It’s Not You

Posse!  It’s Not You.  It’s me.  And it’s really not either of us – it’s perfume.  Have you ever made a Bad Perfume Decision?  I just did – and I Blame Chemistry (not body, per se –  more Better Living Through) .

Let’s back up a bit.  So, two weeks ago I spent 5 or so days in enforced physical restraint and isolation down at my sister’s in KY; originally the plan was for us to trailer my bike down, hang out there for a few days, then I would ride back to my house.  Sounds like a lovely interlude, right?


A seasonal allergic reaction ripped through a verrry tender part of me, rendering it impossible for me to sit, stand… pretty much anything other than laying on my side… for 5 days.  I was in a haze of painkillers and prednisone, trying not to just expire in a puddle of misery.  No perfume at all because I could barely walk the 10 feet to the bathroom to shower and yeah… it was a mess.

No riding through the KY hills in the late Summer breeze.  Instead I lay prone in the backseat whilst my family drove my busted ass back to IL.  My poor bike never got off the trailer.

A biopsy* and a few swabs later, some meds and I’m feeling a bit less like Walking Dead…. so I thought ‘hey!  I’ll put on some perfume’.  Yeah.  No.  Apparently the meds I’m on have altered my sniffer.  UPDATE:  *Biopsy shows some odd dermal issues but no Big C, which is wonderful.  HOWEVAH!!!!  I have a vicious UTI which is raging through my system like a wildfire and the infection has now lodged in that ‘weakest point’ (usually some post-surgical site.  Mine is my left shoulder).  I dunno what made me think I could’ve been a Marine combat officer – I am sick as a snake, barely able to lift my left arm and would sell a portion of my soul to Satan to get rid of this pain.  Yeah.  I would’ve gotten through OCS just fiiiiine 😉

Anyhoo – all the meds, etc – it really has messed with my sniffer.  I’m definitely not anosmic – it’s just that everything is topsy-turvy.

For example: would’ve thought Arpege (ARPEGE~  do you know how much I love Arpege???) could render me nauseated, null and void!  Omg.  I spritzed a bit onto my wrists and fell back as if I’d sprayed a zombie into existence!  Or… maybe Lemon Pledge?  Napalm?  Whatever that smell is, it isn’t Arpege.

And I cannot get it off – or else I cannot get it out of my nose.  Instant headache. Nausea.  Confusion.  Showered, changed my clothes… it’s still there!


But!  LeLabo Rose 31, which has always been my LeLabo ‘meh’, is now the most glorious thing I’ve ever smelled!  It’s just weird.

So here’s the question:  has this ever happened to you – especially has it happened with a beloved, oft-worn scent?  And what happens when you simply cannot get it out of your psyche?  I thought about amping the lemon but if that goes bad I’ll have to boil both of my wrists and that seems a bit extreme….. do you apply something atop it?  Just power through?  Sacrifice a goat to the perfume gods to get it the hell off you?  Cry?


And… for anyone who has gone through a UTI, if I’ve ever been dismissive of it, my abject apologies.  Until now, I’ve been a UTI virgin.  I managed my pop’s but obviously in the abstract – and UTIs in the extreme elderly manifest differently, it seems.  Luckily I’ve had none of the seizures or other weird effects (my pop would go from normal behavior into a coma-like state, in about 90 seconds).   I will tell you this:  I have never peed this much in my entire life!  My Yeti cup full of water is my New Best Friend, along with the unsweetened cranberry concentrate.  March has me on Kefir to stave off the antibiotic-induced ‘other’ infection 😉  – and other than Activia and a scrambled egg, that’s about all I can get down the hatch.  At this point I fully expect to have the skin of an 18month old baby (or Iman) by Wednesday.  It’s only fair, right?  I should get something out of this drama?  Oh, yeah.  Oooh-rah, tough gal.

my new best friend –

I was going to try wearing Divine by Divine today but I’m terrified!  Then again, both Beloved and the original Karl Lagerfeld(both of which share a lot of the notes and style of Divine) are humming along just fine.   Maybe it’s just aldehydic scents – No 5, She Who Must Be Obeyed, has been brought low by this!  That’s like felling Godzilla with a BB gun!



Talk to me.  Co-miserate with my sorry, whiny pee pants self.  I will pull a couple of names for some samples – I know I’m behind but I’m so puny right now that I’m going up for the Medal of Honor, just for getting this post out!  What a punk!  Oooh-rah! indeed.


  • cinnamon says:

    Ouch and yuck. Hope you are on the mend. UTIs are horrid. A soak with Epsom salts in warm bath might help too.

