Thursday, 22 March 2007

I am back in the land of the (barely) living

At least, that's what I have to keep telling myself. After adventures in the land of sicknotes, I returned to work last Monday. And from the chaos rampant at work, you would think I had been off for months, rather than weeks. Okay, I know it was 4 and a half weeks, I know it was not well timed, but heavens above, do people not have initiative to use?

My colleague coped admirably with my absence, though given that we are already doing the work of three (possibly four) people between the two of us, you can imagine what he's had to deal with. And of course, once you're back at your desk, people automatically assume that you're totally tip-top and up to full speed. Nope. Nuh-uhh. Not a frickin' chance. I'm lucky if I get to quarter-speed. And then it's with a following wind.

But you're owed the saga of my sick note. Oh boy. A tale and a half. First week, I waited until the Wednesday (even though I didn't need it until Thursday), rang the doctor's surgery early in the morning. The first receptionist I spoke to was a beauty. I said 'I wonder if you can help me, I have a serious problem with my back.' At this point she interrupted me with 'Don't we all? I've got a really bad back.' I was so stunned I couldn't speak for a moment but carried on regardless. I explained that I wasn't in any fit state to go back to work and could I get a sick note. No, I couldn't make it to the surgery, the doctor would have to come out. Blah blah blah. Anyway, it turned out that the doctor was busy, so could I ring back later. Which I did, went through the same rigmarole and finally got through to the doctor. He was rubbish. Admittedly I already knew that he had all the bedside manner of an air raid, but there you go. He grudgingly agreed to a sick note for a week after I'd had to argue the toss. He also said that he'd write me a prescription for some painkillers and stuff. Lovely. Great.

Only not quite. Then came the small matter of attempting to get it picked up. First they said, we'll send it. Then, no, we can't do that, it's not policy. Could I get there to pick it up? My eyes were rolling so hard they nearly fell out at this point, but I patiently pointed out that if I'd been able to get up there to see the doctor, I might not even have needed a sick note. Pfft. So, I had to try and arrange to get the sick note and prescription collected. Unfortunately, the earliest this could be done was the following Monday, due to a combination of me being a div and other people being busy as busy things. Unfortunately, I didn't actually get the painkillers and stuff until the day after when a friend popped over to see me and went to the local pharmacy.

If I'd had the drugs earlier, I might not have needed a further sicknote, which I attempted to get on the Wednesday. By the way, this is the first time in my entire life I have needed anything like this and from the runaround I got, I will be making damn sure it's the last. So I started ringing at 8.45 on the Wednesday morning, explaining that the doctor wanted to see me, but that I was unable to get there, due to being in severe pain and whatnot, so he would have to come out to see me. And was told to ring back later, because he was busy. So I did, at which point he was in a meeting. Rang back, he was still in the meeting. Rang back, he was on another line. Rang back again, to be told that he wouldn't give me a sick note, because he needed to see me. At this point, I burst into tears and explained that I'd rung several times to explain this and yet all I'd been told was to ring back later. The receptionist was very nice and spoke to the practice manager, and they booked me in there and then for a home visit. Naturally they couldn't say when the doctor would be arriving, but it was definitely on his list.

So I waited. And waited. Then waited some more. Until 9pm in fact, when I pretty much gave up on it. I'd not done anything to eat or drink in case I missed him, so was feeling pretty grim. So I rang the next morning straight away and spoke to the practice manager. And asked why the doctor hadn't turned up. She was very good, said that she'd been there and seen that it had all been booked in and everything, couldn't understand what had happened. I said that I was now sans sicknote, in a bit of a state, naturally and still in pain. So she said she would hand this over to the doctor on call for that particular day. (The previous day, it was my own doctor who was on call. The one on whose list I am registered and who shall henceforth be known as Dr Shithead.) And give him his due, he rang exactly when he said he would. Backdated my sicknote to cover the correct days (in addition to being a grumpy arsehole, Dr Shithead had also started the sicknote on the wrong sodding day. Gimp.) and was the very model of politeness. And then, guess what?! They actually POSTED the ruddy thing out to me. Honestly, the mind, it just boggles.

When I went back the next week (I could actually sit for a few minutes, so risked a taxi ride up the hill), I saw the lovely new doctor (who I will be seeing from now on. Dr Shithead will be a distant, if annoying, memory) and discovered that there's only a sodding pharmacy IN the surgery itself. And that they have a collection/delivery service for people who are housebound. Words fail me. They really do.

I only hope that the next time I need to call on the services of a doctor, this particular practice has raised their game considerably. Muppets.

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