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I noticed what I thought was a familiar unpleasant smell, that of death in my mother's house , a smell which persisted even hours after the windows were open. I forgot about it, until my s mentioned the odor to me, it is a smell we associated with our father, when he was dying.
Has anyone else experienced this phenomenon?
Reply with quote #2
When my MIL was still living in her house, she complained of "something dead" in the house. It seemed like it was coming up from the furnace registers. Turns out there was a very large, very dead cat in the crawl space. He had gotten in through an open vent and curled up under the furnace to stay warm. Of course, you-know-who had to crawl under there and drag it out (all of the other sibs/husbands refused). My wife used the old hospital trick of placing 3-4 scoops of cheap ground coffee on a piece of paper (coffee filters work well) in several places around the house to absorb the odor. In a week or so, it was gone.
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I've had no experience with this myself, but a quick google revealed a lot of people with the same experience. Whatever's going on, E, sending you big (((((hugs))))) and warm thoughts.
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Equality, can you describe the smell?
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Equality,I know all too well what you are talking about. I have worked in a nursing home for over 3 decades. It is a distinctive odor. In my experience there are 2 odors. One being the smell of cancer, hard to describe. & the other being the smell of one's body shutting down. I think that you might be talking about the one that smells like a septic, kind of alcohol odor. That's the odor that ones body gives off while the organs are in the process of shutting down. I hope that I explained it well. ~~~Judith~~~
Reply with quote #6
Thank you for all the replies. I find the odor hard to describe, almost a mixture of good smells that have crossed the line from pleasant to stench.
I recall years ago visiting an acquaintance who had minor surgery, as we stepped off the elevator i was assaulted by a horrible odor, which no one else noticed. During our visit the patient carped"Can you believe it, they put me on the cancer ward, because there were no beds on the other floors" I knew then what I smelled was death, dying cells.
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the hospice social worker that came to Mom's home and I talked about what to expect..During the conversation, we developed a "trust" of a sort. She told me that she could "smell" an emminent death. It does seem that as the body is breaking down, there are processes that produce odors that are distinct. not rotting, but something,,she said it was overly sweet.
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I wonder, could it be ketones (acetone)? which can build up if there are problems with the metabolism of blood sugars/carbohydrates - just thought because of the "alcohol" and "sweet" descriptions. By some quirk I've never been able to smell it but colleagues doing farm work could pick it up with one sniff (you get it in cows when one stomach twists into the wrong position - one guy could pretty much diagnose an LDA as soon as he walked into the barn!). Other smells I can think of in my job that are "near death olfactory expereiences" would be uraemia (sort of urine-like smell on the breath in end stage renal failure), maggots have a very specific smell, bloody diarhhoea (eg parvo virus) also has it's own whiff.
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I remember when I had major surgery and was laying in bed, my skin and sweat had a weird sweet smell. I assume it was the morphine interacting with my sweat glands but I will never forget that smell. Body chemistry certainly reacts to changes so I can certainly understand there being an odor of dying cells and organs shutting down or preparing to shut down.
Reply with quote #10
I've smelled "the death smell" a few times. It's is a sharp, sweet smell and it makes your skin crawl. The smell doesn't jump right out at you as a prominent scent - it more like a dull throb in the currents of the air and it clings to things. I read somewhere once that our primitive brain keeps a memory of that smell to keep us away from whatever disease or danger is killing (or has killed) the person... in other words, our subconsiouses know what that smell is even if we've never actually smelled it because it's a survival mechanism.
Ndad sometimes exhibits a weird smell when he's been drinking too much. It's a strange sort of sickly odour that sticks to his clothes and the furniture. It'll cling to the walls for days.
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i have a night shirt that dearly love when i don't feel good and it smells like my dad i don't care how many time its washed but when i don't feel good and put it on there is that smell of his aftershave and i can put it on and i feel warm and cozy and when mom was in the hospital from Feb 9 till march 20 of this year and i would come home at night and put it on and it was like his arms was around me by the way he pass away in 1994
Reply with quote #12
About a week or so before my Grandma passed, I noticed she had a really odd odor. My first thought was bad breath, but it wasn't that sort of smell exactly. Sort of sicky/sweet rancid. I told my mom "Grandma smells dead" and mom didn't seem to notice the smell...I think because she was with her all the time and was use to it. I never heard anyone else mention this phenomenon before. I knew Grandma was dying, and I described it at the time that she smelled like she was dying from the inside out. I've smelled plenty of dead animals before, and it is vaguely similar, but yet not the same. I was the only one who smelled it...maybe it is something only certain people can pick up on? Grandma had no ailments, cancer or anything and was simply dying of "old age" (96).
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My h thinks my mother looks terrible, her mouth looks twisted, almost grimace like but she is no longer putting in her bridge, so what he is noting may be only a mechanical change. However, that smell does make me wonder if she is finally breaking down. The first part of her urine analysis was negative, so it maybe that her recent fall was not attributable to a UTI. She says she is dizzy all the time and sick to her stomache. I would assume she was deteriorating, but she eats well.
Reply with quote #14
I don't recall any smell when either my Mom or Dad passed.