    • Musette says:

      this is my first and if it’s any indication of the complete and utter heinousness of it, I do NOT ever want to experience it again! xoxoxo

  • Maggiecat says:

    I’m cringing in sympathy and wish I had a magic cure to offer. But no, just sorry you have to go through all this. It will pass, so rest and enjoy what pleasures you can.

  • Jennifer S says:

    So sorry to hear and I hope you’re doing so much better now. Why all these trying things seem to happen at the same time…can’t figure that one out!

    • Musette says:

      well, if I’m honest I’d rather have it all crash down at once so I can improvise, adapt and overcome, rather than be pecked to death by ducks across time 😉


  • Patty says:

    Keep healing. FM Portrait of a Lady. I’m not one for the rose, and especially not the big rose, no matter how much I admired this one, but recently, I’ve felt myself drawn to wearing the darn thing more than I feel comfortable with!

  • Maya says:

    Oh no, I hope you get better as quickly as possible. Suffering sucks! As for perfume and being sick – nope, nope, and nope. I’m also sending healing energy.

  • March says:

    Honeybun, this has been A SLOG. I’m continuing to send up healing thoughts for you. I wouldn’t have the courage to try ANY of those frags right now…

  • Tara C says:

    So sorry for your agony! As for the painful allergic reaction that started this misery, pouring a cup of water over yourself while you’re peeing can reduce the burning sensation. As for the UTI, my main weapons are cranberry capsules, D-Mannose and Uva Ursi herbal tincture (all available at the health food store). And if the antibiotics seem to be causing a candida flare, weekly Diflucan tablets until balance is re-established.
    I don’t wear perfume when I’m sick, too risky. Lots of fresh air and a thorough washing of everything that came in contact with the offending scent are in order. Sending you tons of healing vibes!!

    • Musette says:

      oh, honey YES! on the water – I’m using a cobbled-up version of the Persian Hose and it really helped. Even now, that it doesn’t burn anymore. The rest of your suggestions are excellent!!!


  • rosarita says:

    Oh my poor Ms A, I’m so sorry to hear about your UTI, ugh the worst! I think of you riding back to Illinois and the vicarious thought of that pain makes me squinch up a bit. I’ve never had one that severe but my mother has, not for a long time thank goodness.
    I usually don’t wear perfume when I’m really feeling bad, too often it sits “wrong” or triggers a headache. I hope you are better soon, hugs! The gentle, right arm only kind.

    • Musette says:

      Dollbaby! I rode six (6) miles to a roadhouse – SIX miles – and well, that was a Very Bad Decision – and that was after the meds and erntments, etc. Can you imagine SIX HUNDRED miles??



  • grizzlesnort says:

    Yikes! So sorry. 🙁 Nothing worse than getting sick or hurt while you’re supposed to be vacationing. Injury and insult. Crap. And then the nose. I have found that when I have caught a nasty smell, — yes, when I have been ill, normal smells are whacko–after airing out the house and scrubbing the wrists etc, I have to saline douche my hirsute nose where the offending smells have been lodged and are happily residing or else nothing else will make me whole again.

  • Kathleen says:

    I feel awful for you Musette! Sending healing vibes to get well soon. xoxo
    I adore Arpege as well and had the same experience when I sprayed during an acute bout of bronchitis. The intensity was overwhelming and smelled more like Pledge rather than the gorgeous perfume that it is. It took me a long time to enjoy it again.
    UTIs are frightening for older generation; as a nurse I’ve seen people become unable to function and become incoherent.

    • Musette says:

      omg, thank you (re the Arpege Moment). That thing goes back with a quickness, doesn’t it?

      And yes! The first time my dad fell out (literally fell out, into that coma-like state) I nearly had a heart attack. By the time we were on UTI # 5 I had it a bit more down pat – but the suddenness was always shocking. One minute you’re having a regular conversation, the next their eyes have gone all Marty Feldman and they’re totally incoherent!

      Bette Davis never lied when she said ‘old age ain’t for sissies’


  • Queen-Cupcake says:

    Aargh! Musette, I am so sorry that you are going through this–how awful! When I am sick, miserable or in pain, I tend to avoid perfume. If anything, I may dab a tiny bit of Clary Sage oil or Sandalwood oil. Lately, none of my vintage beauties interest me… My new love is Blue Lotus absolute.

    Feel better soon, dear one! I’m glad you had family & friends to help you get back home.

    • Musette says:

      thank you, my angel! I cannot imagine how I would’ve gotten home without them. D & JB are my ROCK! and I will love them forever.


