So it’s been well over a month since I got the email from the GMC to tell me they’d reinstated my licence. After that flurry of conflicting emotions, all the media coverage and the strained conversations with friends and family, it’s now all feeling like a bit of an anti-climax.
I’m still going through the process – they are processing my DBS check at the moment apparently. They initially said I wouldn’t need one, but since the contract for bringing back retired docs went to Capita (or ‘Crapita’, as they are affectionately known by the medical profession!) the goalposts have moved. In the Facebook for returning doctors that I’m part of, there have been multiple reports of having to fill out paperwork twice because it was lost, or being sent the wrong documents. Communication is slow and it’s all very confusing and disorganised. Surprise, surprise.
On the bright side, I’m being told my literally every single one of my currently practicing colleagues that it’s good that I’m not back yet because the PPE situation continues to be dire. And not only that, Trusts are continually changing the guidelines to limit the use of PPE. One example would be classifying CPR as a non-aerosol-generating procedure so staff performing it don’t have to don full PPE. Now, correct me if I’m wrong here, but I reckon jumping up and down on a person’s chest so hard that you could literally break their ribs might result in the forceful expulsion of a teensy bit of air from their lungs. Oh, and the Resus Council agrees.
I’m still really confused about what’s actually going on in hospitals. I know we’ve got speciality doctors being redeployed and non-essential clinics and surgeries being cancelled, so staffing levels appear to be better than normal (perhaps adequate, as opposed to woefully inadequate?) But it seems like it’s patchy – according to my contacts, some shifts are a lot busier than others, and their rotas are still brutal. It’s not sustainable.
As for me, I’m just carrying on with motherhood mostly. Being the sole source of entertainment for an 18 month old is absolutely draining and at times quite boring if I’m honest. I’m also much more anxious and strained than usual. Insomnia is plaguing me. I feel bad for feeling like this when I know other people have it worse – I keep reminding myself to be grateful for the things we do have, like our health, our garden, our daily walk… But I think everyone is struggling in their own way in this most unnatural of times.
We’ve transitioned into a new normal of sorts. My husband and I have our new roles (he is now the official food-shopper!) We’ve got projects on the go, like the veg patch and a bemused attempt at a sourdough starter. I’ve also got my Real Reflective Practices every Monday, which are brilliant fun and hopefully are proving useful, and every Saturday we treat ourselves to a takeaway. It’s a quiet, contained sort of existence physically at least, if not emotionally.
So as bored as I am, in some ways I’m dreading what comes next. Will they need me? When? What will they ask me to do? And will I say yes? Futile questions to which as yet I have no answers. I guess all I can do for now is just enjoy this safe cocoon and try not to think too much about whatever’s ahead, because one thing’s for sure – if there was ever a time to make plans, this is not it.