Book – This Is Going To Hurt

Author – Adam Kay

Year – 2017

Pages – 280

Genre – Autobiography

Recommended to me by Rebecca Coker

Being a teacher is tough. I know that there are constant jokes about how much time we get off and how summer is a wonderful open expanse of freedom for us that everyone else can only dream of, but outside of this, it is long hours, difficult children, ever changing parameters and untold stress. I will argue my case all day long on this, but there is one thing I would never do, and that is to suggest that we have it anywhere near as bad as someone who works for the NHS.

The National Health Service is the greatest thing that Great Britain has ever created in my eyes. The fact that we can reliably live our lives safe in the knowledge that a medical misfortune is not going to financially cripple us is incredible. But I think most of us are aware that the doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals who offer us this security, are often pushed to the absolute limit as a poorly funded NHS creaks onwards.

Inspired to write this book by the junior doctors strike several years back, Adam Kay is a stand up and comedy writer who spent many years as a doctor, working mainly in labour wards. I remember this book being released and was expecting it to be a harrowing tale of what it is like being a working doctor in today’s hospitals. What I was not anticipating was it to be so hilarious. From the very off, Kay is incredibly funny, with just the right level of amusing anecdote to witty banter, with self deprecation and withering critique of the way things are done, all wrapped up to make this genuinely laugh out loud funny at points.

Kay probably has enough stories about ridiculous objects found inside people’s nether regions, stupidity of prospective parents and red tape on wards to fill several books, and for a while you consider this to be the main take away of the book. I won’t lie, I was marginally disappointed for a while. I was looking for some real pathos and thought that this would be the book to deliver it.

Well in the end I was not let down. The writing on the wall starts somewhat slowly, but increasingly the outlook is bleak for our junior doctor. I was left open mouthed at some of the things that he has to endure – we all know the long hours, but the yearly moves between hospitals in the same catchment areas is ridiculous, especially when you consider that these areas include “Kent, Surrey and Sussex” or, well, “Scotland”. The personal toll on Adam Key’s life is increasingly noticeable, and not all together pleasant to see. Despite it all, he continues to be so funny, that it almost sneaks in, until crashing down as it progresses.

It is a must read. I am squeamish as anything, so not every line is for me, and I would not recommend it to you if you are expecting any time soon, but otherwise this should be compulsory reading, and I am totally unsurprised by the critical acclaim it has recieved.