It’s enough to singe the nose hair. Or at least relieve my nasal spray of it’s duties.
Is it alcohol? My wine definitely doesn’t smell like that. Thank goodness, the old glass of patience.
Astringent might be how one would describe it. The AK47 of germ terminator’s, might be another good description.
I’m talking about the pink, squirty liquid, in a bottle attached to the entrance wall of every hospital ward. In the Children’s Hospital, it was attached to the end of every bed.
It never got my hand, always the floor, my shirt, my arm. And a little bit in my hand. The nurses seemed to be able to do it correctly, heaven knows they had enough practice. Wash hands in the sink, dry hands with paper towel, squirt hands with pink stuff and rub rub rub for a very long time. For Every. Single. Patient. Sometimes twice for the one patient. Must have good hand muscles, those nurses. I bet they’re good at opening jam jars.
I wasn’t worried that I’d squirted the rest of my environment with the thin pink liquid. Sometimes I even did it on purpose. Like the time someone let their sibling into our pod, coughing and sneezing all over the place. I would have liked to shower him in the stuff.
That pink liquid most reminds me of the day I can pinpoint as my rock-bottom.
On Day 1,300,400 (or so it seemed), a truly delightful thing called the Noro Virus came to visit our entire ward, pushing each patient down in a hurl of vomit and diarrhea like some sort of macabre Mexican wave. Miss Molly and I were isolated in a room with another Noro family, simmering, behind closed doors. In that room I became Oh Oh OCD, squirting pink stuff everywhere – all over Molly’s pram, all over the sheets before I lay her on them to change her nappy, all over my hands every single second I spent in that room, all over the tray of food the trolley dolly left at our door, the spoon, the edge of the bowl, the napkin before I wiped her face. Not a speck left un-pink stuffed. I was like a Ghostbuster with it.
I did her hands constantly too, every now and then wondering if it was ok to smother a baby’s pristine skin with something that could kill a virus so evil it shut the whole ward off from the rest of the hospital. Who cares. All my efforts to stick to the vaccination schedule with military precision, only breastfeed my baby, make all her pureed wholesome food from scratch, knowing every little thing that went into her body, hadn’t stopped her from contracting Pneumococcal disease and nearly dying. So bugger you, natural schmatural. It’s heavy duty drugs and cleaning products henceforth.
It was here, in this Isolation room, that I could not go on – and if I couldn’t go on, who was going to carry my precious little girl on in her battle for life?
I was mad, upon reflection.
My true madness was yet to come though.
I thought I knew scared – having the thing you love most raced onto an operating table, and having to say “goodbye” to a body so tiny she could have lain across the operating table rather than along it. Yet this paled in comparison to what was coming when I re-entered life.
No, I didn’t know scared, til we left the safe confines of those hospital walls. I missed that constant stinging smell of the pink squirty at the back of my nasal passage and in my head cavity. It had come to mean safety to me. No, I didn’t know scared when we were enveloped by the layers of medical knowledge and the humane instinct of nurses. There was no true scared, when surrounded by the life saving abilities of doctors who would come round two or three abreast, twice a day, to check if my little Molly was being invaded by deadly bacteria, yet again.
When we left, that just left me.
It was then I knew scared.
This creative writing excercise was on how delving into the memory of smell can invigorate into your writing. What smell brings out deep emotions in you? A childhood frangipani tree? The smell of apple muffins wafting into the backyard?