G went to the doctor for ear trouble again lately. Last time we went, our regular doctor was not available. And this time... our regular doctor was not available. The office was absolutely jam-packed with snotty, running children and hacking old people. (I remember in the "old days," my mother would get dressed up for doctor appointments. Personally, I'll go when I desperately need a shower because NO WAY I'm going without bathing myself and washing every scrap of clothing I wore in boiling water after seeing what the other patients have.)
After we breathed in every germ imaginable to mankind for about an hour, we were finally escorted into the exam room by the nurse. I smelled the most AWFUL smell. It was like old-man-doggie breath. It was THICK in that room. A large group of people who haven't brushed their teeth in at least six months must have had a three-hour closed-door convention in there. I felt the bile come up and I hadn't eaten in several hours. It was BAD. I told the nurse someone very sick had just been in here.
Oh, no... the room's been vacant...
(Yeah, right.) I complained that it stank putrid in there and I wanted another room. Oh, we don't have other rooms...
The nurse acted like she didn't smell it. I put my shirt over my head. IT WAS AWFUL. I asked her to open the door; we're DYING in here! The nurse looked at me like I was a nut. I asked G - Hey, G, you know you smell things better than anyone - isn't it bad in here??
Oh, no, not really bad, he tells me. I gag some more.
The nurse says condescendingly, fine. She'll spray something that should hide the smell. Pfffeeew! Now I can't breathe because of that terribly Lysolly smell. Blech! Yuk! *cough, cough* Gassssp.
Fine, she says, I'll open the door. Now, what medications is G taking?
I'm not telling you with the door open! Hang on while I get my nose outside the door for a breath. Then I'll shut the door and tell you before I get another breath...
I can see she thinks I'm playing some sort of game with her and she is losing. She takes the chart and says, that is fine. Follow me. And gets us another room. You know, the one that didn't exist before.
This room is *fine,* I tell her. I can't smell anything here. At least not that bad.
So the nurse does that why are you here, and what meds do you take routine and leaves. I tell G that I'm really, really surprised that he didn't smell that awful doggy-bad barf-erific smell in that other room.
Oh, I smelled it, he said, resignedly. I just knew it wasn't polite to say anything. It doesn't do any good.
I think in that moment I understood just a little of what G goes through with his sensitive nose and some of his eccentricities. How many times have I called him on how positively RUDE he's been to friends and family who don't smell right? Or told him how RUDE he's been for not paying perfect attention to things, or slumping in church, or whatever? Is this what life is like for him?
What if things are as bad for him on a continual basis as they were for ME in that doctor's room? I know no way *I'M* putting up with conditions like that. Why do I get so surprised when G revolts sometimes on this issue?
That's not to say that I'll be nice next time it comes up. My goodness, you will NOT hurt so-n-so's feelings by plugging your nose 'round her... but I understand a little. Just a little.