New New New!
First thing's first... I wrote a little something about the new book for my publisher's website here and below.
You might think that being a doctor has enough stresses associated with it: the sick and dying patients, the endless targets, the attempts to appease cantankerous consultants and the diet consisting entirely of what you can get out of a vending machine. But eclipsing all this is the fact that, as a junior doctor, no sooner have you got the hang of what you’re supposed to be doing and when, than you’re uprooted, like an unloved bedding plant that’s grown too leggy, and plonked, unceremoniously, somewhere else with little thought given to whether you’re going to survive. And so it was with me. No sooner had I finished my job working with the homeless and people addicted to drugs, than I was catapulted back into hospital, pager in hand, dazed and more than a little confused. And the patients I found myself confronted with didn’t help this. Surely the woman in her 80s trying to kiss me hello wasn’t really my mum? And why did one of my patients insist on moving all the furniture on the ward, while another continuously accused me of stealing his life savings? Within twenty-four hours I had gone from hanging about on street corners, wearing jeans and a T-shirt and bribing patients with burgers so I could check their blood pressure, to being a proper, tie-wearing, stethoscope-waving medic again. But this time, working in a geriatrics ward and with people with dementia. THE DOCTOR WILL SEE YOU NOW charts that year and tells the stories of the people I met along the way.
But the book also tackles some of the difficult issues facing older people and the NHS in general. The idea for the book first started many years ago, after a summer holiday before starting medical school when I worked in a nursing home where many of the residents had dementia. The experience had a profound impact on me. While working in the nursing home I witnessed harrowing abuse and neglect. Yet this experience was in contrast to another job I did later that summer, working in a day hospital, which aimed to value each patient regardless of their age or level of impairment. These two experiences made me want to go back and work on the coalface with older people now I was a doctor, to see for myself what the issues were and what could be done. What I discovered was that far from bleak or depressing, working with this group of people is fascinating, frequently heart-warming and life affirming and, at times, funny. While I wanted to write a book that didn’t shy away from discussing the issues of neglect and disenfranchisement that many older people experience, I wanted to write one that was also a celebration of the countless dedicated, inspiring and passionate individuals who work in the NHS and to show the difference they can make to their patients’ lives. Against this backdrop there’s also the stories of the people of all ages I meet while on-call in A&E. There are deaths and a birth and everything in between.
Of course, the book also features the friends, colleagues and flatmates who featured in my first two books, TRUST ME, I’M A JUNIOR DOCTOR and WHERE DOES IT HURT? Ruby and Flora, Supriya and Lewis are there with support, cups of tea and, in the case of Ruby, a pile of washing up that needs to be done. Has her taste in men improved? You’ll have to find out for yourself. I hope you enjoy the book.