Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I have anosmia.

At the moment I seem to be anosmic, meaning that I can't smell anything. Orthonasally, that is. I can still taste flavors (at least I think so--food hasn't seemed particularly bland), so I think retronasally I might be fine. Here's the background:

I've been sick since mid-December, when I flew home across the Atlantic. At first it was just a minor headcold. I felt all 'inflamed,' but mostly only at night. I seemed to get a bit better by hammering the cold with Mucinex and decongestants. A couple weeks later, though, I got a high fever for a night, followed by days of maybe a mild temperature, and seemingly fluctuating between feeling very hot and very cold but probably not feverish.  I think I had a mild cough after that. The whole time, however, I was able to smell things. Then I flew back to Sweden, and got sick again, probably from the stress. Green-grey mucus. So I stayed home from work for a couple days and slept nearly the whole time. And I've had a productive cough since then. The mucus went from gray-green to yellow. And I started taking bromhexine, since that's OTC in pill form here. I know that I could still smell after getting here.

Then a few days ago, possibly when I tried to break my dependence on nose spray, I noticed that I couldn't smell a thing. Food still tasted fine, but I couldn't properly smell anything from the front of my nose.  A couple days ago I sprayed a bunch of different fragrances on paper (Spellbound, Fleur du Male, Body Shop White Musk for Men--nothing exactly subtle) and inhaled. Nothing.  Absolutely nothing. I figured it must be the cold, the congestion.

So today I used some nose spray (oxymetazoline AND Nasonex) and took a large dose of decongestant (pseudoephedrine, the real stuff) and smelled (er, inhaled from) a bunch of things: isobutyl quinoline, methyl benzoate, wintergreen oil, juniper berry oil, an apple fragrance oil, Azarbre, rum acetal, a couple monstrously strong scents I made, para-cresol 10%, Ultrazur, Galbex 183, a couple perfumes, a dilution of skatole. 

Nothing. Or rather, sometimes maybe a faint just-under-consciousness type odor, but that was probably because I knew what I was smelling.  Maybe a faint hint of the Galbex. 

I guess that's why I haven't recoiled from the frequent bathroom stench at work in the past few days.

Ironically, I've also been reading that book Season to Taste, about someone's anosmia which resulted from a head injury.

So has anyone out there over the intertubes had this experience? Any treatment recommendations? Alls I could find was a brief mention of various minerals (zinc, magnesium, selenium), vitamin A, theophylline (because it increases cAMP in mucus--so might coleus forskohlii help?), alpha lipoic acid.

I think I should get my olfaction back when the illness is gone, but this is very dispiriting. I hope it's not a long-lasting or permanent thing.  

Suggestions, anyone?

E

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