BEDAZZLED by her brains and shook by his slacks, there seemed no alternative to romance for doctors Paul and Suzanne Kelly when they met while working in a Dublin hospital, and it didn’t take long for the enamoured pair to follow their hearts.
A Cork man, Paul was six months into a move to Dublin to continue his training as a junior doctor at the Mater Hospital when he met his match in Suzanne.
“I was newly single after a four-year relationship and adjusting to being single in a city where I hardly knew anyone. I first became aware of Suzanne as the girl who spent the first six months of the training rotation at the Mayo Clinic in the US and thought ‘Wow she must be very bright!’.”
‘Cultured’ from her time in America, fashion played a part in grabbing Suzanne’s attention.
“A few days back (from America) and walking down the corridor, I saw a very tall and handsome doctor walking toward me, he wore tan cords and a fine red check shirt. He was speaking animatedly to a consultant, and I turned to Niamh, the intern on my team and asked her, ‘who is that guy?’.”
As luck would have it, Suzanne’s intern Niamh was a good friend of Paul’s intern Joe, and this connection brought the pair together on breaks as Paul explained.
“We were introduced to each other by our respective juniors Joe and Niamh who were great pals. Each working day there seemed to be a serious effort to get the most urgent ‘jobs’ done by 11am to meet at the hospital café so Joe and Niamh could have a natter and a coffee and discuss all the goings on.”
Paul said it wasn’t long before he was the one rushing to make the coffee break.
“I recall being incredibly impressed by Suzanne’s confidence, humour and chattiness and very quickly found myself the person trying to get the jobs done quickly so we could all meet up for another round, and if she was too busy to make it, I felt disappointed.”
After meeting in January, Paul invited Suzanne to the pub in mid-February.
“Suzanne had worked 30-plus hours straight from Thursday morning to Friday afternoon and I went to the unit where she was working to ask her if she was heading to the local pub.
“Clearly exhausted and requiring some significant arm-twisting she agreed to follow down. When she walked in — shattered with no make-up on and hair tied back, I was the happiest Cork man in Dublin, but I wasn’t going to let her know that.”
Suzanne said she had “zero interest” in going to any pub, but somehow found herself following Paul down half an hour later after a quick sink wash and a fresh scrubs top.
“Paul was waiting for me at the bar when I arrived; he was leaning on the counter looking at the door as I walked in. We started chatting and he kindly offered to drive me home after a single drink.”
It seemed the game would have to play out another day, but Suzanne got a second wind.
“Persuaded by a friend Eavan, I showered and changed and went back out to the pub that same evening.
“I blame it on fatigue, FatFrogs and the fact that it was Friday, February 13, but suffice to say after dancing to OutKast or Usher in Leggs nightclub there was a smooch.”
Playing hardball, Paul says Suzanne proceeded to ignore him at work, but undeterred he asked her out anyway.
“The following week back at work at the hospital Suzanne proceeded to ignore me completely, not so much as a hello. I was confused but plucked up the courage to ask her out on a date, which she agreed to.”
Suzanne recalls Paul insisted on collecting her for dinner and he arrived at the apartment with a dozen red roses.
The pair were very confident in their connection, meeting the parents within months and Paul said he was well received.
“Her parents seemed semi-relieved after some questionable prior suitors and were enormously welcoming towards me. Suzanne ventured to the real capital and nearly had a stroke when I jumped into her bed on her first night in my parent’s house. My mother loved her and that was important to me.”
Decisive and confident, Paul said the deal was sealed by June.
“June bank holiday weekend we went for a walk in Glendalough and when baby names came up in conversation, I knew the deal was sealed. At the age of twenty-five and just six months from the time we first met, I asked Suzanne to marry me.
Suzanne said she had no doubts.
“My close friends tried to talk me out of it, but I knew within the first week that we were in it for the long term. We might be a cliché, two doctors falling in love whilst working crazy hours in a hospital, but as soon as I realised what a kind, generous and funny person Paul is, I was not letting him go!”
Now together 17 years with three children, Paul said there isn’t a day that goes by he is not grateful that Suzanne agreed to share her life with him.