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Hypoglycemic & hyperpensive

The weeks leading up to the break-up were the worst of my twenties so far. My sleeping pattern had already been erratic owing to backpacking but I was waking up several times a night. Once settled, my alarm would go off. I decided breakfast was less important than an extra 30 minutes in bed. The room was air-conditioned, so the heat on opening the door made my blood pressure drop: walking into the hospital and seeing several buddhist monks eating breakfast in the court-yard added to the dizzy trippy feeling of the experience.

On one particular Monday morning, I was shadowing the residents on the labour ward and they had just finished overseeing a delivery. One of the medical students was given the task of delivering the placenta.  The bloody, amniotic smell of childbirth clung to the air and I wasn’t feeling too great. The student didn’t have a good hold on the umbilical cord, she was trying to wrap it around a clamp but it kept slipping. I was starting to lose my patience with this pathetic tug-of-war with the flesh skipping rope, wishing she would clamp the damn thing. I walked out feeling angry and closed the sliding door by pressing my weight against it. Something didn’t feel right.

Two of the residents approached me and started asking me questions about my life in London. Where did I live? How expensive was it? Was I married? How much would a Man Utd season ticket cost? Did I like Thai food? My ears started ringing, the nausea rose. I took my glasses off, placed them in the palm of one of the doctors and said, ‘I don’t think I can…’ and the next thing I remember was waking up surrounded.

I blamed the heat and the doctors sagely agreed that my constitution didn’t agree with the humidity. I accepted two lemon chewy sweets and spent a large proportion of the time trying to make sense of the waxy, yellow wrapper. The residents ordered in some pizza for all staff and I had my first cooked meal in days. As I was leaving the labour ward, one of the nurses grabbed my arm, rubbed it reassuringly and said I was very beautiful. The weight of the maternal warmth exuding from this nurse hit me like a freight train and I cried as soon as I locked the door in my dorm.

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