That first day back after Mat leave…

11th May 2017 • Guest Blogs

The bags are packed. Your lunch is made. The evidence of your persistent low-grade conjunctivitis that has plagued your household for the last 3 weeks has been wiped from your faces. You have new shoes!


For today is the day. The day on which, as well as delivering your pride and joy to nursery, you will be delivering said child to nursery, ideally before 9:45, and, rather than going home for a cup of tea and a shower, going to work for the first time in, well, quite a while.


From the outside, nothing much has changed. Reassuringly, none of the partners have new cars. Reception manage to welcome you back, coo over obligatory pictures on your phone, inform you that you’ll be in Room 7 (aka the ‘icehouse’) today, and shove a hefty file of scripts into your hand all within about 30 seconds. On your way to the dreaded  Room 7, you pass nice-nurse, who embraces you and says ‘First day back! How are you feeling Mummy?’


How are you feeling? You pause for thought:


I am fully and appropriately clothed, having successfully delivered myself and offspring to correct places of work, complete with nappies/milk/NHS Smartcard (delete as appropriate) and it’s only 8:48am. The morning operation is complete! Frankly, lady, compared to what I’ve already achieved this morning, 18 patients and an as yet undetermined number of home visits will be a piece of p***!


‘Um, not too bad thanks’ you conclude.


The ‘icehouse’ looks somewhat spartan from last time you were there. The posters have gone (CQC), the toys have gone (CQC), the flippin’ BNF has gone ! (CQC). You congratulate yourself on bringing pens and as you put your lunch into the drawer, vow you will try and wait beyond your current normal ‘lunchtime’ of any time after ten past eleven.


Several hours later you take stock and look through your list of jobs checking that your scrawl matches with at least one patient identifier on screen. Your stethoscope pokes out of your bag, guiltily. How on earth have you got through 16 patients (hurrah for DNAs!) and not used it? Surely you can’t manage all problems with a chat and tube of Timodine.
As you leave, nursery phone. ‘Nothing to worry about, they’ve been having a great time with the sensory baskets, celebrating diversity and singing in French. We just think they’ve got a bit of nappy rash coming. We’ve popped some Sudocrem on which will probably help, but if it’s not getting better we’d recommend a cream from your doctor. It’s begins with a T…


Claire Butler is a GP and Mum of two who works in Birmingham who likes being right, Gogglebox and salt and vinegar peanuts.

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