August is an oddity. There are days when it is blissfully quiet, so much so that I can get some paperwork done and complete admission avoidance care plans with no interruptions.
I even grab a heavenly latte from the new bistro next door and sit for five minutes on the park bench as I watch the world go by. But then general practice kicks in, the phone shrieks incessantly and home visits go through the roof.
Unlike Baby Attila, who loves phones (he hides them under his potty), I have an aversion to them. Some time ago, in a fit of hormonal madness, I gave my mobile number to a patient who now texts me emergency prescription requests, usually at some ungodly hour. I have tried to tell her firmly that this will not do; it is bad enough that my husband’s phone beeps at him at 11pm to write in his journal.
Modern technology does have its uses – unless you practise on Mars, most GPs are usually chasing their own tails most of the time and need any help they can get to ease the workload. Most days, telephone triage is a godsend, but today I have been glued to a phone and a computer, with an occasional mouthful of fresh air gained by ducking my head out of the window.
Half an hour on hold trying to get through to eye casualty and I have lost the will to live. I give up and instead, send my very patient patient there, armed with a referral letter.
When I arrive home in the evening, the kids are all smiles as they meet me in the hallway.
‘What have you broken?’ Past experience makes me instantly highly suspicious.
‘We haven’t broken anything,’ they say, emphasising the ‘we’.
‘You know how Baby likes phones.’
‘Well, he sort of broke your charger,’ they say, braced for my response.
‘Never mind, these things happen,’ I reply, shrugging my shoulders nonchalantly.'
- Dr Aziz is a GP partner in north-east Bristol