Surviving the permanent loss of my sense of smell.
It was one week before Thanksgiving 2000. I couldn’t wait to smell the aromas of a traditional American Thanksgiving, to taste the turkey, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes…
Of course, included in this wondrous feast was the torturous wait… looking at the Pumpkin Pie the night before, waiting for the Turkey to come out of the oven, hearing the whir of the mixer mashing up the potatoes, being told time and time again “no, it’s not ready and anyway all the guest aren’t here yet.”
Finally Turkey Thursday arrived, the food was on the table, all the guest were seated, but alas, my dream of fully enjoying a delicious meal had been dashed. I had a cold! Which translates to no sense of smell and very little tasting capacity.
Well, I sadly sat down to the dinner table and tried to console myself that I’d be better in time to taste the leftovers in a couple of days. But even that fantasy was dashed as my cold became pneumonia and the quick recovery I had been hoping for went from days to weeks to months.
It is now nine years since that Thanksgiving Day and I still cannot smell. Apparently the nerve endings in my nose that connect to the Olfactory System were destroyed by the virus/bacteria.
The numerous methods I have tried to restore the sense of smell include acupuncture, reflexology, surgery, supplements, EFT and positive thinking.
It seems these efforts have paid off in a ‘sense’ since my taste buds are acting in a reasonable enough way that it is possible to enjoy food and a well-balanced wine. If a wine is immature or truly not ready to drink the alcohol explodes in my mouth with no flavor whatsoever.
According to the AMA I can refer to myself as having Anosmia or Chronic Olfactory Dysfunction. Apparently 2.7 million Americans have this affliction.
The major dangers for an Anosmiac are eating spoiled food, gas leaks and not being able to smell smoke which is a big deal where I live in California. ( My house has had a mandatory evacuation three times due to forest wildfires.)
Cooking can also present a hazard, as any burning food cannot be sensed until flames instead of fragrance are wafting through your kitchen. I know this from experience. While heating Olive Oil one day, the phone rang. By the time I returned to my culinary duties two-foot flames were shooting out of my favorite Cephalon pan. Thank goodness it was such a heavy-duty pan or my entire kitchen may have been engulfed. I quickly threw the lid onto the pan smothering the flames. It took at least two hours to get all the smoke out of the house. After this I vowed never to leave the kitchen if a burner was on. All my cooking apparatus are electric. I can’t even consider having natural gas or propane.
Leftovers are tossed after two days or they are sniffed by a friend who can smell.
For a long time I drove a car with a Diesel engine. There was rarely anyone in the car except for me. One day a friend borrowed the car and commented on the ‘horrible smell of fumes.’ I took the car to a mechanic. He said the gasoline cap had become defective and was leaking diesel like crazy. This is not a good thing.
My next attempt to retrieve my lost sense will involve essential oils. I am not sure in what way, but a sense that works tells me, for some reason, essential oils will help me find what I am missing.
Essential oils ‘talk’ to me. Even if they can’t communicate in the same way as they do with someone who can smell, they still affect my psyche and well-being.
So, I will keep you posted on my journey with the invisible molecules of scent and hope that you will enjoy your Thanksgiving Day the way I did before the year 2000. Happy Thanksgiving.