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Dinah considers breaking the hosepipe ban over smokers and suitors

Monday

Stop at services for cappuccinos for self and PM on way to surgery. Smoking ban enforced – hooray! However, forced to run gauntlet of wet smokers puffing away desperately outside entrance – must carry mask in future. Hopefully if this rain lasts they will be permanently extinguished. Have been worrying about how to dissuade smokers from loitering outside surgery – would a couple of strategically positioned hosepipes do the trick? Perhaps funded through PBC as part of extended smoking cessation programme?

Arrive at surgery to find PM still on hols. Put hosepipes on hold until next week and drink both cappuccinos. First patient is wealthy and glamorous 70-plus divorcee who is nevertheless depressed because her son has washed his hands of her. Reflect that losing a child is the greatest human misery I have witnessed – I can't imagine anything worse myself.

Uncannily interrupted by phone call from daughter, doing work experience in hospital (ophthalmology) now that GCSEs have ended. Apparently a rather musical junior doctor has invited her to his flat to look at his instrument. Advise her on no account to have anything to do with him – I will pick her up as planned despite her protestations. No way.

Tuesday

Daughter brings me tea in bed. Very nice, but she's still not going to his flat. May need to deploy hosepipes sooner than expected to deter unwanted suitors.

PBC meeting – discuss children's centres and boards, apparently they have responsibility for commissioning children's services (that is, spending our budget), although after an hour of grappling with organisation charts we still aren't sure what they are. Get the feeling there is an alternative reality coming into being – but which one am I in?

Back to surgery, another depressed woman – she abandoned her children to get out of an abusive relationship and has lived with the guilt for 20 years. It's tragic and I feel embarrassed proffering the PHQ9 but it must be done if I am to use the appropriate Read code. Poor soul, she doesn't know what became of her children.

Friday

Afternoon off to take youngest child to ophthalmology clinic for his stye to be inspected. Nearly don't make it as hospital entrance is obstructed by crowds of smokers.

Inside seen by exceptionally good-looking junior doctor who takes time to explain workings of equipment, functioning of eyeball and so on. Young patient unfortunately grabs slit lamp too enthusiastically and to my horror breaks off vital part. Leave hurriedly before any bills can be drawn up (charge it to PBC account, please).

Succumb to pressure. Go with daughter and friends to junior doctor's flat. He gallantly pours me a large G&T as I inspect his saxophone. Seems like a nice boy – what was I worried about? Leave hosepipe in car.

Dinah Roy is a GP in Spennymoor and chair of Sedgefield PBC group

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