Well, blow me down, here we all are in November. We are all here, right? I mean it's not like I've neglected you at all is it? Well not *really* neglected. Well I didn't *mean* to. Er...
Perhaps I'd better stop digging now eh?
Would it help if I said I'm sorry to have been away for so long and that I never meant to. There were lots of times when I sat down to put finger to keyboard, but the words just wouldn't come. There were even a few when the words just wouldn't stay away, but there was no time to tap them out-- rather fewer to be sure, but a few. Anyhoo-- if there's anybody still out there just let me say again, and for the record, I'm sorry for not keeping in better touch.
So there you have it.
Now what was I going to say....
Oh, yes, crikey!
~Er, that's where we came in-- why doesn't he just get on with it? ~
~Don't ask me. I only stopped by to water the plants!~
~Shhh shhh shhh shhh, it looks like he's going to say something in a minute...~
~well it's about blooming time if you ask me...~
~What does he mean Mondays-- it's Wednesday isn't it?~
~Shhh, don't scare him off he's only just come back!~
... well perhaps more this past Monday, but in GP land Mondays are funny days. People save stuff up for Monday, or get sent up by the nice out of hours docs after an encounter at the weekend, or wake up at the start of a working / school week feeling a but the worse for wear, and need to be seen stat...
~ooh hark at him going all E.R. on us~
.. just in case it's the killer lurghi, or Green Monkey Disease or whatever. In a nutshell Mondays always loom that bit larger on the GP calendar, unless they are Bank Holidays, in which case the immediately succeeding Tuesday gets promoted to honorary "Monday-with-knobs-on" status.
And so it was two days ago the the gods of Mondayness struck and blighted the surgery with a cloud of despondency. The whole day was a catalogue of grief and woe. I should have known it was going to go ill when the first three patients all moaned bitterly about having their blood pressure checked. Now it's never entirely comfortable having your pressure checked in the vice like grip of the sphygmomanometer (500 points in Scrabble if you can position it right) but on Monday apparently not only was the cuff extra squeezy, it was also "too cold"!
Like the rest of the building.
No heat on over the weekend means it takes till Wednesday duty surgery for the building to thaw, and last weekend was a tad "Parky" as they say. (And yes this is a Wednesday duty surgery and I'm feeling far more toasty thanks for asking). In the end though parkiness was going to be the least of the problems presented.
After coffee a couple came in to talk about the death of their son. it was sudden and unexpected, and there is nothing to say in such a consultation that isn't, however well intended, a platitude. The best you can do is to make sure the bewildered, bereaved and struggling couple in front of you know that you really mean it when you tell them you'll be here for whatever, and whenever they need you. Not an easy sell now we're closed weekends and evenings.
We spent a half an hour going round the houses, with me trying-- vainly, and inevitably so-- to persuade them they have nothing to blame themselves for. In reality this is true, of course, but in the messed up milieu of "feeling" and "emotion" it is anything but. There are always a thousand "what ifs", easy to ask and impossible to answer. We covered a few, and we'll cover some more as time passes, but sometimes, even when it's inadequate "stuff happens" is the only response.
From here it's how you pick up the pieces that matters. We'll help as best we can, and they have family and a phone number to call that will open up the doors to more and better support that I can provide. And my door will remain open for them for as long as it takes, but it all feels so woefully inadequate.
The rest of the day plods on with a succession of intractable depressives, horrid sore throats and one comedy ailment-- a poor chap who pulled his back when he was jolted by the shock of poking himself too hard in the ear with a cotton bud. Now he knows why the ENT boys say never put anything in your ear that's smaller than your elbow (go on try it, you know you want to try putting your elbow in your ear-- not you Bendy Girl if you're still out there, you just might make it and then I'd feel terrible).
And then with grim inevitability, in comes a girl to talk about the death of her mum. Of course you have to bear in mind that in this context a girl is anyone more that five years younger than me-- what with me still being so youthful and all, but here even at forty-mumble she's still her mum's little girl and always will be, even with mum suddenly no longer here. The perspective is different, but the consultation is very much the same. Mum had been ill for some time, and her end was not perhaps quite so unexpected, but that hardly makes a difference as anyone who's been through this will tell you.
There are days when I feel barely adequate to the task. And somehow they are mostly Mondays.
* fill in the missing letters for a fabulous virtual prize.