Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Sense about Scents

You probably have a few childhood memories about doctor's offices.  And the memory closest to needles and corpulent nurses is probably what your nose picked up when you walked through the door.  That unnatural cold, crisp, sterile smell.  A smell that made you think you had entered an alien space-ship or stepped out onto another planet.

I work in one of those such offices.  And every day I feel as though I have been abducted by aliens and transported to a gas-cloud planet.  Most days it's the pediatric waiting room, though, other times it's the wheelchair bound patients that are morbidly obese.  It's something you know they can't help because of their disability- but you have to wonder how their caretakers get use to it- or what their home environment smells like.  

I don't know which I prefer though- choking down giant gas-clouds of Lysol fumes or inhaling the sweet and pungent odors of dead, decaying, rotting, fermenting, sprouting cultures growing on various fluids and substances.  

And like today, when I had a slight cough I found it near impossible to suppress the urge.  One has to inhale in order to exhale.  Common sense.  But how does one cough or sneeze in a toxic environment- a gas-chamber of nauseous fumes?  One can't.  One just DIES.

It smelled like decaying rat.  (I would know.  I had smelled decaying rat years ago when I had found one in an old roller-blade boot my grandparents gave me out of their garage.) It being either the mother or the patient- no one cared.  Burning nose, tickling throat, watering eyes, customer service.  Serious multi-tasking there.
And the whole while you're thinking, "Just give them the prescription and get them out of here!  What's so wrong with telling someone that cleanliness is next to Godliness.  Like- if they had toilet paper stuck to their shoe would you say anything?  We probably don't because we think, 'oh, it'll fall off sooner or later and besides, it's not harming anyone.'"

What about smells people?!!  There is water and soap in abundance in America!  It's a free country.  The government doesn't limit the number of baths you can take in a week's time, or a month's time, or even a lifetime.  

"Hmm...Oranges!"  I exclaimed upon returning.
The nurses had just a moment earlier cleansed their planet of the aliens and sterilized the air with Citri-stat.
I've grown to really like the smell of oranges.  Still, I tend to test the air cautiously at first, just to make sure it is safe to breathe again.
The nurse-practitioner walked by.  "That room still stinks!"  She gasped through distorted lips.
"I think it was the girl's feet!"  The nurse commented with amazement.

I continued my journey down the halls of the office and tried not to contemplate my traumatizing experience. To think that I should ever offer embarrassment to anyone caught sniffing their underarms.  ------------------- At least they care.