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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Your Dying Spouse 200 - The Nose Knows

Wow...two hundred posts in this series. That's kind of a milestone.

Caregivers, this is going to be hard for you to hear...but what you smell like can really make a difference in the life of the person for whom you're caring. For good, of for bad.

I'm not going to address common, basic hygiene. I assume you're all there, and not washing once a month or so.

Nope. This is about what you eat. You aren't what you eat, but you do smell like it. And you likely don't know it.

The biggest culprits are garlic, onions, and alcohol. The body looks at these as being, at least in part, as toxins, and tries to flush them out as quickly as possible...and that means through the pores as well as the usual paths.

Not that these three 'foods' are bad for you...not even alcohol, which is quite beneficial in moderation. (During WW2, citizens were asked to donate blood every week, and to drink red wine between donations. And if you live in France and don't have wine with each meal, your neighbours will think you quite mad.)

Where was I?

Oh, right. The foods may be beneficial, the body may be over-reacting, and it may all be innocuous, except that you might smell pretty bad, at least to someone who's fighting nausea and loss of appetite anyway.

Aside from making your caregiving an uncomfortable experience, it can also build a kind of distance, if you're not careful. Physical revulsion (and that is not too strong a term, believe me) brought on by illness can lead to an emotional wariness. Part of it is a natural outgrowth and is subconscious, but part may be "he/she knows I'm sick and nauseated, and should know that I can't take this Mediterranean diet stuff!"

And the patient for whom you're caring may well be too polite, or too proud to tell you.

So...for what it's worth, here''s my advice - if you're caregiving for your spouse, ask: "Does what I eat make me smell...uncomfortable...to you?"

Believe me, this kind of gracious approach can do wonders for your relationship...and for the quality of time together you may yet have.

Marley update...he's received a lot of support, but STILL NEEDS HELP TO BE SAVED.


He's up to nearly 200,000 signatures, but the local authorities are dragging their feet. They think that we'll give up and go away. We won't.

If you have a mment, I'd like to ask you to visit Change.org to consider a petition to free a 'death row dog' who has been separated from his family for ten months over a misunderstanding. Marley was saved from Afghanistan by a US serviceman; please help make sure this story doesn't end in needless tragedy! Marley's gotten a lot of support...but he still needs our help.

If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.


  1. A fascinating post ... congrats on hitting the 200 milestone. Betcha never thought you'd make it there ... ah, but God ...

    1. Thanks so much, Linda! And no, I never thought I would still be here. God has His plans, and I can't say that I mind, in spite of some of the discomforts!

  2. Two Hundred posts is a huge milestone for any topic, but I especially applaud you for persevering in a theme that has to be very challenging!

    1. Michele, thank you...it is quite a milestone, when I think of it. And it has been a terribly hard series to write, because I have to face some things I would prefer not to see.

      But it has been worth it.

  3. WOW!! Number 200...I think that IS quite a milestone, Andrew...

    As for the smells?! I guess I never quite thought about it before...but perhaps I should...though I don't eat garlic, much onions or consume alcohol...so, maybe I'm OK afterall!!

    You did give me quite a chuckle with your post today, though; but I do understand about smells because some actually affect me as the caregiver!!

    Still here following your words! Prayers, as always!

    1. Thanks barbara! I'm just glad the Lord has seen fit to let me hang around.

      Smells do affect the caregiver as well; that'll actually be a topic for a future post to be called - tentatively - 'Patient Etiquette'.

      Thank you so much for the prayers!

  4. Oh goodness - how true! The same goes for pregnant women, btw. I don't mean to sound flippant, but it's so true that certain things heighten the smell! Congrats on 200 posts!

    1. Thanks, Carol! I had heard that it worked that way for pregnant women, but having spent little time with any pregnant lady I did not want to stick my neck out.

      And flippant is always good. I mean, if you can't laugh at life, why show up?

  5. 200! Congrats on that. You are making the most out of this experience, sharing it and inspiring people. Such an encouragement you are.

    1. Lux, thank you so much. It's a hard subject to write, but I would never consider quitting. And as things progress, it goes deeper, and more personal...but that's the breaks, and it's worth every word to me.

  6. TWO HUNDRED! No small feat. Congratulations! You have touched a lot of lives. Here's to another 200!

    1. Norma, thank you! I'm hoping for another two hundred as well.

  7. Congrats on the 200 Andrew! Wow! Oh yes, spot-on! At least my Mum was honest about this. She always had a very sensitive nose, but we soon discovered it was even more sensitive when she got sick. It's good you're warning others. I hope it helps someone who visits.