Why medicine might make me start smoking again

I just got caught smoking on hospital property by one of the dinner ladies. Strictly speaking we were outside, so it’s not the worst sin I’ve ever committed. But it’s still verboten. This hasn’t happened since i was 18. I haven’t put a fag out so fast since my housemistress busted us sneaking a cheeky one behind the bushes after supper in sixth form. I don’t even smoke anymore. I gave up smoking when I was 28 (honest, mum). I thought I now only smoked prison rollies when drunk. It turns out that I also smoke after particularly nerve jangling c-sections.

Big babies don’t come out of low abdominal incisions easily. They especially don’t come out easily when the woman has laboured their baby deep into their pelvis. The poor reg had to delve deep down to retrieve the head, and as he did so he felt the uterus tear. Nothing he could do. He just knew that once that baby was out he was going to have to find the corners of that tear, in a small dark hole, swirling with blood, and try and sew them back together, blindly. He did it. It was magnificent. But it took a while. And it was quite scary. So when the anaesthetist suggested a post op fag, it seemed like a good solution to my jangling nerves, but, having been busted, I’m more strung out than ever.

So now I’m lying in my on call room, listening to the dawn chorus, knowing in 55 minutes I’ll have to go down to the antenatal ward to review the people who are due labour induction today. Sleep seems pointless.


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