9 February 2019

Book of the month - 'This is Going to Hurt' by Adam Kay

Book of the month - 'This is Going to Hurt' by Adam Kay

It's been a long time since I've sat down to chat about my favourite book of the month, but it's something I really want to bring back to my blog for 2019.

This is Going to Hurt has been all over my Instagram and Twitter feeds for months now, and I'd put off reading it because I'm just not *that* into anything that resembles non-fiction or some kind of memoir. But I was surprised by how much I adored it.

The book is told by an ex-junior doctor, talking about his struggles working in a gynaecology department for the NHS. He discusses what it's like moving up the ranks, the kind of pressures put on you, and really highlights the NHS crisis in a personal way. One of the most memorable stories for me in the book was a little snippet about him being pulled over by the police one night because of dangerous driving. He was so absolutely exhausted at the end of his shift that he could not drive a car, and yet he was absolutely expected to deliver babies safely. More than a little terrifying.

Entwined in his personal tales regarding work are a whole lot of technical terms and phrases, which are all explained in endnotes so that everyone can understand exactly what's going on. I loved this aspect of it, although learning what an episiotomy is is something that I'll never be able to un-imagine (women are Gods). 

There are some absolutely hilarious scenes in the book mixed in with some harrowing ones, which lead up to the author explaining the situation which finally took him over the edge into not wanting to be a junior doctor. I genuinely laughed out loud at some moments, and the switch in tone to discuss a traumatic incident was incredibly well done. This ability to evoke emotion in the reader and move between emotions with ease is one of the key reasons why it makes an excellent book.

This is something I've been recommending to honestly everyone ever since I read it, and probably will be doing for months to come. It was my first read of the year and has set such a high standard for things, that I'm genuinely wondering if it will get to 2020 before I read a better book?

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  1. This sounds really interesting. I *do* love reading non-fiction and memoirs, and I've read quite a few by doctors (it seems that doctors are either AMAZING at writing, or they're straight-up terrible; there's no in-between), and the fact that they're expected to work while being so fatigued has always been something that concerns me as well. The doctor-authored books I've read have all pertained to the US medical system, so we have the added problem of patients not coming in until basically their entire body is falling apart, because they can't afford to be seen before, which makes it extra difficult for the doctor to provide care when so many things are failing.

    Episiotomies are, fortunately, falling out of style in the gynecology world- I think I remember reading they never evidence-based anyway, and the more progressive doctors refuse to do them these days (instead opting to gently provide pressure and support, so that the mother doesn't tear). I had one with my son, and while the procedure itself wasn't horrible, it made recovery a lot more difficult. I was very glad to not have one with my daughter almost twelve years later!

    I'm glad you enjoyed this so much! I've been having a great year of reading so far as well. There are just so many great books out there. :)

    1. I really want to read more this year! Oooh I hadn't even considered the US system - I'd love to hear your recommendations of good US-based medical books like this?

      Steph x


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