Ooooh That Smell

For a while now I’ve had super sensitive sense of smell. I think it’s getting worse… better… more intense maybe is the word I’m looking for here. Sometimes it affects what I’m tasting or maybe it would be easier to say that I can taste things in foods and liquids that others don’t. A few examples are listed below in no particular order.

  • Mildew on towels (fresh from the dryer or clothes line or hanging on the towel rack for however long)
  • My cats litter box is on the second floor of the house, I can smell if she’s used it from anywhere on the first floor or when I first get home
  • friends and strangers have bad breath that I’ve asked others about but they say they didn’t smell anything
  • perfumes and colognes can be detected strongly from a train car length away or a good block if the wind is blowing properly
  • something in my house smells like chicken, I can’t find it and I’m not sure what it is but I have lots of scented candles and odor eater things placed about to make the smell less evident
  • there is a tree near my house that smells horribly like stale beer
  • I can’t walk in the middle of the prepared foods part near the deli of the grocery store the smells of the foods in the buffet part is well, too smelly
  • dogs and cats – just touching them and I can smell them on me for hours after and I LIKE dogs and cats
  • sometimes when I’m sitting or standing next to someone I can detect that they’ve either been wearing the same underwear for a few days or don’t wipe well
  • there are things that I would have never considered to have a smell at all that have a smell
  • feet, gas, fish, body odor – none of these things would I consider to smell good anyway, but they seem to overpower my senses

If that’s not disgusting enough for you, some of the taste things include water or tea where I can taste sewage in them (what does sewage taste like? just like what it smells like) and milk starts to go bad to my tongue a week before the expiration date. I can actually taste when food I’m eating has been touched by something that isn’t on my plate – onions, peppers, fish – or maybe the preparers didn’t wash their hands in-between touching the items.

The smell of things can be so intense that I’ll stop walking down the street to avoid scents coming from someone, or move to entirely different cars on the Metro. At meetings I try to distance myself from smells. If someone comes into a restaurant and their perfume or cologne is too strong my meal can end up tasting like what they are wearing. It’s not every scent, it appears to be just some scents and I’m sure there is a pattern I’m missing somewhere. It sounds crazy.

When I smell something so strongly I often look around wondering why none of the people near me seem to notice and ask others if they can smell it – they say no. If you were Superman or Wolverine you’d go crazy being able to smell the things they can smell hell, I’ve been crazy a long time and I know this is driving me crazier. When I talked to my doctor about this he actually suggested I might be turning into a superhero – sniffing out crime… I like my doctor, he’s funny.

Friends have suggested I might be pregnant as they’ve experienced an enhanced sense of smell then, but the condoms have been intact – I know they are only 99.9% effective, but I’m fairly certain I’m not pregnant.

So after my doctor and I talked he talked to colleagues who didn’t know what this was either and then I had an MRI last week. The results of the MRI were normal or “non specific white matter change in some part of the brain, which is normal and doesn’t explain the smell symptoms” – but it does confirm that I actually have a brain in case you were wondering.

So if I offer you a breath mint or a stick of gum – you should really take it, especially if you want me to keep talking to you. If I don’t want to shower at your house or spend the night – it could be that I don’t like people but really it’s probably that your towels smell mildewy or that you have a pet who’s smells overtake all my other senses.

You might see me breathing out of my mouth a lot – yes I’m a mouth breather. I’ll be a mouth breather when I have to be and apparently I have to be a lot right now.

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