This OlFactory


Smells are tied to emotion and memory; they can elicit strong reactions and make us remember long forgotten moments. At work today, it hit me that the smells of hospitals and nursing homes are now routine to me. Here is an olfactory overview of a day as an EMT:

– CalStat hand sanitizer (I long for days off when I don’t have to smell like this and I can wear perfume!)
– Clean starched sheets on the laundry rack
– Body fluids of EVERY imaginable type!!! (yes, all of them, even the more obscure ones)
– Someone’s lunch (staff & patients)
– Paper from the printer and the stacks of charts
– Vinyl gloves (mountains of them! I have them all over my house now)
– Stale coffee (who has time to drink it?)
– Disinfectant of every variety for all surfaces
– Diesel fumes
– Rain
– Hot city pavement
– Cigarette smoke (patients & staff alike)
– Flowers, trees, grass (only if I’m lucky)
– Medicine (each with its own distinct chemical smell)
– Gingivitis, B.O,etc.
– Trashy perfume/cologne on patients and their family members
– Decay (general or in soft tissue wounds)
– Death (it’s distinct)
– Dunkin Donuts, because it’s Boston.

What smells make you think of work?


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