The Anatomyst

Art and Illustration



I haven’t written here for a little while now or rather it’s been somewhat intermittent because I’ve been suffering with quite bad back pain. Back pain is really common so you’re all probably thinking “And so what!?” Bear with me here – I’m writing as a doctor and a patient I suppose.

It’s probably been a combination of carrying our daughter as she’s getting heavier, not sleeping right and poor posture on my part. I just hadn’t recognised how it was affecting me and how down and irritable I was getting.

Then I remembered one of the first post mortems I’d seen was a man who’d had a good stable job who’d then got injured (can’t remember the full ins and outs of the circumstances) and to cut a long story short he ended up addicted to strong painkillers. His relationship broke down and he threw himself from the 9th storey of his block of flats.

Falling, dip pen with sumi ink

I still remember how much of him was physically broken: bones twisted, a once solid skeleton now literally shattered so that we could pull and twist parts back and forth to determine what exactly was broken, cavities filled with blood and his liver torn apart. I’m not the only one though. Colleagues have seen people who’ve thrown themselves in front of trains subsequently spread over two tables of the mortuary and sadly hangings are a regular occurrence.

I think what I’m trying to say is that our health service has been pushed to breaking by endless cuts and rationing of services. There just isn’t the money for physio, rehab, pain management… Psychiatric services are even worse off. I really don’t want to be political here, but then again art has a huge role in communicating to people in a bold way. The Conservative government has failed the NHS. And yet they still lie about promises of more funding.

Please: think about your own mental health and just be mindful of how you’re feeling – I was so irritable with my back pain but hadn’t realised.

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