A few years ago, I found myself in A&E. I had never felt so ill. I was mentally and physically broken. So fractured, I hadn’t eaten properly or slept well, or even changed my expression for months. I sat in a cubicle, behind paper-thin curtains and I shook with the effort of not crying. I was an inch away from defeat… but I knew I had to carry on. Because I wasn’t the patient. I was the doctor.
In this powerful memoir, Joanna Cannon tells her story as a junior doctor in visceral, heart-rending snapshots. We walk with her through the wards, facing extraordinary and daunting moments: from attending her first post-mortem, sitting with a patient through their final moments, to learning the power of a well- or badly chosen word.
These moments, and the small sustaining acts of kindness and connection that punctuate hospital life, teach her that emotional care and mental health can be just as critical as restoring a heartbeat. In a profession where weakness remains a taboo, this moving, beautifully written book brings to life the vivid, human stories of doctors and patients – and shows us why we need to take better care of those who care for us.