Friday, November 21, 2008

Benzoin in the mask case

(When wintergreen oil just wont be enough!) Sometimes the odor in the OR is just too much to handle. Wintergreen oil is the first line of defense as you can coat the inside of the mask with it, but for the bad ones, it is good old tincture of benzoin. Not only does it help block the smell, if you use enough of it you can glue your nostrils shut with it. Tincture of Benzoin has got me through many an anosmia wishing case. I dont know which are the worse, the peri-rectal abcesses, diabetic ulcers or forniers gangrene. Sometimes it is the combination of body odor, stool, vomit and old blood mixed with ketones. Anyway, Justice von Liebig is my medical honor role for discovering benzoin.

1 comment:

SeaSpray said...

Throckmorton...thank God for people like you on the front lines with these things. That's a thank you to the docs, nurses and any other medical personnel involved in difficult cases that are up close and personal.

As a patient and a woman... I always worry about those thinks with the Bajingoland exams/procedures... even shaving.. although that's aesthetics... but I digress.

Your post is timely for me.

A couple of nights ago, while speaking with my mother's PCP... I asked his opinion of the facility my mother is currently in vs 3 other ones in the area (since she will be staying long term)and I have opted to keep her where she is for continuity of his care (he knows her better than anyone second to me)and I told him it is very clean and there are NO nursing home odors unless you happen to walk by a dirty linen basket (smell urine) when they are collecting them.

He agreed and added that 10 years ago you would smell that as soon as you walked in the lobby. But standards/requirements have improved.

I have detected that old smelling odor in one of the wings at the hospital I have frequented as a patient. They would benefit from using Ozone purifiers.

So, last night I visited Mom in her new, larger and more comfortable room. I was excited for her (as much as one can be for someone in this sad predicament)until I opened her bathroom door.

This bathroom (unfortunately) will be shared by 4 people as it has an adjoining door to the 2 people in the room next door.

This bathroom smelled like a (excuse me for saying this but makes the point) PISSY, dirty gas station!!! What the heck? she has been in that place since 10/9 and I have never smelled anything like that there.

Not only that...for the first time last night... I smelled bowel odors and more urine and I was wondering was I experiencing some end of the week Friday night special? And to give my mother the sense that her room was homey... I asked her if I could hang my coat up in her closet. WHAT was I thinking?

I was there quite awhile and kept smelling the pissy bathroom.

As I was driving home... I swear I smelled urine all over me. I had to put the windows halfway down. I worried that my leather coat may have absorbed her hamper odors which was in the closet(?)but what I really think happens...

Maybe you know... but I think with strong odors... our nasal hairs must somehow absorb them... maybe even the lining of the nasal passages? And probably the clothing...just like you can smell smoke on a smoker. Anyway...ewww not a pleasant thing to endure odors.

And I am sure the ones you encounter in surgery are so much worse!

I would rather keep breathing through my nose though than with my mouth because I feel like I can TASTE and smell the odor when I mouth breathe.

One of the docs I worked with commented once about the offensive odor in a hospital wing and then in disgustedly said "And I was breathing those particles in!"

And when we smell odors...those are actually minute particles of that odor. Yuck!

Sorry another long comment. I mentioned it to the nurses station and I will be speaking to the social worker about this on Monday. I do believe she takes these things seriously. That was totally unacceptable and not the norm of what I have experienced there.

I think family involvement is key with these facilities.