Doctor in training

At one of my clinics last week I was lucky enough to have a trainee Doctor in with me. During their time in the G.P surgery these mini medics have to orientate with all the disciplines, I suspect that they are not always happy with their roving lot but this new doc made the most of her short time with me and at the end of a long clinic thanked me and told me how much she had enjoyed it. I had enjoyed having her in the clinic with me as she was obviously really interested and wanted to learn what midwives get up to. Today I was pleased to see her happy face as I did my usual last minute dash into the surgery, and even more pleased when she asked if she could join me again in my clinic. This time I encouraged her to do the practical elements of the appointments, after all next week she will be seeing patients with no supervision , so better that she flexed her knowledge and practice whilst I was there to support her and answer any questions she was unsure of the answers to. I hope she enjoys the rest of her time at our surgery and that she continues to be the really human, grass roots practitioner that she is now and doesn’t lose her enthusiasm for her chosen profession and the people that she encounters.

My job-share of 6 years has now retired and, wonders of wonders, a new job-share has been appointed. Okay, so she won’t be starting for a couple of months but in Health Service terms that is amazingly fast, and it’s someone I know, very well in fact. Yes, it’s the midwife who helped my first Grandchild into the world. We have worked together in the same team before the birth of her first child so at least we won’t have to go through all the getting used to each other aspects of a job-share, and, if our 90 minute phone conversation this evening was anything to go by, communication should not be difficult.

Today I visited my couple who had suffered a stillbirth 3 weeks ago. They are still amazingly philosophical about baby dying but I do worry that they have shut themselves away from the world. Apart from their parents and me they have not spoken to any friends or relations since the trauma as they don’t want to keep telling the story of what happened. I can understand, but it does worry me. I am no bereavement expert so am not sure what my reaction should be, and how I can help them through the ‘re-socialising’ phase of their grief so, as usual I just went with gut-instinct and told them I could understand their reluctance to feed what they are seeing as a ghoulish fascination with the details regarding the loss of their baby. Physically all is well so I could have discharged her today but instead I’ve told them that I shall keep them as a case until after the post mortem results are received so, if they need to, they can call me round to have a chat. At least with me there are no explanations needed, I know why I’m there and we can talk about things as much as they need to. It’s so, so difficult though. I am naturally one of these really weepy people and in these scenarios I often find myself on the point of joining in with the tears, I have to swallow so hard to hold it back that I end up with a sore throat, and I’m not always successful entirely covering up the fact that my emotions are attempting to take over. It’s their grief, their tragedy and I should be there being strong, impossible.

One week today, the twins will be born. I’ve got butterflies. Heaven only knows how daughter and son-in-law feel.


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Packed weekend

Whilst we were in Jersey Son phoned and asked us if we wanted to go to the Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford. I love air shows, there is something about the power of the planes that grips me and has me grinning like a mad-woman. I asked him how much the tickets were, £32.50, each. He and partner could get their tickets for £16, something to do with the company he works for, but he was limited to 2 tickets at that price. With our finances slightly tight at moment I felt that we could do without that expenditure so told him that unfortunately we couldn’t go. He expressed his disappointment, especially as they were taking Jack and Amy with them who would then be spending the night with them. I chuckled. Jack and Amy are both lovely children, lively and generally well-behaved but when they are together they are a handful and they do wind each other up so the thought of Son and DIL having them on a longish car journey, all day at a crowded, noisy air show, and then all night conjured up a picture of chaos and frayed tempers. Anyway, by Thursday Son had managed, some how, to get 2 more ‘cheap’ tickets so Hubby and I were Fairford bound by 8am Saturday morning, complete with Amy. Journey, until we were 7 miles away, was great then we got into the queue to park. I’m not joking, I’m being horribly serious, 2 and half hours is how long we had to queue to park. Obviously we were not alone, there were thousands of us making friends, taking short breaks on grass verges, and watching far off airplanes cavorting about in the sky, even Jenson Button was sitting in his car, not the F1, trying to keep his cool in the most poorly organised approach to a major event that I have ever had the misfortune to be stuck in. If we could have turned around we would have, but we were effectively prisoners in a traffic jam. Thank heavens Amy was in an angelic frame of mind otherwise I might have completely lost the plot. As it was Son was getting out of his car with Jack and I was getting out of ours with Amy and we were having impromptu races up and down the road. If you have ever seen the REM video ‘Everybody Hurts’ you have a fairly good idea of what we could see when we looked inside the other cars. Once in the airshow it was noisy, very noisy but so exciting. Helicopters looping the loop and plummeting earthwards, then pulling up just as you thought you were about to witness an accident. The American Thunderbirds in their F16s soaring skywards at huge speeds to amazing heights, then swooping down and screeching past the crowd, afterburners blazing. Stealth was an eerie counterpart to these raging acrobats, when its black shape passed low, giving no warning of it’s approach, it seemed alien and though it did nothing extraordinary it appeared, to me, all the more powerful for that. Then came my favourites, the Red Arrows. As their distinctive red shapes appeared in formation Son and I turned to each other and exchanged huge grins, Hubby swung Jack up to sit on his shoulders and Son put Amy on his, my little tribe joined together in appreciation of a wonderful aerobatic show, Jack and Amy have now been introduced to another family tradition. Jack loved everything but I think the thing he will remember longest was just as we were leaving. We were walking past as the Italian Airforce were preparing to taxi out to start their display so we stopped to watch them leave. They pulled out one by one and were following each other down the apron  and as they drew level with us Jack waved at each of the pilots and all, except 2, waved back. I had a real lump in my throat as he was so pleased that these pilots, in their wow factor planes, had returned his greeting. They made a little boy really, really happy. Amy enjoyed herself but would take to her pushchair, obviously some kind of security thing, if a plane was too loud and she became our aerial spotter, always the first to see a plane approaching she would shout ‘Here he comes’ and clap her little hands, before putting them over her ears!

Sunday saw Hubby and I down at the South Coast to bury his Mum’s ashes with his Dad’s. It was a very short, little ceremony laying her to rest with her first love, they had married when she was 17, and it had been her wish that when she died she be reunited with her Paddy, now that wish has been fulfilled.

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