A Familiar Scent Was a Heaven-Sent Message

When she suddenly smelled her late father’s aftershave, she knew it was a sign to seek medical help.  

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- Posted on Apr 27, 2020

An artist's rendering of an after shave lotion bottle with angel wings.

A perfumy smell woke me from a deep sleep. I sat straight up in bed. The whole left side of my body was numb. Tingles ran from my neck down to my left foot. My husband had already gotten up, so I couldn’t ask him if he noticed the strong scent that filled the bedroom: a sweet and spicy combination of oranges, nutmeg and vanilla. “Old Spice,” I said, breathing it in. The scent my dad wore every day of his life. Strange that I was smelling it now. Was it real? Were my symptoms? A year ago I’d gone to the ER with chest pains, but doctors assured me it was a bad case of indigestion. Was I overreacting again?

I took another deep breath, visualizing the milky white glass bottle with the blue sailing ship logo. I gave a bottle to Dad every Christmas, every birthday. I loved the scent of it, even when I was a teenager chafing against his protectiveness. He just couldn’t bear the thought of me getting hurt. I wished he was still here to look out for me.

What if he is here? I thought suddenly. What if the smell was a message?

I jumped out of bed, slipped on flip-flops and yoga pants. “I’m numb and tingly from my neck to my toes,” I said to my husband.

We reached the hospital in minutes. After two days of tests, an angiogram revealed two blockages in my coronary arteries. Doctors inserted a stent in surgery. Eventually I needed two more as well as a pacemaker. My heart problems had originally been misdiagnosed. Angels weren’t going to let that happen again.

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