All in a Doctor’s Day by Lucia Gannon | Book Reviews | Memoir

By Swirl and Thread

‘Medicine has limits.
Human kindness does not.’ 

All in a Doctor’s Day contains the memoirs of Dr Lucia Gannon, an Irish country GP based in a surgery in the small village of Killanaule, Co. Tipperary. Just published with Gill Books, it is described as ‘heart-warming……revealing the joys, sorrows, challenges and rewards of being an Irish country GP’.

At some point in our lives, we have all spent time in a GP’s surgery tapping our toes, waiting impatiently for an appointment that we had scheduled for thirty minutes previously. We start to get a little annoyed, wondering why is it taking so long and looking at our watches with a growing feeling of agitation. How many times have any of us given any thought to the pressure the GP is under? Do we ever consider the daily stresses and challenges faced by our GP? What Dr Lucia Gannon has done in these memoirs is to give the reader a small insight into the ‘ups and downs of running a practice, and balancing the weight that comes with the always-on role of raising her own family’

Lucia Gannon studied medicine in Galway, where she met her husband Liam Meagher, also a med student. Together they have worked across the sea and also in various locations around Ireland, eventually settling down to the village lifestyle and all it encompasses in Co. Tipperary. As neither was a local in the village of Killenaule, they have had to negotiate the trials and tribulations of gaining acceptance in this community. But Lucia and her husband were resilient and soon became respected stalwarts within their environs. They built their dream, a surgery and a home, both on one plot of land and burrowed into the local life, becoming part of this rural community. But they had many difficult situations to navigate in both their private and public lives, issues that they faced head-on with a determination and a tenacity that would stand to them in the years that followed.

Lucia Gannon is a powerhouse of a woman. Never resting on her laurels she continuously strives to improve herself and the service she provides to her patients, spreading her net far and wide, and all the time learning and forever connecting with both those in her surgery and beyond. With Liam by her side, their practice has thrived and it is now a place where the locals feel comfortable recounting their fears and anxieties. Over the twenty years that their practice is operating they have witnessed the highs and lows of a community with the passing of a generation and the birth of another.

We get an insight into the relationship between doctor and patient in a rural setting and the balancing act of their personal and private lives. Dr Lucia Gannon shares many fascinating facts about the doctor, as a person, as a human being, with this particular statement very resonant….

‘Doctors, as a group with a higher than average suicide rate, could benefit more than most from re-orienting to the positive. Feeling good makes us reach out to others. Feeling bad makes us withdraw into ourselves. Because we are in the business of caring for others, it is important that we feel good ourselves. Doctors are much more than the prescriptions they write or the medicines they administer, just as teachers are much more than the subjects they teach. As doctors, we can add value to everything we do, if we are happy as we do it. I am convinced that there is nothing wrong with being a little more Pollyanna and a little less Eeyore.’

All in a Doctor’s Day is a wonderful behind-the-scenes collection of real stories, giving the reader a better understanding of general practice. We expect our GP to be professional and knowledgeable at all times, informed of all medical conditions and having the ability to answer all our concerns and deal with all our hang-ups and anxieties. How many of us ever get to know our GPs on a personal basis? How many of us witness our GP after they have had to give someone bad news? How many of us know how our GP feels when they go home every evening, perhaps with their own families waiting for them and their own personal issues to be dealt with, yet with the weight of medical cases, past and present, forever lodged in their minds? Food for thought perhaps…..

All in a Doctor’s Day is a very honest and insightful book, packed full with anecdotes and true-life accounts, bringing the reader right into the lives of Dr Lucia Gannon, her family and the rural community that she now calls home. Her pure dedication to her patients shines through as she constantly strives to do her best. She questions, she queries, she has doubts, but at all times she is a professional and caring individual who just wants to be the best version of herself that she can be.

I will leave you with her own words….

‘It doesn’t matter how much more advanced medicine becomes, people are always going to get sick and die and when the hospital cannot do any more, most people wish for a trusted, skilful, knowledgeable doctor to facilitate this in the comfort of their home, surrounded by their family and friends’

(c) Swirl and Thread

Order your copy online here.

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