28 November 2019

Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas

I loved Adam Kay's first book This is Going to Hurt and found it literally laugh out loud funny so I couldn't wait to get my hands on his second book.

Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas is also full of funny stories. There were lots of delightful accounts of the eye-watering things people do to themselves before ending up in A&E; guaranteed to make you wince.

Adam Kay explains medical terms as he goes along so that neither the jargon nor the explanation get in the way of the story.

I absolutely loved his first book but in this book it felt like he'd really found his feet and was comfortable to be a little more vulnerable. As though he was sharing more of himself. I liked that. There is one particular, quite harrowing, reminder that doctors are very human and often have to face horrendous things in order to save their patients.

For me, there is a certain amount of nostalgia in reading Adam Kay's books. I worked as an NHS medical secretary for more than a decade and enjoyed being part of the team. It felt an honour when junior doctors took a few minutes to relax in my office and share their triumphs and woes and stresses.

The NHS is extremely demanding and it was usual for many medical secretaries, like the junior doctors and nurses, to put in a tonne of extra hours every week in order to keep things ticking over. We ENT secretaries frequently worked bank holidays and Saturdays, and 10-12 hour days were the norm. While I wouldn't want to go back to such a heavy workload, I have very fond memories of my time in the NHS and am thankful to Adam Kay for reminding me of the 'good old days'.

I've given this book 5*.

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