Friday 7th December 1990 At home 21.17
Mum always insisted that we had to wait for Dad to come home from work before having dinner. Tonight, he hadn’t arrived until 9:15. He looked defeated.
“Oh, Desmond! You must have been so busy.” Mum was very sympathetic whenever he came home late. Declan and I just got annoyed if we were hungry.
“The flu really hit us today, Daphne. To start with, Andrea and Mary were off sick. They were both fine, yesterday, but flat out today. Then, the phones didn’t stop ringing. All our appointments were gone before 9.30 am. I did double-booked surgeries all day. Dr Lewis had 17 requests for home visits. She did 14 of them this morning, an emergency surgery this afternoon and the last 3 visits on her way home. Penny Parry was rushing around trying to calm everyone down but only made things worse. By the time we stopped for a very late coffee, everyone was frazzled. Harriet refused to have a drink. She said it would make her palpitations even worse.”
“No wonder you were so late, Desmond.”
“This batter looks remarkably crispy and light, Daphne.” Dad said. He obviously did not want to say anything else about his difficult day. Declan and I had heard enough anyway. We all tucked into our food.
“Listen, Dennis,” Dad had half a sausage poised on his fork. It was dripping with Mum’s unctuous onion gravy. “I am afraid I’m going to have to ask you to come in to help out after school next week. You are just as capable as me of telling our patients that they don’t need antibiotics for the flu.”
“I can’t, Dad. I’ve got loads of homework.”
“Dennis!” Mum exclaimed. “You were just telling me that you’ve got an easy week next week.”
“I didn’t mean it was that easy.”
“Isn’t there teachers’ training on Monday?” She continued.
“Mum!” I groaned.
Dad raised his eyebrows. “I had forgotten about that, Dennis. That’s perfect! You can come in and help. Monday is always very busy. It will be better than moping around at home.”