As a frequent migraine sufferer, I already have a heightened odor sensitivity, so being in the hospital can be a special torture based on all of the smells everywhere. The institutional cleanness of the equipment, the linens, and the floors, makes all other non-smells stand out in huge contrast. Alcohol wipes kill me. Blood thinners that are used to quickly clear out connections in my PICC line make me gag. The subtle taste and smell of the chemo drugs and my eyedrops themselves is quite bitter. I’ve learned to fight these by chewing gum or sucking on candy when the nurses are working with my tubes.
But how to fight the cloying smells of hospital bath products? Neutrogena is lovely enough to provide little bath bars, which feel amazing but have an overpowering fragrance. The other soaps and lotions are so moisturizing that they stick to me all day and I can’t escape the powdery old lady sweetness. After a day, I started dreaming about the bath products from our favorite hotel on the Central Coast, the Madonna Inn. Alex searched our house for leftover samples from our last trip. No luck. He searched again. Ugh. So what did he do? My hero called the hotel and had them ship us ten bars. So tonight I will take an extra long shower surrounded by one of my favorite smells, and will no longer gag every time I get a whiff of myself. But first, I’m going to eat the Mt. Tam and croccantini Alex brought for my snack today. Sweet husband.