Today I was treating a patient that had undergone a surgery earlier in the day. When I was done talking to her and taking her blood pressure she informed me that she really needed to smoke. I smiled and did my best to explain to her that she was still under the influence of the drugs that she had gotten during surgery and wouldn't be able to leave the ward on her own until the following day.
She patiently listened to my explanation and told me that she understood completely. Relieved that it had been so easy I asked her if there was anything else she needed before I left. She stared back at me blankly and then reiterated that she really really needed to smoke.
I explained to her again that there was no way for her to leave the ward to smoke and that smoking in the building is illegal. She smiled and nodded before giving me a wink and telling me that she understood. I stood there staring at her for a minute wondering what the wink was supposed to mean, she offered no explanation but gestured towards the door and waited for me to leave.
Slightly perturbed I slowly backed out of the room. She took out a cigarette and wrestled the window open. Realizing that there was not much else that I could do I sighed and went to make sure that she didn't fall out of the window or get the drain from her surgery stuck on anything.
As I stood there holding the back of my patients robe shut while she enjoyed her precious cigarette, I couldn't help but wonder to myself "So, why nursing?".