Books: ‘This Is Going To Hurt: Secret Diaries Of A Junior Doctor’ by Adam Kay

I had been meaning to pick this one up for a while and so when we popped into Waterstones the other day, it was the first thing that went into the pile (because do you ever leave a book shop with only one book?! Or is it only me that leaves with a whole pile?)

From the first page I was completely hooked, and could not put it down for two days until I finished it – the absolute definition of a page-turner!

Adam Kay qualified from medical school and started his next stage of his career as a junior doctor, working in the hospital. During this time, he kept diaries of the cases he came across, from the sublime to the ridiculous, and that is essentially what this book is – a selection of these diary entries. It gives an open account of his experience in the NHS, his own career progression and the inevitable highs, lows and complete hilarity that come with that.

“Upon removal of the remote control in theatre, however, we notice it has a condom on it, so maybe it wasn’t a complete accident.”

Adam went on to specialise in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (something which is of particular interest to me, given that I’m currently training to be a midwife) and he tells stories of the most bizarre downstairs-extractions he has had to perform, of placenta-eating mothers and delivering a baby whilst “still erect”, of caesarean sections and behind-the-scenes doctors chats, of missing special events because he had to work and of trying desperately to sustain a life and a relationship outside of the walls of the hospital, of falling asleep in the hospital car park and of what finally led to him leaving his life as a doctor and becoming a writer.

“Yes madam, you will shit during labour….No, there’s nothing I can do to stop it. Although if you’d asked me yesterday I’d have suggested that the massive curry you ate to ‘induce labour’ probably wasn’t going to help matters.”

This book made me laugh out loud – so much so that I must have read at least half of it out loud to M so that he could have a good giggle too – and it also made me cry real genuine tears too. No-one can prepare you for the difficulties and emergencies that happen in hospitals; it’s a blessing and a curse of the job that you never know what your day is going to hold, and Adam shares that really well.

“It’s sink or swim, and you have to learn how to swim because otherwise a ton of patients sink with you.”

I don’t want to give away anything more, so I will just say this – if you like reading a good birth story, if you love the NHS and everything it offers us, if you support the junior doctors, if you want to know more about what goes on in hospitals or how the hierarchy of doctors work, if you love a good giggle, and want to read something that will touch your heart – give this book a read. (All I would say is it’s maybe not for the really squeamish…there were some passages that I read out to M which made him squirm a bit!)

“Patient GL, whose genetic make-up appears to be 50% goji berry recipes and 50% mumsnet posts, has announced that she wants to eat her placenta.”

This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay. Published by Picador. Currently £6.99 at Waterstones.

If you’re interested in the books I’m reading, and the books I want to read, check out my GoodReads profile over at:

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