I do get some long term patient contact in the Pain Clinic and so patients do get to know me in my clothes.
About a week ago I was at a play and a woman walked by who I thought I recognized. After about a minute I figured out she was a patient I see about every 6 weeks for trigger point injections. Anyway I kept my head down because I really didn't want to have to talk to her.
I try to keep my professional and personal lives separate, and I do not ever wish to invite patients into my personal life. There are exceptions, occasionally I get asked to see somebody I know socially, more frequent someone comes in who it turns out I know socially, either the patient or a relative.
A number of years ago I went to a school band concert and a lady came up to me and said, "Hi Dr. BH". After a couple of seconds, I realized it was a lady I had been doing trigger points on for a couple of years. She proceeded to introduce me as the doctor who was helping her with her pain. I said something like, "Oh hi" and kept on walking. I know this was rude however like I say I kept my professional and personal lives separate and you're only allowed to be in one of my lives. I was going to explain this at her next appointment but however I never saw her again, I suspect because she thought I was a rude arrogant doctor.
So a couple of months ago a patient told me he was going to a music festival that I was also going to and I told him that I like to keep my lives separate and that if he tried to talk to me, I would just say hi and walk away. And he accepted that and as it was, I never ran into him anyway.