Saturday 7 May 2022

Life Death and Biscuits by Anthea Allan

Life, Death and BiscuitsLife, Death and Biscuits by Anthea Allen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 4 days

Pages - 320

Publisher - Harper Eliment

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

‘A heart-breaking story of courage and compassion from the front line of the toughest battle our nurses have had to fight. Anthea Allen’s writing is raw, honest and full of love for those she cares for.’ Susanna Reid

An extraordinarily powerful memoir based on the diaries of intensive care nurse Anthea Allen, who worked on the front line of one of the largest hospitals in Europe during the Covid crisis.

With over 30 years of experience as a nurse, Anthea thought she had seen it all. But with Covid came the greatest trial, personally and professionally, of her life. Thrust into hourly challenges – many a matter of life and death – while on the Critical Care units of St George’s in south London, Anthea processed her shocking experiences through writing. It started with an email to request biscuits. But her appeal to help boost the morale of her fellow nurses soon turned into a series of astonishingly moving stories detailing the realities of being a front line worker.

It wasn’t long before Anthea’s accounts were circulating far and wide, capturing the attention of the nation and being feted by the likes of Richard Branson and Good Morning Britain’s Susanna Reid.

My review

Theses stories aren't for everyone, some people feel it is too close or too soon. I think it is perfect timing because everyone has opinions on everything but not everyone is dealing with the reality of working in healthcare in these uncertain times.

I have read a fair few of these books and whilst it was interesting it wasn't my favourite. The author/nurse started off writing her accounts/experiences as a diary/emailing out to people and keeping them updated on what was going on and also requesting support, kind word, some eateries (cakes/biscuits) and just moral support for what her team where enduring.

I always think it is so interesting to hear from different areas both in hospital departments and actual locations. I was surprised to hear ICU in England cleared and had lulls inbetween the mania. When it hit bad there was help and runners in ICU in the form of a beauty therapist (I think specially a hairdresser, they ran and got all the drugs but advised the author they couldn't administer because they were not a nurse) that was mind blowing. We did see some of the horrific measures healthcare staff faced down in England but it still catches you how dire some of the situations are.

This nurse put a lot of positivity in this and to her team which I think probably kept so many of them going. Unless you are in it you just can't imagine, even reading books like this.

There are some scenes that are graphic and detail what these poor patients endured, high deaths rates and turnovers so just a heads up when going into any of these kind of reads.

A few times I felt it was quite repetitive but then it did start out as a communication and thing for her so understandable. Interesting read none the less and I will continue to read peoples experiences of care giving during the pandemic and just true stories in general of what it is like in different areas, 3/5 for me.

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