Over the last few weeks of summer it felt like everything in my life suddenly went tits up. If you are American and reading this, then I should explain that this is our British equivalent of ‘when life gives you lemons…..’, but actually it’s far more coarse and far more aptly describes how things feel in those days, weeks or even months. During both the good and bad times, I always need two things; my friends and a good book. However what do you read when everything you know is heading sideways? Seriously, answers below please because in this instance I could deal with the recommendations. In my particular case, I sure as hell didn’t want to read anything about romance or relationships, but equally I didn’t want to read anything too dark either and so I picked up a book that I had heard discussed in England, This Is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay.
Adam Kay is a comedian and writer who, in his previous existence, worked as a junior doctor for the UK’s National Health Service. Those of you know who know me personally will know that I am the world’s most squeamish person. I absolutely cannot handle gore of any kind, yet weirdly at this juncture in my life, I handled it just fine. Kay’s autobiographical tale takes the form of diary entries written between 2004 and 2010. It’s both funny and awful, confirming your worst suspicions about some of the care you have been given, whilst at the same time making you laugh out loud. Horror and sadness abound in equal measure, but it’s all so very readable even when you just want to cringe.
You know from the very start of this book that Kay is no longer a doctor. He couldn’t take it anymore and from these stories you can very clearly see why and yet, even having read it, I would take the NHS over any private healthcare system that America offers. The NHS is there for everyone in equal measure, richer or poorer, at either end of life. It’s a system I have been through and one that saved my life and the life of my daughter. It is woefully underfunded and terribly unfair to those that work for it and yet, as a patient, it is the single best system available in the world and therefore I am thankful for having been able to experience it.
Read this book for the laughs and for understanding. Do not pick this book up if you think you might ever want to go into medicine!