Clinical Coding Coffee Shop - Christmas Edition

After an exhausting 9-hour shift all I wanted to do was go home, put on my twinkly tree lights and enjoy a glass of red wine curled up on the sofa. Perhaps even watch Love Actually for the billionth time. It’s my favourite Christmas film. This evening would not involve a glass of red wine, or my sofa, or Love Actually because I’d promised to meet my old coding colleagues at the Coffee Shop.


I parked up outside the coffee shop and paused for a moment, looking for an opportunity to make a mad dash out the car and safely to the other side of the street without getting splattered by oncoming traffic. I always forgot how busy Baker Street was until I tried to cross it!

The coffee shop door had the most magnificent wreath I’ve ever seen. Even in the dark the holly berries shone brighter than Rudolph’s nose. It top trumped my mum’s wreath and she took that much pride in her wreath she should have been called Mrs Wreath. I entered the coffee shop and the brass bell made its usual tinkle. Last time I was here the shop was dressed for Halloween, this time it had transformed into a magical Winter Wonderland. My eyes were immediately drawn to the staircase which was dressed in a pine and mistletoe frosted garland. The wreath on the door had blown me away but this was something else. The shop smelt like Christmas; I could smell cinnamon, mince pies, mulled wine, hot cocoa and pine cones all at once.

I could see Clare, Benjamin and Mandy huddled round a table in the back corner, I tried to catch their eye to let them know I was here, but they were engrossed in conversation, so I made my way to the counter to order a drink. The counter was laden with spiced orange cake, mince pies, yule log, apricot and brandy Christmas cake, trifle, baked Alaska and pavlova. You name a type of Christmas cake, it was on that counter.

“We’ve got a special on over Christmas love – A slice of our infamously lethal fruitcake and a glass of mulled wine for a fiver”

“I had no idea how I was going to choose from the selection you’ve got but that’s decided it for me, I’ll take the special please!” I chuckled greedily.

While I waited for my cake to be cut and mulled wine poured, I glanced around the coffee shop. Every table was full. There were mother and daughters with bags bursting with Christmas shopping. There was a couple by the window with ice skates under the table, I wondered if they had been to the pop up ice rink in the city centre. The large table by the staircase with grandparents and four grandchildren shrieking and stuffing their faces with yule log. I love Christmas.

I made my way over to the back corner where Clare, Mandy and Benjamin were sat with my fruitcake and mulled wine.

“Hey guys! So good to see you” I interjected excitedly.

“Allie!! I see you went for the special too. Getting in the Christmas spirit?!” Clare laughed and gave me one of her huge hugs.

“I’m definitely in the Christmas spirit this year, my Christmas presents are wrapped and under the tree, my Christmas cards are done and ready to post, I’m just ready for all the fun to begin now” I bragged.

“I wish I was half as organised as you Allie, I’ve just been telling Mandy and Clare how busy I’ve been, I’ve not bought a single Christmas present yet. Contracting is making it practically impossible. I don’t get paid for holidays now, so along with the bank holidays I will have to take unpaid over Christmas I daren’t take anymore off” Benjamin rolled his eyes.

“I did try and warn Benji of all of this before he left to go contracting remember? I specifically said don’t take your holidays, pension and sick pay for granted and be lured by the contracting big notes!” Clare scoffed whilst take a bite of her fruitcake.

“Aaaaaaah! but Clare, I still get paid holidays and can’t take any time of over Christmas because our place only lets two people off at any one time and it’s not my year this year. You’ll get there Benji even if you have to fight with everyone whilst you’re doing your Christmas shopping” I confessed sipping my mulled wine.

“What about you Mandy are you off at all over the Christmas period?” Clare investigated.

“Nope! I’m working away in Leeds right up until Christmas Eve. We haven’t even put our Christmas decorations up yet because we’re that pressed with deadlines we can’t spare an hour to put them up. I could do with some of your Christmas cheer Allie because I am NOT feeling it this year. All I keep thinking about is all these bank holidays and all of the notes which could have been coded in that time.” Mandy crowed whilst wrapping her hands around her cup of black coffee to warm them up.

“The January deadline is going to be the tightest one yet, I don’t think we’ll make it” Benjamin whinged.

“Will you guys lighten up! ITS CHRISTMAS! AND YOUR MOANING ABOUT BANK HOLIDAYS! Yes, making the deadlines will be tight but have we ever not hit a deadline yet? I know you guys are working in different Trust’s now but we ALWAYS made deadline day when we were a Team and I know you will all make the January one too.” I encouraged taking HUGE gulp of mulled wine.


“Your right Allie, we will all make the deadline because we always do, we’re clinical coders! TEAM WORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK!” Clare cheered enthusiastically.

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