The Facets of Anosmia in Relation to Separation

Yesterday and today, I have pondered anosmia in comparison to loss of hearing and becoming blind. Blindness causes separation from things; whereas, loss of hearing separates one from people. Being anosmia is the loss of all smell and in turn 95% of taste, this disorder causes separation from several things: the understanding of danger and the pleasure of food for starters. When one is not pleasured by food, enjoying the taste, appearance, etc, it can have an effect on social settings. For me, I have wanted to steer away from eating in front of hardly anyone. Before this disorder and even when I did not understand how vast it was with the sense of taste, I always enjoyed eating at the dining room table with my family. Now, it is quite an undertaking to find a way to enjoy eating. The goal of this is not purely for my own satisfaction of eating but what joins eating: communication and socialization with those I love ALONG WITH not displaying an unhealthy habit to my children. Eating with others is a situation in which I have formed and grown bonds in the past. However, I have not yet adjusted to either deflecting away from how others’ foods taste or stating that I am a poor person to ask about the taste of foods… thus feeling as though my comments are ungratifying, lowering the cook’s spirits. It becomes easier when I realized my limitations, but I am one who does not want others wringing hands over me and feeling sorry for me. It’s like at a social event and you are expected to eat, there is an expectation of me eating, which is uncomfortable. Sure, we can lie, but that automatically reinforces how we are everyday people without our own difficulties… very unwise, which is a road I choose not to travel.

I am still traveling the Road to Acceptance and am on the final two steps.

  • Denial
  • Recognition of having a problem but not of needing help
  • Acknowledgement of needing help but unwillingness to seek it
  • Lack of readiness to accept help
  • Acknowledgement of the problem and full acceptance of one’s need for help

I am a little different from this set of steps, as I have not found support for anosmics; and I believe based on the statistics that we need a voice along with help and acknowledgement from the medical field and society. Sure, we might not be a high percentile of society; however, seeing that we often die within five years, there needs to be more recognition, education, and support. As stated above, we often separate from food and situations involving eating socially is something we have difficult executing in a lighthearted manner.

The key to this goes back to the posts I am creating outlining foods regarding tastes (salty, sour, sweet, bitter), textures (chunky, creamy, crunchy…) and sensations (heat, cool, and burning). Redefining foods and finding combinations of textures, occasional sensations along with taste is the way to help reconnect with both people, socializing, and food itself.

Lifestyle Changes for Anosmiacs

Sadly, anosmia is not taught at hospitals even with information in pamphlets. This is a very sad thing, since not only can TBI survivors obtain it. Even those who have obtained mild concussions are at risk. Those with infected sinuses, elderly, or people with oncoming Alzheimer’s Disease or zinc deficiencies have this face their lives. The last group that I have read can receive this condition are those who take prescriptions for colds, etc, like Zicam.

One way to simplify life is to use labels on perishable refrigerated foods to avoid them spoiling. There are foundations for how to store perishable food as well as the amenable length maximum time for various kinds of foods. Becoming acquainted with this knowledge and using it helps save money and frustration. Understanding these facets and investing in labels to help remember the expiration dates of each item will save money and cleaning along with cooking something that should not have been cooked and is not accepted by the family (causing greater frustration and anger).

Having no sense of smell has many points of frustrations, and food is a large issue. So becoming more street smart about food storage is imperative. The truth is many of struggle with wanting to eat. This easily causes oversight in the refrigerator regarding how old produce and leftovers are. The flip-side of this issue relating to food is that or there are others of us who can’t stop. I assume those individuals are like shopaholics.. they keep “shopping” by ingesting foods hoping that they will find satisfaction. I am one who battles with wanting to eat at all.I am not anorexic, but it is difficult many times to find any satisfaction with eating. This is due to 95% of taste being gone along with “stealing” others’ enjoyment and satisfaction. The truth is that when we don’t eat in front of our loved ones, this teaches bad habits to our children as well as causes our family to want to feed us even more.

We ladies often multitask. This is fine, well and good when we have our sense of smell. However, when we are correcting children, boiling water, and on the phone with our attorney, this can cause us to cause all the water to evaporate without us realizing it. Due to this, TIMERS are something we need to help us avoid burning down the house. Also, laundry is another issue with a large family. Sometimes, I may have one of my children start a load of laundry, forget about it, and I will pull out the “clean” load and hang it on the clothesline or throw it in the dryer. THE ISSUE IS that it can be mildewed, and I may not know it. Then, lo and behold, either my husband or another child talks to me about what has occurred. This causes the family stress and the anosmiac a hatred of what he or she can no longer do without help. A TIMER or two for the laundry room is a wise choice to avoid loads of clothes needing to be laundered yet again.

