Having an autistic child is not the end of the world--far from it. It is my hope that through this blog, at least a handful of people will get to understand that. My child is amazing, she brings us tremendous joy. We have good days & bad days, but we CHOOSE to focus on the good. Our belief is that by loving our daughter, giving her the most comfortable environment we can, and by most of all accepting her differences, she will continue to blossom--in her OWN way.


Doctors & Scents

PhotobucketI brought my youngest to the doctor the other day. Her regular physician was not available, so we met with a nurse practitioner. Most everyone at the pediatrician's office knows my daughter, and more importantly, how to make her feel comfortable. This NP, just our luck, was new and one we'd never met. The NP was really sweet, I think she must have gotten a primer on how to approach my daughter by the nurse (I'm not kidding!). I have to say, my little one did great, despite having never met her.

What wasn't so great, was the overpowering smell of the NP's perfume. It was very strong. I will never understand why someone in the field of medicine would wear any scent, or at least not a very strong one. I'm not sick, and it made me feel like I needed to cough.

Now, I will admit, I may be a bit biased to begin with. I have never really enjoyed heavy scents. When I do wear perfume, it is a very light scent. I myself do not wear any perfume or scented lotion if we are headed to a doctor's office.I do this generally because I consider those with asthma and other breathing difficulties, allergies, colds, nausea, etc. who are more than likely sitting in the waiting room. Another reason, is because I consider those who may be extra-sensitive to such smells, like my child.

My daughter is very much affected by smell (a super smeller and taster here!). She will gag in the grocery store, pick up on odors I never even catch, and refuses to sit by us if we are eating certain foods (plain lettuce for one, believe it or not). So, in our home, we've all taken note of that and try our best not to insult her delicate olfactory system. And also, to not be insulted ourselves should she gag or scrunch up her nose at us or our food.

I realize I can't create some bubble around her to prevent her from smelling odors. There's far too many people, food varieties, buses, and so on in this world! I do hope that one day she is able to tolerate at least some of the day to day smells--like various foods. But, it would be nice if those in the medical profession would take into account their patients' needs (and not just my sensory-sensitive kiddo, the patients with the ailments I listed above too). One would think, that those who work in hospitals and doctor's offices, would take that into consideration.

That's just my two scents...


Lili Marlene said...

I'm sitting here swathed in the smell of a scent that I tried out at the department store that we have just come home from shopping in. It's not very nice and I'm glad I didn't buy the scent; it's obviously based largely on citronella. At least I didn't get bothered by mosquitoes on the way home.

Reading your post I feel a little guilty for wearing scent as much as I do, as I too have a child who has some degree of sensory hypersensitivity. My child complained about the cheezy stink of the fertilizer in the gardens around the shopping centre. The trouble is that there can be two types of smellers on the autistic spectrum; the hypersensitive types that are well-known, and there are also people like me who just can't get enough olfactory stimulation, and may even enjoy funky smells. Life in such a family has to include compromizes and considerations and understanding.

abfh said...

I hope you mentioned the perfume problem to the NP. She probably wasn't aware that patients might be bothered by her perfume. As you mentioned she was "really sweet," I wouldn't think she would take offense to a helpful and polite suggestion.

Bonnie D. said...

I just have to chime in because it's me and not my son with Autism who has a highly acute sense of smell, and I can totally relate to what you're talking about. I gag when a woman passes by me in the parking lot with too much cologne (and God forbid I am within 20 ft of someone with Calvin Kleins Obsession, just shoot me). I can totally empathize. I agree that medical personal should never wear heavy scents based on many reasons, not least of which is you are almost always in tight or close situations with them. Just deodorize the important areas and everyone should be good to go!