Big noses and deflated breasts – and please can someone get Byron some Vicks VapoRub

I love outdated crazy medical thinking. Feeling under the weather? Let’s have a pint of blood from you and protect you from that toxic night air. Byron might still be alive (OK, not quite, but at least reached old age) if he whilst fighting the rebel army in Greece, he hadn’t caught a violent cold. This caused him to be bled, using unsterilized equipment, that it is believed gave him sepsis. If only someone had given him a hot water bottle and some honey and lemon on day one, things could have been very different. More revolutions fought and more children fathered.

byron death

Get me 200 CCs of Lemsip, and 350 CCs of soup, stat!

I am currently reading The Life And Opinions of Tristram Shandy, which was published in 1759, and Tristram is taking us back to his birth. He is telling us of the conversation between his father, uncle and Dr Slop, than man-midwife. They have been discussing that first borns are more likely to have a lower IQ then those that come after, as their skulls and therefore brain can go through less compression, due to the exit path having already been widened and softened by the elder sibling’s head. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my brother, for blazing a trail, and ensuring I’m smarter than him. Cheers, dude!

Tristram’s father also feels sure that the shape of a person’s nose is decided by the firmness of the breasts of their nurse. That whilst it may be nice for a woman to have firm ta-tas, these will cause pressure on the soft nose of a baby whilst feeding, keeping it stubby and squished. So, if you happen to be looking for a wet nurse for your baby, and you want your child to achieve a nice, long, big nose, find a nurse with very flexible, deflated breasts.

Dr Slop. Do not let this man with an unpleasant name near your nethers with his forceps, he will break your baby's nose.

Dr Slop. Do not let this man, with such an unpleasant name, near your nethers with his forceps, he will break your baby’s nose.