Dinah has been juggling children, parents and flu jabs
Half term. No nanny so kids in surgery too, bribed with promises of paid work (the most expensive tea and sandwich service ever) and internet access. Car loaded to brim with iPods, PC games, laptops, DVDs but I drew the line at bass guitar – and no, the cat will be fine at home.
Interrupted by phone call from parents, who live in the Suffolk bird flu zone. Should they have flu jabs? Give strict ticking-off for not having one already – they are unlikely to get GP appointments if all local poultry workers queueing up. Practice nurse is worried at our uptake – vaccines late plus patients just don't seem so worried. Last year we were scrabbling round for the odd extra syringe – this year we have a glut of vaccine to return. Nurse reminds me I didn't get jab myself so do it between patients. She promises not to tell.
Late for PCT meeting – leave children at surgery but too anxious to concentrate on anything so leave to do e-mails at home with earplugs.
Bribe friend into looking after kids. Prepare for PBC meeting. Have been researching business case for pain clinic: children amused by my attempt to sample Chinese medicine for prolapsed neck disc (may not mention this to PBC group just yet). Went for the works, including cupping, which felt like skin being ripped off and left suspicious bruises on neck. Cannot imagine patients being happy looking as if covered with lovebites – nurse asked if I'd had a good weekend!
Was also talked into buying what can only be described as extortionate soy sauce to rub into painful bits (left with sticky smelly neck). Plan: go for regional nerve blocks and look into cost of chest drains. Cheaper in the long run despite pneumothoraces.
Agency nanny arrives; wallow in luxury of getting to PCT on time. Discuss open access MRI and independent sector procurement of diagnostics. Very painful upper arm – must have nerve root compression, where is neurosurgeon's e-mail and when can he do facet block? Phone him but it dawns on me pain is due to flu jab; pretend I was just phoning to discuss a patient and try to end call. Too late – he has organised another MRI. Should have stuck with the soy sauce.
Home on time – friend calls with bottle of wine. Universe back to normal.
Dinah Roy is a GP in Spennymoor, chair of Sedgefield PBC group and co-PEC chair of County Durham PCT