Monday, July 27, 2020

The Doctor Will See You Now by Dr Amir Khan

60 Hours a Week
240 patients
10 minutes to make a diagnosis

Welcome to the Surgery.

Charting his 15 years working as a GP, from rookie to becoming a partner in one of the UK’s busiest surgeries, DR Amir Khan’s stories are as much about community and care as they are about blood tests and bodily fluids.

Along the way, he introduces us to the patients that have taught him about love, loss and family - from the regulars to the rarities - giving him the most unbelievable highs and crushing lows, and often in just 10 minutes. There is the unsuspecting pregnant woman about to give birth at the surgery: the man offering to drop his trousers and take a urine sample there and then; the family who needs support through bereavement, the vulnerable child who will need continuing care for a long-term health condition; and, of course, the onset of the COVID_19 that tested the surgery at every twist and turn. it, it’s all in a day’s work for Amir.

The Doctor Will See You Now is a powerful story of hope, love and compassion, but it’s also a rare insider account of wha really goes on behind those surgery doors.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in return for an honest review.  The Book cover isn’t available on my copy of the arc (I usually screenshot my kindle), so I took a shot of the title instead.

I stayed up until 1am finishing this. I love Dr Amir, I have followed him on Twitter for ages, and have chatted with him there a couple of times. I’ve been looking forward to his book since I heard about it, and when I saw it was on Netgalley I knew I had to request it. I went from reading Dear NHS, straight to this one, and they are both so different.

Dr Amir talk to us about starting his career as a GP, and takes us trough some of the most memorable of his patients. I will say I cried (I cry at most things to be fair, but this will get you), there was more than one really touching story. The story of Tom, broke my heart, and the final words of his chapter got me, and the little girl Emily, who features quite a bit throughout the book. There were some funny stories too though, ones that made me laugh out loud (a hammer?), and ones that made me silently giggle. 

It ends on a chapter about what’s going on today with Covid-19, and it shows just what GP surgeries are going through.  How little time they (and everybody else) had to get ready for this new way of seeing patients with only telephone calls, unless it was serious and they needed either to be seen by a GP or at hospital.He talks of getting ready to work on the ‘red Zone’, and his fears of catching Covid.

Dr Khan shows just how much of a lovely person he is, the way he deals with his patients at the surgery, and also goes out of his way and beyond to take care of them outside of the surgery. His kindness will stick with me, and I’m betting a lot of other people who have had the pleasure to be in his life.

A really good book, and a great look into the life of a GP, and once again I will say, a very kind man.

‘Thank you so much for the Roses, I’ll look after them’

Friday, July 10, 2020

The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult

Everything changes in a single moment for Dawn Edelstein. She’s on a plane when the flight attendant makes an announcement: prepare for a crash landing. She braces herself as thoughts flash through her mind. The shocking thing is, the thoughts are not of her husband, but a man she last saw fifteen years ago: Wyatt Armstrong. 
Dawn, miraculously, survives the crash, but so do all the doubts that have suddenly been raised. She has led a good life. Back in Boston, there is her husband, Brian, her beloved daughter, and her work as a death doula, where she helps ease the transition between life and death for her clients . 
But somewhere in Egypt is Wyatt Armstrong, who works as an archaeologist unearthing ancient burial sites, a job she once studied for, but was forced to abandon when life suddenly intervened. And now, when it seems that fate is offering her second chances, she is not as sure of the choice she once made. 
After the crash landing, the airline ensures the survivors are seen by a doctor, then offers transportation wherever they want to go. The obvious option for Dawn is to continue down the path she is on and go home to her family. The other is to return to the archaeological site she left years before, reconnect with Wyatt and their unresolved history, and maybe even complete her research on The Book of Two Ways--the first known map of the afterlife. 
As the story unfolds, Dawn’s two possible futures unspool side by side, as do the secrets and doubts long buried beside them. Dawn must confront the questions she’s never truly asked: What does a life well-lived look like? When we leave this earth, what do we leave behind? Do we make choices...or do our choices make us? And who would you be, if you hadn’t turned out to be the person you are right now?

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in return for an honest review.
So I’m a huge Jodi Picoult fan, I’ve read almost all of her books (a few just didn’t take my fancy, I will get round to them though). So when this popped up on Netgalley, I knew I had to try. I requested her last 2 and was rejected for both, so when this one was accepted, I screamed. Everything else got pushed back and The Book of Two Ways went right to the top of my list. It took me a while to get through this, only for the reasons of distractions with 2 at home kids, both with special needs. But I tried reading every night before sleep. Last night I was awake until 1am finishing it, wiping my tears before they soaked my pillow.
The book starts with Dawn, who is on a plane which makes an emergency landing. We don’t know why or what really is happening, but the next step leads us to see where she decides to go next. The Story unfolds over 2 different places and a few different times. We see Water/Boston, which is her home with her husband and daughter, we see Land/Egypt, which follows her in Egypt with Wyatt. The chapters bounce from present to past, but it is easy to follow which is which. 
Dawns job is a death doula, which made me think is this a real thing? And wow it is. What a brave job to do, in my opinion. Dawn talks about how she helps a patient at the end, how she will do anything they ask, be there if they wish when they take their final breath, stay around and help the loved ones left behind manage to grieve. My heart broke during the parts she was with a patient, the emotion Jodi put in those pages killed me, I will admit I cried more than once, almost always during those scenes.
The other side of the book is Dawn’s past when she was in Egypt as an archeological student, finding hidden treasures, decoding ancient Hieroglyphs, searching for the Book of Two Ways. I’m not going to lie, at first I found myself a bit confused with all the names of the Egyptian Kings and Queens, but I got used to it fairly quickly. I loved learning about The Book of Two Ways, googling things in the book to see what was true. The beauty behind it is lovely.
The book actually had me internet searching quite a bit of stuff, and I learned a lot! So thanks for that Jodi! The story is one filled with love and regret, hope and friendship. Again, bring tissues as it’s sad at the same time as being wonderful.
You pulled at my heartstrings again Ms Picoult, Thank you x

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Paper Towns by John Green