I wrote this blog post soon after I 'retired' from nursing in early 2013 and somehow it never made it to the top of the pile. Idly clicking on 'Draft Posts' behind the scenes here the other day I found it again and decided to jump it back up the list and give it an airing...
Thinking as I was about desert island authors the other day while I was cleaning my teeth, I suddenly wondered whether a year's supply of toothpaste as my luxury would be a rather stupid and frivolous request on a desert island, or would a crate of Euthymol (I just love it) be a lifesaver for the smell, the memories of it...and oh yes, maybe starve to death but being able to clean my teeth while I did.
It's interesting because I used to be thinking about the imminent plod to my desk for the day job when I was cleaning my teeth, now I can think about whatever I like.
Like smells, because it's the smell of the Euthymol really and then, while I was waiting for the two minute pinger to buzz on my electric toothbrush I thought about desert island smells...there is another one I just couldn't do without so how would I choose.
Many moons ago I was doing a home visit to a mother and her children who had just escaped a very abusive domestic situation and were in emergency accommodation. I walked into the kitchen and there they all were, mum, two teenagers and two much younger children seated around the table, and to my utter horror there was a pile of white dust in the middle being slicing and quartered and moving around.
I did a double take.
OMG...clearly, with all the attention on the domestic abuse, and working to get the family to safety, we had all missed the obvious...drug dealing.
There they were all sitting there cutting cocaine.
Imagine my relief, (and I suspect my hesitation had been noted no matter how good I thought I was at dealing with the unexpected,) when the mum waved the Johnson's Baby Powder at me before explaining.
When ever times had been tough in the past she would sit them all down with a pile of Johnson's Baby Powder. It was the reassurring smell of security and happier times and it never failed to lift their spirits.
I sat down and joined in as we talked, and we all shuffled piles and piles of the powder around to each other (it wasn't cocaine, I'm sure) and I bought into their calmness. The power of that smell was a revelation.
We talked about how much better life was for them all now...how much safer they felt...how the police were keeping a close eye on the house... how the children were all settled in school and sleeping well ...how the impending court case might go.. who to ring in an emergency...and generally what this freedom from fear felt like.
It was one of the most memorable home visits I have ever done.
As I got back into my car, my hands soft with the powder, I indulged in a reverie of my own.. dusting freshly bathed babies, towelling nappies ...and that scattering of powder on the floor. It was a smell I thought I had left behind, but on my way back to the surgery I stopped off and bought some and I haven't been without it since.
So decisions, decisions...Euthymol or Johnson's Baby Powder for my desert island smell.
How about yours??