Don’t Forget to Stop and Smell the Roses…Oh wait…I can’t!

I have no sense of smell.

Really, I have no sense of smell. If you have ever asked me to smell something and I answered you …I lied when I answered you! I am sorry.  It is sometimes easier to pretend that I can smell then to answer the usual questions that follow…

Have you ever had a sense of smell? Not that I can remember.

Can you taste? Not like you.

Can you smell flowers? No. I cannot smell.

Can you smell cookies? No. I cannot smell.

Can you smell bad smells? No. Seriously I cannot smell. There are perks.  I cannot smell dirty diapers.

Do you miss your sense of smell? Yes. I am curious to know what it is like to smell cookies baking, freshly bathed children and so on. I am envious of those who have such fond smell-related memories such as, the smell of a person or a place.

When did you realize? When I was a teenager, I told my parents that I could not smell. They took awhile to actually believe me!  They eventually took me to a specialist who determined that I do, in fact, have nerve damage.  It cannot be fixed. Darn!

While researching I found this part particularly interesting “Often people who have congenital anosmia report that they pretended to be able to smell as children because they thought that smelling was something that older/mature people could do, or did not understand the concept of smelling but did not want to appear different from others. When children get older, they often realize and report to their parents that they do not actually possess a sense of smell, often to the surprise of their parents (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anosmia)”.  I distinctly remember trying to pretend that I could smell as a child. I really had no idea what people where talking about! ha!

No sense of smell? Is that even possible??? Anosmia (pronounced /ænˈɒzmiə/) is a lack of functioning olfaction, or in other words, an inability to perceive odors (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anosmia).

How many people have Anosmia?

The true incidence of anosmia is difficult to determine, although the National Institutes of Health have estimated that more than 2 million persons in the United States have a smell dysfunction.
– Ear, Nose and Throat Journal December 1, 2001

Aside from the inconvenience of it (having to visually check for dirty diapers) (not being able to detect what is for dinner until I actually see it…not such a problem anymore since I usually am cooking dinner)! 😛

There is a dangerous side to Anosmia in my inability to detect things like gas leaks (the irony is not lost on me considering my place of employment), spoiled foods and fire.  It is important to take extra precautions.  I am always leery of foods that I am not sure how long they have been in the fridge.

I think my mom is the one person who is most in denial or disbelief about my “disability”.  She is constantly asking me to smell this or that. To which I exclaim “MOM I CAN’T SMELL”!!! I don’t blame her. She means no offence. But it would be like asking a person who is blind to look over there! Not possible.

Dear Mom: There is even an Anosmia Foundation (http://www.anosmiafoundation.com/intro.shtml).

I often compare my lack of smell to someone who is blind. I am blind to warning signs or precursors to events.  Our toaster has recently been malfunctioning.  I NEVER catch it because I cannot smell the burning toast. It comes out charred, black (as a side note: it is extremely frustrating when it is my LAST piece of GF bread). I almost cry.

All in all..I live a full life without my sense of smell.  It has been a missing piece of me for as long as I can remember.  I do wish that I could smell my kids, my husband (although sometimes I am glad that I can’t JK! love you! and my favourite foods.  But I am thankful for the senses that I do have. I am lucky.

Moral of the story…next time you take in a big whiff of your favourite food…be thankful for your sense of smell. Don’t take it for granted!!

Thanks for visiting & letting me share.

S

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