Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I Don't Smell a Thing

The Washington Post ran the most interesting article on Tuesday, "I Don't Smell a Thing." To me this was a life-changing article, but to the rest of you it may just seem odd. The narrator of this article explains his life without a sense of smell, and how he has discovered a clinic that is working with him to see if he can ever get a sense of smell [and taste]. I have NEVER met another person in my entire life who has this same problem as me! I was literally jumping up and down in my chair as I read the article. Someone else out there has actually said, "At least I can't smell farts." This may seem strange to you, but to me, I have found a kindred spirit.
I don't remember much about smells before I was 13. But I do clearly remember babysitting my baby brother around that age, when my mother came home one day and said "why doesn't someone change that stinky baby?" I remember being a little surprised because I couldn't smell anything. So I put my brother down and changed his diaper. Upon the removal of the diaper I found toxic contents that should have knocked me out. My brother covered his nose and starting fanning himself for fresh air. (My brother had this funny habit of covering his own nose when he had a really bad diaper. Used to crack me up to watch the little bald headed baby cover his nose and go "ewww...") I kept it a secret for years from my family that I couldn't smell the dirty diapers. I knew if anyone caught on that I couldn't smell how stinky the babies were (there was a baby in diapers in our house from my 7th grade year till I graduated from high school) they would make me always change them. Or worse yet, take out the diaper pail out. But by the time I left for college there was no denying I couldn't smell anything.
And like the author of the article, I live with this odd fear that I will die from a gas leak or in a fire. Actually, unlike anything the author describes, I can "feel" some smells, such as smoke. I have a reaction to smoke like most people- coughing, burning eyes, etc. But I can't actually SMELL it. (For those of you who know I am a fire fighter, I used all of the other clues to find smoke and fire. I could "feel" the smoke, such as the warmer air, or just see the dirty air. But I was pretty useless on the "smoke in the area" calls.) So this article has given me a lot of new hope I never knew I could have before. There is a clinic in DC that can help me regain a sense of smell. But like the article mentions, there is a strange fear that comes with it. What if I don't like the smells? I don't necessarily know what I am missing right now. I know that right now that when I do occasionally smell something it makes me sick. It can absolutely nauseate me when there's a strong smell around. So it kind of scares me to start smelling things. Granted, I don't know if the clinic can cure me. But just to know that there are other people out there who have my same problems! WOW! YEAH!
To those of you with all 5 of your senses, well, I guess you'll never know what it feels like to think I just may get to have one of them back again. (And that my taste senses can be improved too!)


You can find the article here-

1 comment:

  1. No way! I've heard about 1 other person that doesn't have taste & smell. (You're just missing smell though, right?) My cousin also can't smell anything.
    I think I miss 1/2 of the smells...must have an underdeveloped nose.
    As a Biology teacher...this has ended up being a good thing for me...but I do regret not always noticing that special guys cologne unless I'm up close and personal.


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