If an anosmiac has a gas stove or gas heat, there is a problem: the inability to tell that the gas is running unnoticed. lace carbon monoxide and fire detectors throughout the house – especially high risk areas of the home more common for fires or carbon monoxide issues (like the kitchen) and in the bedroom in case something happens while sleeping. Another solution is to have a dog that is specially trained to “smell” for you and will warn you when it smells a dangerous smell like something burning or the rotten egg smell of gas. Another idea for help in this setting is making a canary your pet. They are friendly and have their normal sounds. When they are awake and silent, there is a good indication that the air is not as clear as it may feel to us. Through the 19th and early 20th centuries, coal miners would bring canaries down to the tunnels with them as an early detection system against life-threatening gases such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and methane. The canary, normally a very songful bird, would stop singing and eventually die if not removed from these gases, signaling the miners to exit the mine quickly.

Another issue is public danger. What happens when you can see signs of danger like fire but cannot smell it? For instance, there is a person sitting alone staring at something in your direction way behind you, but that person is not saying anything. Well, both looking behind you as well as inquiring what and where there is a problem can be helpful, especially if there is a fire occurring without the alarm being pulled.

There are many of us anosmiacs who die within five years of the onslaught of this happening. I believe this is partially due to unawareness of how much this affects our lives along with  others not understanding this either. We tend to have more problems with depression than those who go blind. Those who are blind have education, support, and a world around them knowing their condition, whereas we blend into society without others knowing. We hardly ever complain about cooks or chefs at restaurants. What is to say when something burnt tastes no different than anything else along with nothing having a repulsive smell, like cabbage.

This section may very well be expanded as I try to compensate for my losses in my life, so that all of us can improve our impairments.

Day to Day Life with Anosmia (Loss of Smell)

Losing my sense of smell has been quite a hurdle to jump. For one, I have been a wife and mother for twenty-five years.Being those have been my roles, I have been the head of cooking and cleaning. When you cannot smell, you cannot know when your child starts a load of laundry and it sits then gains mildew. You also cannot taste food but 5% of what everyone else tastes. The only thing we can taste is sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. We have sensations down our throats due to heat (through chilies), cool (through sour cream or ranch dressing), and burning (through sodas). When one defines oneself by cooking and/or cleaning or even supervising either or both those, our deficits are emphasized, and we often feel like failures. Furthermore, the joy of eating or even serving food is gone. Eating is a chore, and so is preparing and cooking foods for those we love, being we cannot agree that what we prepare is worth their time and energy.

Upon researching anosmia, I have read that we often die within five years of the event that causes our loss of smell. I believe this is largely due to lack of education. For instance, I was never told it was possible that I may find I cannot smell. Furthermore, when I asked my doctor about it, he simply stated that is the way my life will be. There was never any talk of the dangers of not being able to smell.

I have accidentally swallowed bleach thinking it was water with lemon. I have burned beans and not smelled the smoke nor had my eyes water, let alone my lungs even being affected. Not having smell is so important! My goal within at least the next few posts is to teach what should occur to live a more precautious life after it is known one cannot smell.

Eating with No Smell (Anosmia) with Textures

This is Part two of the anosmia series. Anosmia is when an individual cannot smell.  The following is an outline of different foods and the textures they offer. This segment will be regularly updated, as this is a new adventure. Ideas for me to try would be greatly appreciated so I can find new combinations of foods that give me more than one of four tastes along with texture and, on occasion, sensation.

Casseroles, salads,chunky ice creams and soups have several different textures as there are several whole foods in them. The issue is that with most manufactured foods, whether premade or mixes (like stuffings or cakes) that there is only one texture versus eating whole foods that still have their natural textures.

Crunchy:
Chips, chocolate shell, ice cream cone, foods deep-fried in batter,nuts, cookies (unless fresh), pomegranate seeds, chocolate chips, chilled ganache

Gooey:
Caramel topping, nut butters. warm ganache

Creamy:
Alfredo Sauce, Ice cream, flan, pudding, smoothie, creme brulee, melted chocolate, ganache, chocolate sauce

Crumbly:
Bread

Moist:
Cake, pancakes, waffles, quick bread (like banana bread)

More than one texture:
Pomegranates (crunch and then gush juice), kumquats (you bite through the thick skin and then they gush juice)

Silky:

Jelly

Juice Gushing:

Pomegranate seeds, kumquats

Sense of Smell Gone & Sense of Taste Next to Nothing. The Adventure Begins

First off, I will be dabbling with this post the most. I may wind up creating a page for each category. However, this is the first PARTIAL rough draft.

