Smell? What smell?

As anyone living with allergies on a daily basis will testify, life is not easy. I am aware that summer plays a major role, with tree pollens, grass, house dust mites to name but a few, all playing their part.

Reading back on old hospital notes, allergic rhinitis had been diagnosed, along with allergy tests, and a polyp discovered at the back of my nose. At the time we also had two doggies (dalmatians), who were my babies. So, I suppose all in all, it was inevitable, but predictable, that my symptoms didn’t disappear, but threw themselves into my life with gusto.

Years of sinus infections, fluid build-up in my ears and tinnitus, led to anti-biotics, anti-histamines and nose sprays, and with constant sneezing and nasal drip, I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised when my sense of smell and taste became affected. I can’t actually say when this ability began to desert me, and over how long a period this took. My children used to complain that I was adding too much salt in the cooking, I never realised the reasoning behind this at the time, but it was obviously because my taste was withdrawing.

Approximately ten years ago I saw a specialist who inserted grommets in both ears, and I can only say that having eight or nine years with clear eardrums, and being able to hear a pin drop, honestly felt it was the best decision for me. The last of the grommets broke into pieces and ejected themselves, and I went to see an ENT specialist a few weeks ago, who was mortified they had been implanted as an adult, but I have to be honest, I felt it was the best thing for me at the time. Although they have perforated my ear drums (which now basically acts as a natural drain), I was told I have fair hearing – yep you guessed it – for my age! Which is a surprise, especially with the high-pitched noise in both ears.

Having lost my ability to smell has brought a range of emotions for me, I miss the smell of coffee, onions frying in butter and so many others, although some I can honestly do without. However, last year I began taking steroids (for my asthma) and surprisingly, briefly, gained this sense back. The taste of food was amazing (even a salad), I realised, that for years I had been drinking and eating foodstuffs, for example rum and coke, and reluctantly grasped that I didn’t actually like them. Certain foods I had enjoyed (or thought I had) tasted awful! One shopping trip ended with us perusing around a candle making shop, I had to quickly leave as the scents were too overpowering. I drove hubby mad; I couldn’t make out smells that assorted my nostrils, it was like entering a parallel dimension, in that everything looked the same, but actually wasn’t. It was very confusing, and sadly this newly discovered super power disappeared as quickly as it appeared, when my steroid intake was reduced. Although still taking the tablets it does mean that I can actually have a glass of wine without dissolving into fits of sneezing, which was very bothersome and embarrassing.

I have decided that human nature is wonderful, but at the same time, very complex and very perplexing, so take care of your body, there are no spares. 

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