Title: This is Going to Hurt: Secrets of a Junior Doctor
Author: Adam Kay
Publication: 7th September 2017 by Picador
Genre: Non-fiction, medical, biography
Around the Year in 52 Books – A book about or inspired by real events
Welcome to the life of a junior doctor: 97-hour weeks, life and death decisions, a constant tsunami of bodily fluids, and the hospital parking meter earns more than you.
Scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt provides a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line. Hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking, this diary is everything you wanted to know – and more than a few things you didn’t – about life on and off the hospital ward.
I was first introduced to this book when the author was in dictionary corner on 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown. He read snippets from his book and I couldn’t help but snort laugh. I had to buy it and definitely don’t regret doing so.
This book consists of extracts from a diary Adam Kay kept whist he was a Junior Doctor working for the NHS. The book is funny, heart warming, heartbreaking and, as he was an obs & gynae doctor, sometime disgusting. It was eye opening to see just how many hours doctors are expected to do, on little sleep, food or toileting, to see the effect the job had on their families, their social lives and their mental health.
As it is a collection of diary entries, I will share my favourites.
“Three a.m. attendance at labour ward triage. Patient RO is twenty-five years old and thirty weeks into her first pregnancy. She complains of a large number of painless spots on her tongue. Diagnosis: taste buds.”
“I missed what the argument was about, but a woman storms out of gynae outpatients screaming at the clinic sister, ‘I pay your salary! I pay your salary!’ The sister yells back, ‘Can I have a raise then?'”
“‘In order to encourage use of public transport’ there is no staff car park at the hospital – an admirable sentiment that would land me with a two-hour-twenty-minute commute each way.”
“Prescribing a morning-after pill in A&E. The patient says, ‘I slept with three guys last night. Will one pill be enough?'”
“Sending a patient home from the day surgery unit following laparoscopic sterilization. I tell her she can have sex again as soon as she feels ready, but to use alternative contraception until her next period. I nod at her husband and say, ‘That means he has to wear a condom.’ I can’t quite work out why their faces are a picture of horror, melting like the Nazis at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. What have I said? It’s perfectly good advice, right? I look at them both again, and realize the man is actually her father.”
A book which will have you going through a roller coaster of emotions and leaving me with the feeling that maybe my work hours aren’t so bad as I thought. I already respected those who work in medicine but even more so after reading this.