Sunday, April 19, 2009
Can you smell that smell?
“What’s that smell?” my daughter asked as she walked in the door.
“Hash browns, pork chops and black-eyed peas,” I said.
“What’s the smell?” my son asked as he walked in two minutes behind her.
“That’s your dinner,” I said, getting ready to explain to them that aroma was probably a better word to use, when they both said, “YUM!”
I took it as a great compliment.
I get migraines and sometimes when I’m lying in bed with an ice-pack on my head, I try to picture myself in a relaxing place. At first I imagined the beach, but the thought of the heat and the sun and the waves made my head hurt worse. I tried several other scenarios before hitting upon one that really relaxes me, one that leaves me with a sense of well-being and makes me forget (for a moment) about the pounding in my head. It’s the memory of the smell of my childhood home—freshly cut clover wafting through my open window mingled with burgers and homemade French fries frying on the stove. I can almost hear my mom calling, “Time to eat!”
About three years ago, my husband lost his sense of smell. He had a terrible sinus infection, so rather than consult the doctor, he used an over-the-counter product that you squirt up your nose straight into your sinuses. He used it often, for weeks, perhaps a month, not knowing that it contains zinc, and zinc can obliterate one’s sense of smell.
We didn’t realize it until we stayed at someone’s cabin in Florida. The water had an incredible sulfur smell, causing me to have to hold my breath while I showered. It was like bathing in rotten eggs. My husband meanwhile sang in the shower, totally oblivious to the odor. That was our first big clue. Later, he did some research and learned there was a class action lawsuit against the drug’s manufacturer.
Today, he claims to have regained some of his sense of smell. Occasionally, he’ll perk up and sniff like a dog that’s caught wind of something. But, other than that, he doesn’t have much. Now it’s up to me to tell him when he reeks, like when he came home the other day with his shoes covered in gasoline. I’m glad he’s not a smoker.
Of course, there are times--like when we were camping and had to use the port-a-potty-- when I envy him. Then there are times, like today with the smell of potatoes frying, I feel sorry for him and, even though he says he doesn’t miss it, I hope he’ll smell again soon.