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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It's my last working day of the year today. Christmas officially starts at 5pm. Or midnight, if you include the time it'll take me to drive home from Crawley through the snow, ice and freezing fog. I'm currently looking out of a window on the fourth floor of Crawley Hospital, wondering how they've managed to have twice as much snow as we've had in Brighton. It looks like Lapland out there. Or it would do if there wasn't a block of council flats and a branch of Asda on the horizon.

Anyway, half the main roads around Brighton seemed to be closed this morning due to accidents on the ice. I had a text message from a colleague at 7:45am who said her route from Seaford to Horsham Hospital was closed, and I passed a serious crash on the A23 southbound carriageway as I was heading north to Crawley at about 8:15am. It must have happened only minutes before I got there, because the first police car was only just arriving, and there was no traffic jam. By the time I got to Crawley they were reporting that the A23 was closed and traffic was tailing back for miles.

But if you think that means I'll have no patients today, think again. My first appointment turned up forty minutes early, and my second was twenty minutes ahead of schedule. As the receptionist said to me, "They must be putting something in the tea around here this morning". Mind you, she's currently wearing a pair of flashing Santa earrings, so I'm not sure she's the voice of sanity.

To be honest, I'm hoping no one turns up this afternoon. Lisa's been kind enough to give me a cold for Christmas, and right now I'm so close to losing my voice, I'll soon be forced to call my patients by sign language. Actually, that would probably be a good thing. I've already wished two Hindus a Merry Christmas this morning, so it might stop me putting my foot in it.

As if that wasn't enough to contend with, I'm also feeling slightly rough after going on a mini pub crawl last night. Admittedly I drank nothing but Diet Cokes all evening, but the caffeine withdrawal is hitting me hard. One of my colleagues is emigrating to Sweden on January 3rd (was it something I said?) so I went straight from the hospital to the nearest pub last night for a farewell get-together, before jumping in the car and heading off for Christmas drinks with my old pharmacy colleagues. Somehow we managed to choose the only pub in Brighton that was holding a quiz night, so every time I got into a meaningful conversation, I was interrupted by a man with a microphone asking us to name the capital of Bolivia. By the end of the night I was more hoarse than Dobbin.

But undeterred, Lisa, Amelie and I are heading off to Wiltshire in the morning to spend Christmas with Big Sis. The roads might be treacherous, but on the plus side, the boot of my car is so full of gifts that if we crash, people are going to think Santa's sleigh has come down on the M4. We could end up bringing festive cheer to half of Berkshire.