How does one learn to deal with not smelling? There is so much linked to smell…more than one imagines: memories, emotions, relationships, childhood, food, etc. When you cannot smell, you don’t get to feel relaxed when your loved one wears cologne or perfume. You will not smile inside when you are cooking your favorite dish. You cannot smell when there is mildew, must, mold, corrupted food etc. Furthermore, you could only taste one of four things: sweet, salty, bitter, and sour. In essence,95% of all tastes are gone. For instance, for me, a banana, vanilla pudding, and cake all tastes the same: sweet. The End. Textures and sensations (heat from chilies, cool from ranch dressing or sour cream, etc.) are higher precedents.

This causes us to be angry and bitter (Ha-ha! Pun intended!) We often lose weight and may want our feeding tubes reinserted. I fight with that myself; however, the parent in me knows that is not healthy. Living life like I’m one of the members of the Fellowship of the Ring and going on an adventure is a far healthier and positive way of living. I have recently understood the dynamics of texture and sensations teemed with how few tastes I can have at a time. And so it goes: the beginning of a new quest. On this page, I am going to post various things when I appreciate a texture in the dish/item or the sensation. Furthermore, I will define how some things taste. You may want to know the reason. Well, even if you do not have this issue, you may learn that someone does in your life. FURTHERMORE, while talking to a friend who caters, she responded and said that the huge issues for me are still in those who can smell and taste fully. The things that to me are the highlights are still the undertones for the general public that cause a greater depth to whoever can experience smelling and eating fully.

When we are picking foods that are premade or manufactured, it is helpful to read the ingredients, as the ones listed first are the ones that dominate the food product. This gives a clue to the potential tastes, textures, and sensations.

Bitter:
Cumin, ground mustard, blue cheese

Sweet:
Bananas, Semisweet chocolate (no bitter.. only one taste), Flan, Pudding, Cake, Ketchup, Barbecue Sauce, Soda, white chocolate (sweeter than dark or milk chocolate, peanut butter (sugar is a main ingredient in most peanut butters)

Sour:
Foods with the primary ingredient of taste being vinegar (i.e. pickles, mstard), raspberries, cranberries, pomegranates, kumquats

Salty:
Chips, French fries,soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce

No Flavor, only texture at best (liquids do not provide this)

Fish, chicken, turkey, ground meat, beef (pretty much any meat without seasoning), bread, horseradish, wasabi, pasta, rice, standard coffee both caffeinated and decaffeinated, Tea, Milk (cannot even taste rotten milk), black pepper (not enough to have texture), Smoked foods and barbecued foods are dominated by smell, so smoky is not a flavor to anosmiacs.

I have a challenge to my readers: feel free to contact me through comments, text messages, Facebook, Twitter, etc. to tell me what to taste so I can conjure new combinations. I will be creating two more posts: one for sensations. The other for textures.

There is more information about people like us at:

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-23051270

In this article, it reveals that we offer suffer depression, moreso than those who have lost sight. I know it may sound immensely insane; however, we can become accustomed to being blind. Leave the furniture the way it is. Count steps. Listen to one’s surroundings, etc.

Skyliners’ “Since I Don’t Have You” Rewritten to “If I Didn’t Have You”

I can have plans and schemes,
And I still have hopes and dreams,
I-I-I wouldn’t have anything
If I didn’t have you.

I have deep fond desires,
And I have many happy hours,
I-I-I wouldn’t have anything
If I didn’t have you.
I have ample happiness, and I’m blessed
Time and time again.

When you danced then kissed me,
Out walked old misery,
And he’s been gone since then.
I have much love to share,
And I have someone who cares.
I-I-I have every single thing
Since–I do–have–
You, you, you, you
You, you, you, you
You, you, you, you

Written: 6/12/2015

Extreme’s “More Than Words” Rewritten

Sayin’ I love you
Is less than I could ever convey to you
It’s not that I don’t want to
Say it but I want you to know
How deeply I wish to convey how much I feel

More than words is all I want to do to make it real
Then whenever I say that I love you
Then you’d already know
What would I do if your heart was torn in two?
More than words to show I feel
That my love for you is real
What could I do if you threw my love away?
Then I’d couldn’t  make things new
Just by saying I love you
More than words
(lad di da da di da)

Now that I’ve sang to you and helped you understand
All we have to do is close our eyes
And just reach out our hands and show love
I’ll hold you close and never let you go
More than words is all we ever need and how we show
Then we’d never have to say that I love you
Cause we’d both always know

What would I do if your heart was torn in two?
More than words to show I feel
That my love for you is real
What could I do if you threw my love away?
Then I couldn’t make things new
Just by saying I love you
More than words
(la di da da di da di da da da)
More than words
(la di da da di da di da da da)
More than words
(la di da da di da di da da da)
la di da da da da
More than words
Ooooohhhhhhh ooooohhhhhhh

Written: 6/12/2015