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Reacting to a smell

on July 21, 2014

In all hospitals in the UK there are hand sanitisers all over the place. St Peter’s was no different to any other, by the time you get to the wards then they are everywhere as they try to beat MRSA. I’m a clean freak and I hate hospitals, far too many sick people around. This should appeal to me and at first it did.

I don’t really remember much of my first 3 days there before the emergency surgery, as I drifted in and out of consciousness too much. By the time I was settled in my ward, in the boiling heat, the smell started to get to me. It wasn’t just the hand sanitisers, they had wipes that had that smell. By day 4 I was allowed upright to wash. I had taken in a lot of miniature bottles with me of Dove something I use now and again anyway. As soon as I opened it, it was that same smell. I was tied to my bed by drains and I couldn’t get away from it.

Over the next few days my reaction to this smell got worse. I no longer disliked it, I hated it. More and more products were smelling of it. When the catheter was removed and I could go to the bathroom, drains in tow, the soap had the smell. I stopped washing my hands because if the smell was there, I felt sick and couldn’t get away from the smell on my hands. My friend bought me wipes and my own sanitiser, and they had the same smell. By my last night the smell made me physically sick. Some wipes were lying on the window sill next to my bed and the smell got stronger and stronger. I woke up to move them and ended up being sick. This went on all night. Going into the toilet didn’t help as the soap in there has the same smell. I had been told if all was OK I could go home the next day. I started going into a massive panic as I couldn’t stop being sick. I did explain what was causing it and luckily I had no other symptoms.

I’ve been home 5 weeks today and it’s amazing how that smell still affects me. We have Imperial Leather hand wash. It has that smell. It still turns my stomach, I can’t use it to wash my hands and if I feel just slightly dodgy then you can guarantee I’m in for a bad day. I’m going to give it away and just replace it all. I have to get that smell out of my life.

I’ve never had such a bad reaction to a smell before. I get migraines from strong perfume, but that’s different. How can a smell make me physically sick and why? Hopefully as I start getting my life back to normal again, the little annoyances like this one will go. I just hope this smell isn’t anywhere else. I’ve not been out much over the last 6 weeks.

Surely this has to be the strangest of all my menopausal issues so far.


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