Posts Tagged ‘scent’

I appreciate your willingness to see me as a patient at your eye care centre. I note that the first time I had a reaction to the eyedrop the resident (I assume) put in  my eye after I assured him I would react was called “fainting” by you. I may not have corrected you.  The combination of the reaction itself, the epinepherine, your freshly fragranced colleague and the long wait in the chemically-laden carpeted office did not aid in my being  my most cognitively competent self. Sir, I did not faint. My reaction to the eye drop, as predicted, was anaphylaxis. Thankfully, my attendant was quick with the epipen.  The staff present was a little surprised by the reaction and apparently was relieved that Geoff took action.

With regards to yesterday’s appointment, no, I am not epileptic. What you observed firsthand and up close is a rather classic reaction to the presence of chemical fragrance. I am pleased that you were open-minded enough to follow the instructions of my attendant and get some oxygen before I deteriorated to the point where I needed the epipen as the drug is very hard on my body. I understand you also agreed to move the patient who was very fragrant away from the immediate proximity of your examining room to help ameliorate the situation. I am so sorry that your coffee spilled all over your papers and desk area. I am pleased that someone arrived to help you clean it up so quickly. It is clear by the two hour wait I had in order to to see you that you are a very, very busy specialist. Your kindness during the crisis is truly appreciated, as well as your apparent new insight into chemical sensitivity. When both Geoff (my attendant) and I assured you that the reaction you observed was not as severe as I experience, and that I am not the most highly chemically sensitive person in the world at large, we were being most sincere. When my speech recovered enough to explain that rather than an allergy, it is a toxicity – and that the reaction is similar to what you might observe if I was intentionally huffng gasoline, I noted a glimmer of comprehension in your eyes. Similar products, you see! Toxic petrochemicals! Your office is a paper bag for me. And it can’t be good for you, either. Did you note that the oxygen cleared up the problem in due course… so, definitely not a seizure. If you really are able to learn from a patient, this may be it. Chemical sensitivity is real. You have observed it and those signs in your office and adjacent areas may be worth enforcing as I explained. Yes, a simple explanation to patients when appointments are booked telling them the office is scent-free AND WHAT THAT MEANS would be a good first step. If you had NO SMOKING signs and didn’t enforce them, would it really be a NO SMOKING office?

I hope that observing my anaphylaxis, and near anaphylaxis were educational events for you…enough to influence your practice in the eye clinic.

Respectfully yours,

Elaine Willis

Inspired by Chris and dedicated to Wendy…

I often find a soak in the tub a good place for meditation…I can think a bit and then dissolve my thoughts and just concentrate on sensory input. I listen (the delightful quiet of my home, water as I move), I feel (warm, soothing water), I smell (luckily in my own home just the hot wellwater, unscented soap, salty skin), I see (the familiar), I taste (must remember to taste even when my mouth is empty and associate smell and taste – note the saltiness, the hot water can be tasted in my mouth if I make the conscious effort). I relax without thought so easily because I have practiced.

Often, after, I have delicious thoughts. Today I was musing about a brief conversation with Chris (’twas by email) about truly listening and thinking. It blended well with an audiobook I am listening to,  The Virus of the Mindmemes spread…people have ideas, non-sensory bits in their minds, often meaningless, often untrue – that spread from person to person without consicousness or evaluation. My bathtub epiphany is that if the mind should be filled with 100% sensory input, and those of us lucky enough to have five intact senses are clever enough to use them, we can achieve happiness. Missing a sense, no problem, the other four senses are able and willing to fill the 100%, performing at a higher level. Nice!

A child, not yet overinfected with memes experiences happiness, lives in the present, enjoying sensory input. Perhaps, says my relaxed mind as it floats in the peaceful water, memes start to take over a greater and greater percentage of the available mind as we age, squeezing out the space where sensory input, the real stuff of mind lives.

Those suffering the greatest misery are most infected by the virus of the mind. The cure has been known for eons. It is not a pill. We don’t need to  find God or suffer a stroke like Jill Bolte Taylor. To be alive is to utilize our senses. Sometimes we are so removed from them that we feel lost. We can be caught up in culture, in judgment, in  yesterday, in tomorrow. The now, the loving kindness we show to others and that we are shown; our humanity is our five senses. Happiness, when it seems elusive, is within us.  To use our senses, to love and give, to be loved and accept our gifts… we have only 23,000 protein-coding genes- about the same number as an ear of corn or a roundworm. We are not so complex.

Life is simple and I am grateful.