I wake up and if, in that momentary waking moment, I realise that I am seeing patients all day I let out a load and primal groan, followed by an unspecified expletive.
I stumble out of bed, and put on my clothes that are on the floor next to me from the previous day, and try and avoid the kids who are already watching Netflix downstairs as I hurriedly get ready.
I drink three double expressos quickly in succession
‘GET ME SOME TOAST…!’ I hear one of them shout to me as I try and find my keys and coat; I pretend not to hear. At the moment I’ve got spasmodic torticollis, and can’t turn my head in any direction without pain, so after five minutes I give up on my walk to the bus stop and order an Uber to the surgery, sitting in it in silence with my black unwashed face-mask on, as I pretend to be asleep in the back of a Toyota Prius.
I arrive outside the surgery, and I painfully extract myself from the Uber and make my way into the surgery
Nowadays during Covid, there isn’t the usual ‘queue of dread’ of people snaking around the outside of the surgery, and there is a sign saying not to enter unless they have an appointment. There are a few patients with facemasks on milling around outside the surgery; even with the masks on they look angry. One of them recognises me, and starts walking towards me, at which I speed up in the opposite direction into the surgery entrance.
I walk past reception and say a muffled ‘good morning’ to reception as I make my way to my allocated consulting room for the morning. As I log in, I can’t help but feel a sense of impending doom as Systemone cranks into gear and my morning list appears before me. I sit on my chair which sinks low as I recline into it. I can’t find a pen. The room has a funny smell, the raindrops run as if in slow motion down the windowpane, and the damp patch on the wall outside seems to have got bigger. Someone with a facemask on walks past my room. I can’t recognise who it is, but as least it isn’t Brian, one of the other GPs, (God, he’s annoying), and I offer a brief prayer of thanks that I now haven’t had to speak to him for the last 53 days…
I scan the names on my morning list and the pit in my stomach grows tighter.
‘Nooooooooo!’ I silently exclaim as the first of many familiar names comes into focus. The full horror of the list appears before me as I lackadaisically pick up the phone. After 35 phones calls comprising of a smorgasbord of international misery, alcohol and drug addiction, unspecified pains, antibiotics and anti-depressant prescriptions, sick notes and various Covid queries I gently place my head in my hands and silently, despairingly, think that I can’t take another 20 years of this.
I’m down for the hot clinic in the afternoon, which means lots of appointments of seeing people who have colds, after which many prescriptions of amoxicillin later I’ve nearly finished; the PPE really is annoying. I then file 40 blood results mainly consisting of mildly low vitamin D levels.
The day is nearly over, the drizzle has started again, and it’s getting dark and cold. I venture outside, think about taking the bus, but then realise my neck is still in agony, and order another Uber. This time is a grey Vauxhall Zafira. Masked up in the back of the Uber is the most peaceful and restful part of the day; I give the driver five stars on the rating.
I get home, and then realise the kids might still be up, so I walk around the block in the rain wasting a bit of time. I get another takeaway coffee. The coffee shop owner looks at me as I damply walk into the cafe; ‘double macchiato?’ he says to me knowingly
I get home and don’t feel like speaking to anyone having been bombarded with verbal GBH all day from the punters. I then sneak upstairs and lie on the bed in the dark and put the radio on; Magic FM for the old stuff, as I enter into a hypnagogic state with ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us’ by Starship on as a musical backdrop.
I feel exhausted and myalgic, and can hardly summon up the energy to go downstairs. I’m not hungry having snacked on a Twix, some wine gums and packet of salt and vinegar crisps while waiting for the Uber.
My wife is out.
One of the kids comes up screaming, saying that the iPad won’t work. I roll over and pretend to be asleep; as I mutter: ‘I’ve got to have an early night as I’m seeing patients again all day tomorrow and my neck hurts…’
Dr Nobody is a GP in London