Emotional Repercussions of Anosmia and Other Restrictions

Before my accident and return home from the hospital, I was more complacent and agreeable. Upon my return home, I was told not to lift anything over eight pounds and not bend my back at all so the vertebrae would continue recovering from their fractures as well as proper alignment to the compressed vertebrae. Understand, I have given birth to two children at home. The first of the two, I PURPOSEFULLY AND WILLFULLY was the one to catch her head. So, the words “can’t” and “need help” are rather foreign concepts. Having restrictions from the hospital which my husband enforced with tender loving care was quite an adjustment to which I did not take kindly.

Six days after my return home, I realized I could not smell. Dan invited me to go to a movie. He took a shower followed by picking up a glass bottle from the glass edigiere in the bathroom, spraying cologne on himself, and clinking the bottle back into place. I HEARD THE CLINK, AND I KNEW WHAT IT WAS. I was happy and giddy inside to think of my husband putting on cologne for me. While watching the movie, I nestled into his shoulder pocket and turned my head to my right to whiff the cologne. There was nothing. I tried to smell the scent more than once and I couldn’t. Upon our return home, I hunted the house for things I could possibly smell: dish detergent, laundry detergent, shampoo, soap, etc. Nothing. It was gone… and still is gone.

Cooking for the family changed. I had no gratification through smell that things were cooked well and delicious. A month or two later, I cooked my favorite sauce that Olive Garden uses: it’s with their dish Portabello di Ravioli. The secret ingredient is smoky gouda cheese, and it was always so scrumptious to eat it. I had made it once previously years ago by finding a web page hacking the recipe. Only now, I eat gluten free, so rice was the starch instead of some form or other of pasta. It was that night I learned what else lack of smell causes: lack of most tastes. I was so excited to have prepared this for my family and a late celebration to myself that I was home, and surely home cooked food is better than hospital food. NOT! Not anymore.

I developed a voice per se that I never have had in my life. I was taught that if you have a different opinion and share it, that’s disrespectful and dishonorable. Well, it is between the TBI bringing my emotions more to the surface, as I used to “stuff” all my emotions along with slowly losing one complete sense: smell in addition to most of another sense: taste. My husband compares this experience this way. It’s as if I had one hundred pennies. Then, after returning home, I understand within a week that I lost twenty-five. THEN, I LEARN I lost TWENTY-FIVE MORE. So there is this urge to KEEP FROM LOSING any more from my life! I haven’t even mentioned how my parents reemerged in my life while I was in the hospital and then decided to isolate me once again within two months of returning home… more pennies that I seemed to have gained only feeling that I had lost that amount of pennies and more, as THIS I am sure was the last time my parents will ever be in my life again.

The outcome is to appreciate the pennies I have and to understand NOT ALL PENNIES ARE WORTH THE SAME! For instance, Indian head pennies, are worth more than the ones with Abraham Lincoln on the head of it.

Dan understanding this has helped him be ableto relate to me and remind me of pennies having different worths and reminding himself that there is a battle inside to not lose more, while reminding me of how the things that matter the most, I still have: my husband and family.. and they are worth far more than other husbands and other families.