Review of Confessions of a GP by Benjamin Daniels – 5 Stars

Confessions of a GPConfessions of a GP by Benjamin Daniels

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Benjamin Daniels takes us right off the pages this book and into his GP surgery. This book is a combination of fly on the wall to some of his daily patient gripes but also an honest reflection of how doctors feel about the situations they find themselves in all as part of their job.

The humour in this book is above all the best thing, scenes such as the young doctor declaring he knew how to “save” someone in a pizza shop (who turned out to just be incredibly intoxicated). There are also several moral dilemmas included in this book that Benjamin had to face – for example if you are called out to do a house-call on a convicted paedophile, how would you feel about helping him? These really got me thinking just what would I do in these types of situations.

Daniels writing style is really laid back and very easy to read and the book isn’t filled with loads of technical nonsense that only other doctors could understand. It is just an interesting account of all the goings on a young doctor goes through while finding his feet in the medical industry. It feels very honest and pragmatic approach to the topics, patients and experiences.

As you can probably tell I really enjoyed this book. In fact, I enjoyed it so much I passed it onto my husband who very rarely would read something like this, he also read it and really enjoyed it.

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The Truth Zone

The Truth Zone.

Thursday

I pace back and forth in my cell. They call it a patient room but it feels more like a cell, I can neither have people in nor go out, that feels like a cell! I’ve been here a week now and it blows. The isolation is getting to me. Sure I have a bed, a sofa, a tv and even a fridge, almost like my own mini apartment. Almost. Except in an apartment you don’t have to hand over your urine if you visit the bathroom. Or give a blood sample once a day. Or take those disgusting pills they keep giving me. Some of them make me drowsy, I know that. I wonder if they are truth pills as when I’m in their drowsy state I answer their questions truthfully. I can’t help myself. I am too tired to think up a lie.

All last week I spent sleeping, sleeping and watching tv. God I don’t ever want to be like that when I’m old. I asked for a phone but they don’t want me to have one, not yet. I need to be strong by myself first, they said.

Friday

They gave me more of the sleepy pills last night, they told me I only have 3 more days on them, it must be a 10 day course. They said they are going to take me off the meds soon. Thank god for that, I will be able to think and talk and lie again. Lying is never something you’ll think you’ll miss but you do. Especially when you don’t have enough thoughts to do it. I hadn’t realised how often I lie until I couldn’t.

They questioned me again too. I think I may have told them. I dunno, maybe I did, some of its blurry. I don’t really know what would happen if I told them, would I go to jail? Would he? Doesn’t matter I’m sure I didn’t tell them this time, but it felt like I was close to it.

Saturday

I pretended to be asleep last night. When they came in the room, but they woke me anyway, and told me to take them. I thought about refusing but I didn’t really want to. I’m addicted to the sleep they give me. Strange right? I know it’s not good for me, but I can’t help doing it. But that’s what an addict is really someone that knows all the consequences of their actions but thinks “it doesn’t matter I want to do it anyway”, this then becomes, “I need to do it anyway”.

I know I wasn’t always an addict. No-one is. Maybe to sugar as a child. Actually yeah, that probably was my first addiction. I even stole money for chocolate. That is probably a real sign of a problem, right? Then as a teenager it was cigarettes. They felt so good and I thought I looked cool. I didn’t but who cares, besides it good me used to smelling bad, that would come in handy later. Then there was the booze. That had been wild. Who said alcohol was a depressant? Going to bars, hearing bands, playing pool and taking in booze. I was a lucky one too. It barely made me puke. Not like the other girls I went with. They were weak and I soon left them behind. I could keep up with the guys easy.

Sunday

I only have tonight left on the pills. Then I’ve to give it up. Is it strange that I know that I’ll miss them? I look in that little mirror in the bathroom and I see it. I see the difference they told me it would make. My hair is clean and shiny again. My eyes are open wide. My skin is looking unhealthy but I’d always been ghastly pale. It had never mattered. Girls think you need to be tanned and perfect to get a guy but it’s not true, a bit of pale thigh showing will get a guy going just as easy. Why do you think guys love white panties so much? They like pale and pure, they just don’t always realise it.

