Tuesday, 10 February 2009

I'm quite the success story. Apparently.

I called the doctor's surgery for an appointment for a doctor's note and was given an appointment for late in the morning.

I then had to ring in to work and warn my boss that he was right - he may not see me until around lunchtime.

Ice was still on the ground in some places and I was absolutely paranoid about falling over. Now I've got some idea about what the elderly and infirm go through. Jeepers.

I walked into the road to avoid the ice on the pavements and soon found that the jeans I was wearing were too long. My heels were landing on the hems and they not only formed their own slipping hazard, they were getting very wet.

I rolled up the legs so that they no longer reached the ground and ended up with two rolls of wet cloth flapping around my ankles in an amusing "passers-by-looking-at-me-funny" kind of way.


When I got to the surgery, I sat in the waiting room surrounded by a large portion of my neighbourhood. Obvious drunks, twitching addicts and a suspicious number of relatively young people limping unconvincingly or on crutches. All needing sick notes.


My name was called out by a young GP who was still relatively new and shiny. She looked less than half my age. Doctor Child beamed brightly as she ushered me in to her office.

I explained that I had sprained my ankle and needed a doctor's note as I'd been off for so long.

Dr Child automatically went for a heap of pads, picked one up and sat with a pen in her other hand.

I took off my boots, rubbery sleeve thing, socks and Tubigrip to show her the still quite swollen ankle.

Right, she said, she was prepared to sign me off for the rest of the week and I could go back to work on Monday or I could call in on Monday for a further sick note.

She then set about filling in the form.

Er, no, I said, confused, I wanted to go back to work. Today.

Ah, she said, confused. Excellent.

She had to look up what to do next.

Dr Child hadn't been working there for very long and she was so new that she had never signed a back to work form before. She was so used to signing notes for a bunch of workshy deadbeats and malingerers that I had completely surprised her. Usually, no one wanted to work or look for work and were hoping to get signed off for as long as possible.

In the end it was simply a matter of circling

"Need not refrain from work/seeking employment"

instead of the usual

"Needs to refrain from work until___________________" and then filling in a date.

She gave me general advice about exercise and looking after it and I assured her that I wouldn't over exert myself (as if!) and put everything back on again.

Most of the consultation was spent undoing and doing up my footwear.

I limped out, thanking her as I went and explaining how my trousers came to be looking so funny.



After I got to work it took a lot of admin before I started work. Flexi forms, self reported sick note and the doctor's note all had to be scrutinised and signed off by my line manager before I put them in the right in-trays/pigeonholes.

All I have to do now is remember to use the lift instead of taking half the day to climb the stairs.