And You Think You’ve Had A Bad Day At Work
My Musings on Adam Kay’s unputdownable “This Is Going To Hurt”
“Today crossed the line from everyday patient idiocy to me checking around the room for hidden cameras. After a lengthy discussion with a patient’s husband about how absolutely no condoms fit him, I establish he’s pulling them right down over his balls.”
Rarely does a biography, of a seemingly nondescript junior doctor at that, make for riveting reading. But Kay’s magnum-opus blew my perception out of the water. It’s simultaneously hysterical, heart-wrenching, urgent, personal and profound — a warts-and-all, tell-tale exposé of the unquantifiable peaks & troughs of a doctor’s life in the NHS, told with acerbic wit and grotesque angst. A remarkably poignant read that consistently makes you guffaw and then compensates by repeatedly punching you in the gut till your eyes water forcing you to take them off the page, craving a breather from the frenetic, discombobulating, hot-mess of Kay’s lucid prose. Think “The Thick of It” meets “E.R.” set to the “Mad Max: Fury Road” soundtrack. Visceral.
This Is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Medical Resident
Shared via Kindle. Description: In the US edition of this international bestseller, Adam Kay channels Henry Marsh and…
Written as a series of diary entries spanning 12 years of Kay’s multi-hospital voyage from a doe-eyed teenager “who arbitrarily put a tick next to ‘medicine’ on their UCAS form” to a Junior Doctor thrust headfirst into a labour ward war-zone to a Senior Registrar as the most experienced OB/GYN specialist fighting fires at the worker and managerial levels, the book touches on the full spectrum of human emotion, hitting notes of humour, hope, grief, desperation and fury with unflinching regularity. No punches are pulled, and no blushes are spared. The enormity of the stress leaps out of every page — endless night shifts, missed Christmases, broken relationships, dying babies, comically severe accidents — all simultaneous pressure-points contributing to already acutely trying circumstances — lack of training, the dearth of equipment, sleep-deprivation, language barriers, IT breakdowns, zero rewards, non-existent counselling, huge doctor turnovers. You can’t help but be enraged at the shambolic state-of-affairs and lack of accountability. Kay to his credit channels his rage against this mammoth machine into creating a wonderfully moving, engaging account with a very succinct and actionable takeaway: perhaps it’s finally time to care for the carers.
Reading it over a single weekend made me realise how skilled, selfless and hardworking people — in all professions — need to be not taken for granted and given at the very least the respect, latitude and autonomy to ensure they can perform to the best of their abilities and Kay’s account is almost exactly counter to our innate needs for satisfaction that I outlined in my previous post. A dire indictment of an overworked, unmotivated, under-rewarded, workforce teetering on the verge of depression and longing for a flighty escape.
And then the small matter of a global pandemic hits us.