Posted by: bluelion | November 12, 2015

Let’s read… the stories of a funny GP

Ah, there we go again: ‘snot’. (p.27) However, it’s completely justified here. That’s what I was talking about in this book review. Later, there is a whole chapter on body fluids. But they are not out of place at all. In

#15 Dr. Benjamin Daniels: Confessions of a GP – a year of life, death and earwax (HarperCollins Publishers, 2010)

A laugh out loud account of being a doctor in general practice in the UK. The subtitle tells it perfectly. Amid the hillarious anecdotes are some quite serious ones. When it is more about life and death, less about earwax.

There are two contradicting disclaimers in this book, one at the beginning and one at the end. The latter one is the standard “[a]ny resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities is entirely coincidental” text. At the beginning, however, is this one:

“The events described in this book are based on my experiences as a new GP. For obvious reasons of privacy and confidentiality I have made certain changes, altered identifying features and fictionalised some aspects, but it remains an honest reflection of life as a young doctor in Britain today. This is what it’s like. These things really happen!”

I’ve been more inclined to believe this one since I discovered that even the author’s name is a pseudonym.

The book is hillariously funny with genuine insights, moral dilemmas and a really grave case that keeps haunting me and I wish I could unread it (who would expect it in an entertaining book? Then again, this is what life is like.). Sometimes you just have to have the stomach even to read his stories and he(?) experienced them! It is much more lighthearted at the beginning and is getting more and more serious towards the end.

Sometimes it’s shocking to witness him saying “oh well it’s somebody else’s problem now”. How he gives up the fight with (for) a patient. However, he always tries at least and maybe he sees his limits realistically. The problem with grown-ups is you can’t help them if they don’t want you to. Sometimes I feel he gives up too easily, doesn’t fight enough. But maybe it’s me who fights too much.

The descriptions are hillarious: “Her face looks like a pitbull slowly chewing a wasp.” (p.72) ” He was only in his early forties but hadn’t left his bungalow for nine years. The medical notes seemed to suggest that this was due to a history of agoraphobia, but more obvious on meeting him was that there would be no way Mr Hogden would have fitted through the door. He was fucking enormous.” (p.85) “His back aches because, like him, it is 90 years old.” (p.119) “He’s not particularly blessed in the brains department and has a very high TTT score. TTT stands for tattoo to teeth.” (p.263)

And some genuine insights: “Regardless of the country it is practised in, most of hospital medicine is painting over the cracks rather than fixing the wall.” (p.76) “As a parent myself, I do realise that it is hugely anxiety-provoking to have this small person for whom you are solely responsible and whom you love overwhelmingly and unconditionally.” (p.104)

If I were to show you all my favourite quotes, I would quote the whole book. His opinion about being a parent, ageing, weight problems, racism, vaccines, home births, being a doctor in a wonderfully entertaining, and at the same time thought-provoking book. It is absolutely worth reading.

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Responses

  1. […] I think they shouldn’t have made a second book. It is not really humorous anymore. The first book was mostly funny, and at times grave and offered some impressive insights. This book, however, is […]

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  2. […] don’t go anywhere, either (Oh, justified mention of bodily fluids again! See? It can be done!). Tears actually blinded him on a spacewalk because they didn’t fall […]

    Like


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