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.
When Profile Books gifted me the copy of Breaking and Mending by Dr Joanna Cannon I was very grateful and excited to read it. Not only because it had an interesting premise but because Dr Joanna Cannon is the author of one of my favourite books that I’ve read this year “Three Things About Elsie” and I couldn’t wait to delve into her memoir of being a junior doctor.
This book is definitely not a fluffy, rose-tinted look at junior doctors. This is a memoir filled with gritty tales and insightful stories of what a junior doctor goes through to get were they are.
It made me respect and appreciate the workers of the NHS a lot more. This was a more in-depth and personal account from someone who has had first hand experience at it. It humanises the doctors that we take for granted, they are not robots who mend and heal us. They are like us, human with feelings and emotions.
This is a book that everyone needs to buy and read. Take a moment in your life to make sense of those that save lives.