Zara Aziz: Sick note request in the supermarket

GP surgeries are like supermarkets: at closing time the whole world and his wife is there to collect their Doublebase/Stella Artois. As a rule I avoid both, as I cannot guarantee that my children will behave when let loose in either environment.

'I need ingredients for Food Tech tomorrow,' announces my eldest late in the evening, as he tries to decipher his own handwriting on a crumpled recipe sheet. This is met by groans from his sister.

'You can't cook: you made those disgusting wheatgerm biscuits last week that gave me bellyache but mummy couldn't fix it. GPs are supposed to know everything.'

Twenty minutes later, we're in the supermarket. In the baking section, I bump straight into Jim, a regular at the surgery.

'Fancy meeting you here, doctor. They said you were away when I went to get my sick note this week; it runs out today you know.' Jim looks sombre. He's a big, burly diabetic and has a trolley stuffed full of baking goodies. I try to look GP-like, while checking for regurgitated food on my clothes. 'Man,' the baby points at him accusingly.

'Oh, goochy goochy goo.' Jim is all smiles.

'Fat ... man,' comes the response.

'Wow, look mummy.' Baby put two words together; he's never done that before.

'Daddy ... fat Daddy,' the baby launches at Jim again, spurred on by the fact that the twins are in hysterics.

While baby thinks of more embarrassing things to say, I try to make exit manoeuvres. Jim is having none of it.

'While I've got you, you couldn't do me a sick note starting from tomorrow's date, could you doctor?' I stare Jim down. Is he joking?

'Seriously doctor, it would be a big help.'

'I actually don't have the Med 3 certificates on me right now,' I say and make for the checkout.

'What's a sick note?' my eldest asks as we head for the car.

'It's when you are sick or "pretend sick" and Mummy writes you a note to say you mustn't go to school or do PE,' his sister explains helpfully.

'Can I have one of those to say I shouldn't do Food Tech tomorrow cos of my verruca then?'

  • Dr Aziz is a GP partner in north-east Bristol.

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