Monday, 22 March 2010
A night visit
I did a night visit a few days ago. It felt nostalgic. It was the first such visit I have undertaken to one of my own patients (other than a few for the out of hours service a some years ago) since 1996...when everything changed.
Answering the phone-a mobile with a gentle ring-at 1.30am, getting dressed and off in my car for the 15 minutes along lonely country rounds was strangely satisfying (when I first entered practice in 1979 our bedside phone had a very loud ring with no option for quietening). I was greeted by a familiar, although now saddened, family who had cared for a wife and mother throughout a long illness. Thankfully her truly terminal days were very short and she died comfortably with a syringe driver administering her settling medication (when did they come into general practice usage?).
I stayed a while and we reminisced about their loved one. I declined a cup of tea knowing that at my age that would mean a another night visit of a different kind. I did my best to comfort and left them. I was home and back to sleep in just over one hour.
It was good. It was right and I would gladly do it again. They knew me and I believe trusted me and I just didn't feel like handing over this final medical contact to a stranger. But for all my nostalgia I would struggle with the old system of regular on-call and night visits followed by a normal surgery. The day time is just so incredibly busy. It really is non stop for anything from 10-12 hours a day. Having said that I would be willing to go back to the old system if only we could have smaller list sizes.
The government (and The Daily Mail) have it in for GPs-I wonder what the future holds for family practice in the UK in years to come.
No, not that side! But thank God got through surgery ok yesterday. And thanks to all for love support and prayer.
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