Monday, 2 February 2009


Snow has affected Urbs Beata today, as it has throughout much of the country. I had quite a stress-free day as several patients cancelled their appointments because they couldn't make it to the surgery. And telephone calls and visits were light, as though everyone realised that travel was difficult and one shouldn't bother the doctor except in an emergency. But I couldn't drive home from the surgery this evening because steep gradients had brought the traffic to a halt. After trying for half an hour I turned round and put my car back in the surgery car park.

And walked home. Fortunately (as I so often am) I was wearing a warm coat with a hood, and stout walking shoes. There was only light snowfall and a mild breeze. It is but twenty minutes walk from the surgery to my house, and I would willingly walk there every day if we were not obliged to do home visits. As I strode along past the queues of cars that were going nowhere, my heart suddenly lifted. The suburban landscape was beautiful under its covering of snow, I was free, and I was having fun! I passed parents dragging sledges with their excited young children, and groups of youngsters chattering on mobile phones. As I left the jam of cars behind me, trapped behind two vehicles that had collided, the road became quieter. Turning off onto a side road there was complete silence apart from the crunch of my steps in the snow. The sodium lights bathed the snow-covered street in a golden glow. Mrs Brown was looking out for me and the front door opened as I arrived. The hallway was warm and delicious smells were emerging from the kitchen. What a wonderful end to the day: the hunter was home from the hill!

This sort of thing doesn't happen very often, but it was a welcome reminder of how good it can be to escape from our cars which have trapped us. While I was trying to drive home I was stressed, worried whether the car would slip on the road, whether I would hit something, whether something would hit me, and whether the roads would be blocked. I had little control over the situation. As soon as I parked and walked I became my own master again.

We should have snow more often.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad that the snow had such a positive effect, and prompted such a cheerful and easy-going post.

When I read about your walk home I couldn't help wondering whether you could perhaps walk to and fro more often, leaving your car at the surgery if it was needed there for home visits?

Two of the GPs at my local surgery travel by bicycle. They set quite a good example to the rest of us - especially now that they've decided to wear helmets and high visibility gear. They put their bags in baskets on the back, and presumably use the bikes for home visits too.

XE said...

Snow's lovely, so long as you don't get too much of it! (Spending any length of time in Canada pretty much ruins the appeal, but I do remember when I used to enjoy snow!)

I have to agree with ELiT, perhaps you could leave your car at the surgery from time to time and walk, seeing as you enjoyed your stroll so much. It's likely a great way to release the stress from the day as well, before you get home.

[Sidenote: it's neat that you guys still do home visits over there! In Canada home visits are exceptionally rare nowadays, except for in a few cases of palliative care patients.]

Anonymous said...

This story really resonates with me as last week we had no central heating (boiler packed up) in freezing temps and our home very quickly lost it's appeal.

Now that the boiler is fixed, I can appreciate the wonder that snow brings and enjoy the fun.

Thanks for your heart-warming story!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post.

I'm glad to read you had some fun... (or "fun"?). You should enjoy your life, as well as you are trying to let other people (your patients) enjoy it for as long as is reasonably possible.

Go on, have some more of this thing called "fun"...

Anonymous said...

very nice your blog..

Mimi said...

I can't wait to read more of your blog, I linked in through Jellyhead. I love a snow day when we all just get to sit around and drink hot chocolate and best of all *stay home*.

std facts said...

Hi! I thought your blog was cool and will visit often. In the meantime I can recommend

Dr Andrew Brown said...

Thanks everyone for your kind comments.

(Sorry for the delay in replying.)

andrew gallop said...

I am glad you can always seem to make the best things happen in your daily life. This is good for you and every one who read your post thanks.