That Hospital Smell


Walked into the Tom Baker Cancer centre for the first time in two weeks. Since I am typically here twice a week the two week hiatus actually felt like quite a long break from the hospital and all it’s adventure.

The first thing I noticed, after the huffing and puffing of the walk up the hill, was the hospital smell. It hit me the second I walked into the revolving door. And the second I got that whiff the reality of why I come here so often hit me.

The consciousness wasn’t a major shift but instead was the realistic understanding that I’m dealing with cancer and will be doing so for the rest of my life. Nothing new of course but that smell brought back many of the memories of the journey so far.

Again it wasn’t a big hit, but certainly different experience than the 10 days in Muskoka where all I had to do was take medication and then enjoy the day. I truly enjoyed all that that trip brought forward - from the water to the trees, the golf and cocktail parties  and most importantly the family and the friends that show up in your life when you make the annual trek to Ontario, I loved it all.

But now I’m back and missing the freshness and folly of a holiday.

As I type this I am sitting in the waiting room after having filled out the forms regarding my physical and mental well being, I’ve weighed myself, my blood pressure and oxygen have been taken and I’ve updated the nurse on any issues to be discussed. I’m now waiting to see the Oncologist to go over blood work and discuss any issues. Today we are going to discuss the increase in itchiness that is driving me nuts, the dryness of my eyes, getting up between 5-8 times a night to pee, pain in my ribs and the newest, a sharp abdominal pain. We are also going to be discussing the new treatment for September.

And that is all part of the repetitiousness of my life these days. The break was great but once I walked into the hospital the Groundhog Day disease was upon me, again.

Blood work, Oncologist meeting and IV every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. For those that know me would understand that I have a dislike for doing anything repetitious and have a deep need for change, heck when I was working I tried really hard just to change the route I took every day just so it would somehow feel new.

So I think the lesson in all this is that I need to be continually trying new things and going to new places. Or at least look at these things places in a unique way. 

As always the journey is fraught with challenges and I simply need to find ways to manage the adventure. 

And that smell was the genesis for this post. Of the five senses I believe smell is the one with the strongest memory so instead of the hospital I am going to instead focus on the smells of Muskoka for as long as I can.


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Cottage Life