As Valentine’s Day approaches and thoughts turn to romance, RhPAP thought it would be interesting to speak with some health-care couples—including doctors, nurses, health-care aides, medivac pilots, a paramedic, and a fire chief—to learn about how they keep the fires of passion burning in the face of an unpredictable schedule and the stress that comes with working in the health field.
The good news on our findings? None of couples can imagine it any other way!
Friday nights are always blocked off on the calendar of one Lac La Biche couple.
For licensed practical nurse, Mishti Hirani, and her pharmacist husband, Mayur Patel, Fridays are a chance to catch up after their two young children are tucked into bed.
The couple can chat and watch a movie together, often until the wee hours of the night.
“I make sure it’s a romance movie, not a horror,” said Mayur, suggesting their date night often lasts until 2 or 3 a.m.
This purposeful scheduling started a few months ago in an effort to spend some quality time together as a couple.
The household is a busy one with Mayur working two-and-a-half days a week at a community pharmacy, and usually one hospital pharmacy shift a week, most often at the William J. Cadzow – Lac La Biche Healthcare Centre.
When Mayur arrives home, Mishti quickly heads off to the acute care department at the health centre where she works afternoons and evenings on a casual basis caring for COVID-19 patients.
“Today was the day when I came [home] at three and then [Mishti] left at three,” Mayur explained as his seven-year-old son, Atharv, and two-year-old daughter, Aadhya, played nearby.
While it makes for a quick handover of the children, this arrangement is only possible because Mayur’s employer is flexible enough to allow him to leave five minutes early, so Mishti can make her hospital shift on time.
“That’s the good part of this small town,” Mayur said. “I don’t think [this level of flexibility is as possible] in big cities or private companies,” he said.
The opportunity to divide childcare duties between them is a huge perk for the couple who emigrated from India about seven years ago.
Their story began in February 2006 while Mayur was a lecturer in the pharmacy faculty at an all-girls school in India where Mishti was studying biotechnology. Mishti was keen to meet Mayur, who happened to be her next-door neighbour. She eventually decided to take a chance and left a card introducing herself under his door on Valentine’s Day.
“We had a little communication and met each other … and then the journey began,” said Mayur.
“That’s the good part of this small town. I don’t think [this level of flexibility is as possible] in big cities or private companies.” – Mayur Patel
Eventually, they convinced Mishti’s family that Mayur was a suitable choice for a husband and they married.
The couple proved a good match and their joint medical backgrounds, though different in focus, come in handy especially when discussing medications or even COVID-19. Mishti’s biotechnology education wasn’t recognized when she came to Canada, so she retrained as an LPN with plans for further education once their children are older.
When the pandemic first hit, the family made sure that they took extra precautions, especially when Mishti returned home from her hospital shifts where she cared for COVID-19 patients.
It took a little while to teach the children that hugs had to wait until after their mother had showered and changed her clothes. Now, the kids are quick to remind Mishti of the routine.
“When I go home, they usually tell me ‘Mommy, take your shower’ and they wait for me outside of the bathroom door.”
Mayur is grateful that Mishti’s planning skills have been put so effectively to use in their household.
“My wife is a good manager. She literally takes care of everything.”
— Lorena Franchuk
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