Hospi-tales: Stink

You’ve all been waiting for this topic, right?

For somebody working with teenagers, I still got a very sensitive nose, especially when the body concerned is mine and it’s also “amazing” what your mind can fixate on. Here’s the truth: being sick stinks. First of all, while my brain knew what happened, my body was still trying to run away from a sabertooth tiger that had just pierced my leg or something. In other words, it was ramming up the response, trying to mobilise as much energy as possible, resulting in me sweating like an ox. The second, and more lasting thing is medical stink. All the medication needs to get out of your system again and part of it just goes out via your skin. And it’ll keep doing that for a while, so I#m off to take a shower first and use some very sweet smelling body butter afterwards.

You’ll excuse me.


  1. Allison says

    A number of years ago, I was in the hospital with pneumonia. They gave me very high doses of antibiotics when I went in, and I remember that my sweat (which I was producing a lot of) tasted of antibiotic for several days, and when it got in my eyes, it burned my eyes.

    Not fun.

    tl;dr: I don’t recommend getting pneumonia.

  2. says

    I am not particularly sensitive to smell, but the pain medication for my hands did cause a sulfurous smell of urine to a point that even I have noticed it.

    But the smell that I have most connected with hospitals is a strong and unpleasant smell of disinfectant.

  3. voyager says

    Your back might be all fucked up, but your wit is as sharp as ever.

    Before hospitals became scent free a lot of nurses used to put a dab of perfume on their collar for emergency scenting when things got rank. I always preferred a bit of Vicks Vapo-Rub on the inside of my nose, but I didn’t use it very often. Lots of the stinky patient smells are diagnostic and smelling them is just part of the job. It’s usually tolerable.*

    (*Except for that sour smelling vomit. And maggots.)

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