book club: this is going to hurt

From cover to cover in 2 days. 2 days. I could not get through the comedic chaos written into this book quick enough.

As someone who has an interest in the medical profession (and who still wants to ‘someday’ be a paramedic – whenever ‘someday’ is) I was intrigued by this book, even before it was recommended.

So why on earth it took me the best part of a year to buy, who knows!

If I’m watching TV in the living room you’ll hear it a mile away. There’s usually the sound of sirens, telephones and beeping machines, along with screaming patients and lots of swearing. My obsession with medical programmes is hard to miss.

Whether it’s 24 Hours in A&E, 999 What’s Your Emergency?, Helicopter Heroes, Countryside Rescue, Ambulance… you’ll not be short of gory injuries and tales from medical staff. My fascination over guts, gore but also the intricacies of the medical world have left me with a serious interest that’s now spanned most of my life.

Picking up this book, there was no doubt in my mind that I’d enjoy it. The topic alone I knew would be interesting, and Kay’s inclusion of terminology and explanations had me convinced it was going to make my top 10, if not 5, all time favourite books.

And I was right.

There is a clue is in the title, though. It is going to hurt.

From humorous anecdotes to matter of fact statements that left me shocked and upset, Adam Kay has mastered my emotions and left me reeling, but more importantly, grateful and passionate.

Passionate about our National Health Service and all it takes on and delivers, and passionate about one day being a tiny cog in the mechanism of it all. (Yep – it didn’t put me off.) Instead of persuading me that joining the NHS would be a bad thing, it did the opposite.

I empathise wholeheartedly with Kay, and his execution of the book is heroic. He demonstrates the reality of life in the NHS, spanning the six years he worked as a Junior Doctor.

“I should have had counselling — in fact, my hospital should have arranged it. But there’s a mutual code of silence that keeps help from those who need it most.”

As a rebuke to Jeremy Hunt’s remarks about pay and working conditions, the rhetoric tells the brutal truth of what the workforce of the NHS are up against. The book gives a rare and honest insight into the life Kay had, and his comedic personality leaves you laughing out loud or unsure if he’s joking, or if it’s that bad.

Kay reflects that the hearts of those working in the NHS are holding it together. The ‘good few’ dedicated individuals who have energy left after all the overtime and double shifts. It is an incredible story of the reality of anyone working in the medical profession. They’re humans. Just like us.

Hats off to Kay, and to doctors everywhere, NHS or not, for taking on such a commitment.

Whether you love the NHS or find it painful and frustrating, this book is definitely worth a read.

love sophie

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