed with her as she fought and then decided to stop treatment and enter hospice. While selfishly I mourn my own loss, I am also grateful for the friendship we have shared and for all the good and bad times that are in my memory bank. These are benefits of alliance membership that no one can replace and have no price associated with them.
So when you look at that application for membership and you wonder, “What’s in it for me?” don’t just look at the publications or the CME or the vacation locales. Look beyond what you can put that price tag on to the friendships, support, memories, and shared life experiences that are the true benefits.