Updated: Apr 15
It has been nearly a year since I lost my sense of smell when I got – unbeknown to me at the time – COVID19. The sense of taste has partially recovered, perhaps helped by the fact that taste buds rely on sensing the textures of foods; so, whilst chocolate may not taste as strongly as before, as it melts into my mouth, I recall what it should taste like! This is the basis of smell training which I am starting this week – recalling, re-establishing the neural path and visualising four different items (lemon, rose, clove and eucalyptus) hoping that smelling their fragrances twice daily for a few seconds will help with the recovery.
Having turned to conventional medicine twice in the past year, I recall how the first time to nasal drops had helped to trigger the sense of smell. However, I stopped too early and it did not last. The second time, the nasal drops did not work. I left it in the hope that the sense of smell would get better, but it did not. I know that in the scheme of things, this is not the worst thing that COVID19 does and it is now recognised as one of #longCOVIDsymptoms
Anosmia is the term used to refer to lack of smell; parosmia is distortion of smells, a change that can lead to unpleasant experiences. I don’t recall how or when I transitioned from one to the other and I cannot say which is worse to be honest. Nowadays, everything seems to smell like vegetable soup; it is disorienting. At times, the smell from cooking is so disgusting and pungent that has gone deep into my stomach and left me nearly wanting to gag. Onions – I love onions! – seem to be the main culprit. What I cannot stand is that a cup of coffee smells like vegetable soup. I mean - I love the smell and the taste of coffee. As an Italian, the love of coffee is deep-rooted into my culture, just like tea is for English people. Coffee was the first thing I used to smell as a child; in the mornings, if my parents were up, the aroma of brewing coffee used to pervade the house and wake me up. What is more disturbing is the smell of burning that I experience, usually at night. I cannot explain it, I have no idea what triggers it and even blowing my nose several times, does not seem to do much good. Apart from appreciation of fragrances and scents, I question my ability to smell a gas leak for example or real burning, that would trigger alarm bells and prompt my body into action. I read about AbScent months ago, and decided to leave. However, after reading more about the experience of others, I decided to give a go. Anything is worth a try at this point. After all, during #Lockdown3, what else do I have to do?🙄 We take things for granted, it is true - the 5 senses are part of our system. When one or more of the senses are compromised, our perception of the world around changes and we feel a bit lost, actually. And I find myself asking the same question others are asking: when will things get back to normal - smiling to myself, because if I say 'when', it means that I have conquered the 'if', and that's a positive step.