Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Scent of Patients. By Ninnevah

Sometimes I see patients who stink. As in have such a strong stench that I push my wheely desk chair as far back as I can and work hard to not squish up my nose in an obvious way. Sometimes I can’t help but put my hand on my face for a few seconds while listening to them talk. I generally look for any reason to minimize what I need to examine of these type of patients. Many times it’s a “what the hell is a shower” type of smell where their clothes look a second skin where they have crusted themselves onto the patient’s body. I really can’t stand these patients and if I could I would open up a window while they were in my room. It’s sort of a combination of urine, old sweat and cheap cigarette smoke and even a tinge of alcohol mixed in with it. Sometimes if you are especially unlucky, there’s a public toilet component to it as well.
The other type is the chronic smoker. Now this is not specific to adults. Sometimes a parent or parents would bring in a child or children and the whole family would have the stench of cigarettes attached to them. It’s especially sad when children fall into this category because the parents have placed them at a disadvantage already. Being exposed to second hand- or even third hand smoke (yes that exists- don’t think you are so smarty pants by lighting your cigarettes outside- unless you change your clothes and shower each time you still place your child at risk) increases the risk of respiratory problems in kids, ie makes them more prone to asthma/ bronchitis etc, brings down their immunity in general. I feel this is similar to parents who do not vaccinate their children. Because of your misconstrued ideas you place your child at an increased risk. Bravo on your selfish parenting ideals! Like making pet dogs vegans because it’s “healthier.” Go read a book!

The third type are those that come in smelling like fresh linen or like fields of lilies. These patients I don’t mind rolling my wheely office chair all the way into their faces! They smell clean and like normal human beings! I love these patients! I take the time to ask how their day has been. I ask them if they need any further help or have any other concerns that they would like me to address at the end of the consult. I even address potential disease prevention issues other than their main presenting concerns. Conversation then moves onto other general health issues as well and it’s all done with a smile. There’s usually pleasant dialogue and they leave happy and satisfied. In conclusion- it’s better for your health to not be stinky when visiting your doctor.

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