  • Alityke says:

    The reason nurses are taught not to wear scent is this!
    Both illness & treatment can change & heighten the schozzle kit.
    No one want to have “lemon pledge/rotting fish/onions/*insert horror here” in their sniffer when they’ve had bits removed, are dosed to the eyeballs or in agony!

    Hope you’re back to your usual self ASAP x

  • MizChris says:

    Go to Amazon and order D- Mannose. Now Foods sells it as a supplement. It is a God send for UTIs. I will never be without it. Thank me later.

  • Cecilia says:

    Oh wow!!! Besides drinking a lot of water, I’ll take azo cranberry capsules every now and then as a preventive. Feel better soon!!!

    I think my sense of smell is not nearly as sharp as it used to be. I can't smell my beloved Coco Mademoiselle eau de parfum on me, but others always compliment me on the fragrance. I can smell Cristalle edp on me, though. (Yes, I'm a Chanel girl). Lol

    I hope your meds kick in soon so you can get some relief. All the best.

    • Musette says:

      The Empress Ruth swears by Azo. I am fond of cranberry so the concentrate (which is always in my fridge) really helps! I’d like to say this UTI came out of nowhere but it actually came out of my resistance to peeing because of the ‘down there’ discomfort (peeing was like pouring battery acid on my bits, so I would resist the urge). Had I not been in so much pain I would’ve thought it through – but pain makes ya stupid.


      • MizChris says:

        I hear you about not peeing because it hurts, Mustette. I suffered through UTIs since I was a preschooler. You know what else brings ’em on? Stress. You recently had a big loss and major grief which I doubt just magically stopped. So stress got you in a place and in a way you can’t ignore. I am not being a nyah nyah know it all in saying that. Grieve, give in to it, get the D Mannose and really care for yourself. Treat YOURSELF the way you would treat a beloved friend.

  • Dina C. says:

    Oh you poor thing! I’ve had to go to the ER a couple times with UTIs. Mine seem to come out of nowhere and go straight to peeing blood with terrific amounts of agony. Fortunately, it’s only happened two or three times. Hate those things! What can I say, drama queen thru and thru. As for the wonky sniffer, yes, to that too. Usually when I’m having a migraine, or about to, and my brain is all scattered. Just the other day I had to scrub off Seville a L’Aube with dish soap and a scrubbie sponge because it was too much for me. Certain heavier notes like incense are tricky for me. The weather, the humidity, the state of my head…it all has to be in alignment for me to wear them. Sounds like astrology! 😀 I sure hope that all of your ailments and aches resolve themselves in a speedy fashion Anita. Sorry about you missing out on the bike rides. Sending hugs,

    • Musette says:

      Oh, my darling!!! That sounds AWFUL! Luckily I didn’t have the ‘peeing blood’ thing (though Jane did – she was prone to UTIs and the blood scared the snot out of me!!!) but MAYNE! this thing is tenacious!!! Though my urine’s clear, it’s still a bit ‘ow-y’ – I do think it’s abating.

      I’m taking Queen Cupcake’s advice and staying off the perfume for a bit.


  • Portia says:

    GAH! What a shit storm Musette.
    Portia xx

  • Pam says:

    I’m so sorry for you! You sound miserable! And the smells being “off” sounds yucky. When I encounter a scrubber situation, I wash and wash, use some rubbing alcohol, good ventilation, and then avoid said fragrance for at least a month. Get better, Musette!

    • Musette says:

      Yikes! I forgot the alcohol!!! That usually does the trick, post-scrub. dagNABBIT! I’ll certainly keep that in the mind if this happens again!

      and yeah, I wouldn’t touch Arpege or 5 with a barge pole right now! 😉


  • Koyel says:

    Musette, I’m so sorry! I hope you go back to normal soon! On the other hand, I’m glad you were near family when it happened.

    When I get landed with a scrubber that no amount of scrubbing will get out of my nose, I just try to get plenty of fresh air and stay in open spaces. Exercise helps, too, with the fan on full blast: sweat it off, and blow it away.

    Ugh, I used to get a ton of UTIs in my 20s, but now (in my 30s), they’ve pretty much disappeared. Such agony. I didn’t even know that they could have such severe secondary effects.

    • Musette says:

      Luckily they don’t seem to manifest those effects in people your age (nor in mine, which is quite a bit older than you) if the person is in good health. However! later in life (my pop was in his mid-80s when they started manifesting) the symptoms become really … dramatic. A friend’s mother evinced seizure-like symptoms and my dad’s symptoms were equally as dramatic; the problem isn’t just that – it’s that they just seem to come out of nowhere!