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Snowstorms, snowbells and the vaccine: February's blog

11th February, 2021

I’m not built for snow days. This is unfortunate, as living in rural Yorkshire they’re pretty common at this time of year and if I try to brave them using a walking stick or crutches, I swiftly resemble Bambi on ice. Fortunately, between snowstorms I’ve managed to steal the odd trip out with Merida, my WHILL Model C (that is when I’m not vaccinating the good people of Leeds), benefitting from the fresh air that so many of us have felt lacking in over the last year. With everything going on in the world, it often seems easier to hide indoors with a book, particularly when it is so cold out. But we all know people who would love to be able to safely get out and about, so I try to remind myself of that when the sofa is looking all-too attractive. This weekend, having broken away from my desk, I found a bank of snowbells poking through – now *that* is a kind of snow I can get on board with!

Fair to say, it has been a wee bit busy working as a frontline doctor, particularly in GP land now we have vaccines to give out. But it has been SO lovely getting to see so many of my patients in person, after a year of mainly phone calls, that I can’t complain. For many of the elderly people I had the honour of vaccinating, that trip to the surgery has been their first time leaving the house in months. Their determination to get to us, even in heavy snow, truly highlighted how much of a wimp I have been about it all. When I met a couple in their mid-70s who had trekked for nearly 90 minutes to the surgery as they hadn’t trusted the roads in the snow, I could only share how very impressed I was! Many have dressed up for the occasion (pro-tip: wear a short-sleeved shirt under all those layers, the jab goes in your upper arm!), putting my scrubs to shame. The lovely folks at TGA made life MUCH easier for our patients and volunteer marshals by loaning us some wheelchairs to help transport people from their cars, across the icy car park and to the clinic. Apparently, they are remarkably comfy (though I think I’ll stick with the independence Merida gives me, personally!).

Hannah Barham-Brown and her WHILL Model C

An absolute highlight of the vaccine clinic so far has been having the inimitable Nicola Adams come to join us for an afternoon, to encourage people to get their ‘jabs’ (she’s a boxer. She Jabs. It was funny in my head).

It’s nice to think we might be nearing the end of a blimmin’ horrible year or so and returning to some semblance of normal. If you’re offered the vaccine, please do take it. In the meantime, keep safe, stay home, and occasionally, if you can, pop out to smell the snowbells.