Flowers for Valentine’s Day? Not for Chemo Patients

Valentine’s Day is on Friday, which means the florists will be busy. Me, I prefer the chocolatier – more on that later this week, but, back to the flowers. Flowers are uplifting. They are alive, pretty and offer a nice pop of colour especially this time of year in the northern hemisphere. They also smell pretty… sometimes. On the first day of chemotherapy treatment the nurse warned us about scents.

Chemo patients are especially sensitive to smells.

Despite this warning, I would watch people come into the cancer unit armed with large bouquets of fresh flowers. This just didn’t make sense to me, nor did the visitors who bathed in perfume before coming to visit the hospital. If their perfume bothered me, can you imagine someone undergoing chemo who just has to get the littlest whiff of something to have the contents of their stomach project across the room? Lovely visual isn’t it. Did I get my point across? If your loved one is undergoing chemo save the flowers and perfume for another day. Holding back on scents may not only apply to the cancer unit. Hospitals in general and most work places have become scent sensitive. You can read the guidelines put forth by the Ontario Human Rights Commission here. It’s not just perfume. The Commission also lists other sources of scents for scent sensitive people (scroll down the linked page to see the list).

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