This Is Going To Hurt – Adam Kay

Hi Everyone!

I hope January is treating you well and the new year has got off to a splendid start. Today I want to share with you a book that I absolutely loved for so many reasons. The book: This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay.

I read this book because (without going into too much detail) I spent a lot of time over the Christmas and New Year period going backwards and forwards from hospital. I saw first hand the staff who after 12 hours were still there, with a smile looking after a small armies worth of patients. I felt for them, wholeheartedly.

Adam Kay was a junior doctor for 6 years. This book is essentially made up of his diaries from 2004 to 2010. Whilst it’s incredibly witty, it does show the extraordinary work of the NHS. There’s also tears along the way too.

 

What’s it all about?

This book shows us the journey from being a teen, choosing your life career to the time when Kay decided that enough was enough. This first hand account of the daily grind at the NHS shows exactly what happens on the front line every single day.

“Reading back, it felt extreme and unreasonable in terms of what was expected of me, but at the time I’d just accepted it as part of the job.”

Rather than spoiling a number of the anecdotes here, I wanted to share with you just a few of my favourites. The first is when Kay experienced his first ‘degloving’ injury. An eighteen year old patient was out celebrating (who hasn’t been out and done something we regret the next morning?!) when he decided to take a shorter route home, via a lamp post. Naturally, there were some injuries to the penis which made my eyes water!

“It brought to mind a remnant of spaghetti stuck to the bottom of the bowl by a smear of tomato sauce… when asked if the penis could be ‘regloved’…Mr Binns, the consultant, calmly explained that the ‘glove’ was spread evenly up eight foot of lamp post in West London.”

However, it is the reality of the situation that stands out, arguably more, than the stories from the wards. In an entry from Christmas Day, Kay reveals how he has overslept in his car. The hours are long, the patients often challenging and doctors are usually exhausted.

“It takes me a while to establish where I am or why. Good news: it seems I fell asleep in my car after my shift last night and I’m already at work, in the hospital car park.”

Another hilarious anecdote that I enjoyed in this book was about car parking. As you may be aware, hospital car parks are incredibly expensive. However, Kay reveals that there is no staff car parking due to a health initiative. Therefore, to save himself a longer commute, he uses the visitors car park.

“Today, however, the jig is up: my car has a clamp and a £120 fine for removal jammed under the windscreen wiper…The parking attendant has scrawled on the back, Long fucking labour, pal.”

The diaries are funny and honest and yet sometimes completely unbelievable. The following anecdote made me laugh and cry. Kay remarks on how patients seem to enjoy placing various objects into different areas of the body.

“Christmas in particular has rewarded me well, with a stuck fairy (‘Do you want it back?’ ‘Yeah, bit of a rinse and she’ll be grand,’ a grossly swollen vulva from a mistletoe contact allergy and mild vaginal burns from a patient stuffing a string of lights inside and turning them on.”

As we progress to the end of the book, the laughs end too. Kay reflects on his time as a doctor. The difficult outcomes and the reality of the situation that every single day our doctors are faced with life or death decisions. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, things still go wrong.

“If you’re going to survive working in his profession, you have to convince yourself these horrors are part of your job. You can’t pay any attention to the man behind the curtain – your own sanity relies on it.”

 

Overview:

I loved this book. It’s honest, compelling and heartbreakingly sad at times. I feel it does show the complete picture of our NHS. I have a lot of respect for them. The majority are excellent and care for their patients. I appreciated the letter at the end of the book to the Secretary of State. It’s honest and real and this is why this book is brilliant. I urge you all to read it.

Big love xxx

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15 Comments

Filed under Book review, NHS

15 responses to “This Is Going To Hurt – Adam Kay

  1. Great review! I’ve got this on my shelf, and really looking forward to reading this! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Have you read When Breathe becomes Air.. if Not give it a try.. happy reading and blogging!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review – I completely agree with everything you said about this book! 😛

    I think the hilarious nature of the anecdotes somehow emphasise the sad points of the book too- it’s like the high points highlight the low points even more. I also agree that the letter at the back of the book was a perfect way to close the diaries and, for me personally, it made me all the more angry when politicians continue to underfund the NHS and slowly chip away at bits of it. Living in the UK, I think I take it for granted and this book helped me realise how special it is to have a service like the NHS that’s free for all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw thanks for your comment. I agree with all the points you’re making. There’s good and bad and things that need fixing. However, we really need to value it more than most of us do. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and stopping by. X

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sounds excellent – the honest accounts are the best, aren’t they? Thanks for a great review. Hope all is well with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: 2018 Summary | booksandbakes1

  6. A LOT of humour in the book, and insight into the problems too.

    Like

  7. I knew you’d reviewed this book and as I just finished it this morning popped over to read your thoughts. Great review and summing up of the book. Whilst laughing at the crazy situations and in awe of the medical staff (witnessed first hand this winter and couldn’t fault a single moment) I’m left in despair! It is a serious indictment of endless governments of the treatment and respect of the staff, beggars belief why they think that working hours and conditions that would not be acceptable in other professions are fine here, where there are literally non-stop life and death situations!

    I read this book in 24 hours and haven’t stopped talking about since … there is now a queue to read it next. Not sure I want my teenage son to look at it though … nor any young person thinking of having a baby! It would have terrified me … the experiences he describes explain a lot of the havoc surrounding the birth of my son when at one stage my mother grabbed the doctor by the arm as he was about to exit yet again without taking a look.

    Like

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