“So I told them the truth: the hours are terrible, the pay is terrible, the conditions are terrible; you’re underappreciated, unsupported, disrespected and frequently physically endangered. But there’s no better job in the world.”
Why Did I Read This Book?
It has been a while since I last read some non-fiction. I can hardly think of the last non-fiction book I read. I was gifted this by my lovely friend as part of a quarantine book swap we did. We packed up some of our old reads that we no longer wanted and swapped bags at the end of my drive, following the lockdown rules of course. I decided to pick this one to read because I have seen it EVERYWHERE since it came out and I never knew that it was about a junior doctor in the NHS. I suppose what better time to read about the heroes of this country whilst during a global pandemic.
What Did I Think?
This book definitely wasn’t what I was expecting it to be. I thought it would be more personal to the author himself rather than focusing on the individual stories of patients but now that I’ve read it, I love that it was about the patients that he saw and all their different problems and complications. We don’t hear a lot about his personal life, other than that his relationship with his girlfriend at the time was undoubtedly suffering due to the long hours and the unexpected 16-hour shifts.
It makes me think about everything that NHS staff have to sacrifice to save the lives of others. Relationships, memories, all that fun stuff that you do in your 20’s was put on hold by the author and junior doctor, Adam, because his job needed him more.
It’s not all doom and gloom though I suppose. There are stories in this book that are ultimately heartbreaking and truly shocking but there are also pretty funny stories too. It amazes me that there are some fairly ridiculous people out there. One particular story that stands out to me is the removal of a Kinder Egg from somewhere it DEFINITELY should not have been – not the kind of Kinder surprise anyone wants and especially not after a long 14-hour shift.
“I notice that every patient on the ward has a pulse of 60 recorded in their observation chart so I surreptitiously inspect the healthcare assistant’s measurement technique. He feels the patient’s pulse, looks at his watch and meticulously counts the number of seconds per minute.”
There are also stories within this book that have obviously stemmed from people searching their symptoms, finding little but compelling evidence that it could be the worst-case scenario and voluntarily admitting themselves into hospital to demand urgent medical care. C’mon, we’ve all been there haven’t we? There’s been countless times where I’ve googled my own symptoms and been like yeah, that’s it…the end is near and then just realised that I haven’t drank a single drop of water for three days. Stupid, I know but I still continue to do it don’t I!
However, back to more serious matters…right now, more than ever we are thankful for the NHS and the vital work that the front-line staff are doing every day to cure those with this uncertain illness and to help prevent the spread. These people are heroes. They are giving up their time and putting themselves at risk to ensure that the nation is looked after. I think reading this book really opens your eyes to the amount of hard work these doctors, nurses, paramedics and all hospital staff do and how the NHS just about ‘gets by’ simply because the staff are willing to sacrifice their lives for the health of others. Let us never forget what everyone in the NHS is doing for the UK right now, because without it, things could be a hell of a lot worse.
Stay at home. Save Lives. Protect the NHS.