Some more memories came back to me last night. More of a flash of memory here and there. I don’t even think it was in sequence. It didn’t matter I told them it anyway, one encouraged me to speak while the other scribbled it all done. Sort of a good cop, nerdy cop approach. Only they are supposed to be doctors. I told them about travelling in packed cars, to festivals. Meeting guys and going back to their dirty homes. Stealing the odd wallet when there was no guy around feeling charitable. That wasn’t what they wanted to know. They wanted to know about the real drug, the one that had spread, the one that had caused the epidemic, the one I had helped grow.

Monday

Last night, I was quiet. Quiet for a really long time. I had to think. Should I tell them? I think I was going to anyway. But then they got me. They brought in this kid. She looked just like me, I couldn’t believe it. Well I say just like me, like me when I was 16. She had caught it. The epidemic. Only the drugs they’d given me, wouldn’t work on her. They brought her in and I thought, they’ve sent her to me so I can convince her not to go down the same shitty path I had. So I did for a while. But she didn’t seem interested. Neither would I have at her age. Then they’d taken her back out and dropped the bomb on me. She was going to die. I was the one that knew how to cure her. I might not give a shit about me, about the people I had made ill but could I live with knowing I’d killed her?

The one that had taken the notes finally spoke to me. He said could I stand with watching her die? Because if I didn’t talk, that’s what they’d make me do with all my remaining days here. They’d take me in day after day to her room and I’d have to sit there and watch her die. I gulped. I audibly gulped as the fear hit me. I gulped again but felt too much saliva in my mouth it wouldn’t wash away. I got up and walked to the toilet and vomited. When I was done I brushed my teeth and returned to the room. They hadn’t move. They were waiting.

The tears dripped down my face as I spoke. The words felt like they were burning on my tongue, betraying the only man who had loved me. What was I to do? I told them about the “special blend” we’d created. That we’d fed it to the cattle and they’d seemed fine. How were we to know the farmer was going to sell them? When he did we panicked and moved to a new farm. There was always work for farm labourers and lots of access to the crops. And an amazing amount of wild flowers about. That’s were the best seeds came from, wild plants and flowers. Like nature intended. We created a new batch, again the farmers’ cattle made amazing test subjects and once tested on them we gave it a try. The high was amazing, neither of us had felt anything like it. We bagged it up, and headed to the festival. It was a roaring success.

A few weeks later the news exploded everywhere, there was a new virus hitting. Several of the festival go-ers had been admitted to a secure facility, some had already died. They were asking all people who went to the festival to get tested. We laid low. It couldn’t have anything to do with us right? Then the next day after his usual morning paper the farmer knocked on our door, he pointed the article out to us in a neighbourly fashion and we politely agreed we would go get tested but that we’d both felt fine.

In the afternoon, his wife made his way over and offered a lift to the doctors as she was going anyway. We both said we were fine and we’d make time in the week but she insisted. As we headed out to her car the farmer called to Mark and he made his way over to help him. After a few minutes it was clear he wasn’t coming back and we headed into town. The farmer’s wife followed me everywhere and of course announced to the receptionist at the doctors I was there to get tested as I’d been at the festival. The doctor rushed me in and tested. Within an hour I’d had the phone call. I had caught it. The farmer’s wife drove me back home to gather my stuff but on entering the small apartment above the garage, it felt strange. Mark? He had left. I knew it straight away. He had left and taken most of our stuff with him. I cried and smashed the few remaining things I could. After a while the farmer’s wife appeared in the apartment, ready to take me to the clinic.

I’d told them enough. They asked me to recall the flowers and I did. They left the room in a flurry.

That was the last of the medication, the remaining days I was drug-free. Probably for the first time in a long time. But I had strength, it wasn’t mine I knew. It was borrowed. From a young girl who I watched get better and better over the next 14 days. Who I confessed all the stupid shit I had done, I didn’t know if I had saved her, not really. She had already started on that crazy path that led her to the festival. But that small glimmer of hope that I might save her, had saved me.

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Thank you Priceless Joy – http://pricelessjoy.co/2015/09/02/mfts-the-devils-abode/ – for this great daily prompt and well done for getting one featured. 🙂