The day I fell asleep five inches from a vagina

I fell asleep holding a uterus today. Actually asleep. I woke to my consultant asking me loudly (for perhaps the third time) to ‘antevert the uterus’. I woke with a jump and did as I was bid.

Let me explain. I finished nights at 9am yesterday. I was generously given the rest of that day off to recover. At 8am  this morning I was back in the theatre. And I was absolutely knackered.

The SHO’s job in gynae theatre is possibly the most boring waste of time in the world. You scrub in. Then you put a little rod up a woman’s cervix into the uterus. This is attached to another rod that you cling onto. By moving the rod you move the woman’s uterus up and down and from side to side, so the consultant and the registrar, who are doing the laparoscopic operation up at the abdomen, can get a better view of what they are doing. More often than not, the screen is behind you, so you can’t even see anything. The only thing you can look at (and it’s about five inches from your face) is the patient’s vagina.

The lights go out, so the surgeons can see the screen better, and the next thing I know, my eyes are closed and my head is nodding. Really you can’t blame me.

I’ve got a 12 day stretch without a break looming out in front of me. It may have been the first time I fell asleep so close to a vagina. it’s certainly not going to be the last…


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