Losing my senses Six years ago, at the age of 35, this happened to me.
I still like food and eating, it's just that I am unable to taste the foods I eat. Wagyu beef and dog food both taste the same to me, and in a blind tasting I would be unable to differentiate between the two. I cannot say exactly why this happened. What I can say is that I came down with a heavy cold that rendered my senses of taste and smell permanently incapacitated. The condition is called anosmia, a Latin/Greek term meaning ''without smell''. Astronauts in space encounter it, but it also afflicts a small percentage of the population. While some people are born without a sense of smell and taste, others, like myself, have this condition thrust upon them. I experience hunger still, but none of the delights that come from tasting and eating. As for wine, I lost all enthusiasm for this tipple, despite having completed a wine appreciation course before losing taste and smell. In short, my world has dramatically shifted since earthly epicurean delights were withdrawn from me. ''We underestimate the importance of smell to our well being,'' notes Professor Tim Jacob of the school of biosciences at Cardiff University in Britain. ''There are suggestions that it can influence mood, memory, emotions, mate choice and the immune and endocrine systems. Anosmia can affect people socially, psychologically and physiologically. ''It can lead to a loss of libido and weight loss or gain, because people with no sense of taste can forget to eat or eat too much.'' In search of a remedy during those initial years I saw several allergists and an ear, nose and throat specialist, and dabbled with acupuncture, nasal sprays, changing my diet and several other suggested remedies. None of that helped. The only thing that worked at all was oral steroids. A weekly course would see my senses slowly and partially return for a week or two but it was unsafe to be ingesting such a high dose of steroids regularly, let alone permanently. I was referred to Dr William Smith, a senior consultant at the clinical immunology and allergy department at Royal Adelaide Hospital who treats up to 10 patients a week who are suffering from problems that have caused a loss in smell. ''One of the commonest causes of anosmia is chronic sinus disease, although there are a number of other possible causes and at times no cause can be found,'' he says. I undertook an allergy test to detect if there were foods, pollens and moulds that I may be allergic to. Smith advised, however, that ''allergy testing is often done, but usually anosmia is not caused by allergies and allergy treatment is seldom beneficial''. Having exhausted my options, I began to accept my predicament in something of a forlorn manner. The foreboding possibility loomed that this could be my lot for the rest of my days. Directing my gaze to the internet, I discovered others with anosmia, which is said to affect 2 million Americans. Smith estimates that up to 5 per cent of Australians more than 1 million could suffer from smelling disorders. For some people it is congenital, while others are accidental anosmics, losing those senses due to injuries to the brain or nerves. The online consensus seems to be ''persevere, and hope for the best''. A few have regained their senses of taste and smell, but for the majority there louis vuitton yellow epi alma is no such joy. I discovered that people who suffer head injuries are prone to losing their smell. I read how INXS's Michael Hutchence grew depressed after losing his sense of smell due to a motorcycle accident. Biophysicist Luca Turin remarks in The Secret of Scent: ''There are few diseases of smell, and those that exist are usually incurable and get little sympathy.'' Many of the online postings make mention of the frustrations that accompany this disorder. Believing what they suffer from is an anomaly among the scented of the species, people afflicted with anosmia often feel like outcasts among those who wine, dine and chime on about it. TANTALISINGLY for me, in the first five years after I first lost the ability to taste or smell, those senses occasionally returned in brief, sporadic snippets, barely an hour sometimes, although the longest snippet lasted for one blissful and uninterrupted week. During these short interludes, I would often heed my good fortune and dine at establishments I could not normally enjoy. But my feast inevitably turned out to be a flavourless one, with taste snatched from me in one cruel louis vuitton neverfull 3 sizes case, snatched between the entree and main course. Accepting my sensory deprivation in a society that is infatuated with food has sometimes seemed especially cruel. In the years since I lost my senses of smell and taste, it seems as if the epicurean obsession has moved from pastime to prime time. I would not say that I have turned anti food, but more perhaps that I am an outsider in the foodies' club, no longer in sync with what enthrals others so. ''I can't recall having got pleasure from any particular dish or recipe,'' he declares. Murnane maintains he has a rudimentary sense of taste, although he adds: ''I can't comprehend why someone would waste time roasting or grilling, or why anyone would add flavours to food.'' His may well be a case of not knowing what he is missing, but I had 35 years to familiarise myself with food and flavour. One of the finest evocations of the power of smell I have found is in Diane Ackerman's A Natural History of the Senses: ''Smells detonate softly in our memory like poignant landmines, hidden under the weedy mass of many years and experiences. Hit a tripwire of smell, and memories explode all at once. A complex vision leaps out of the undergrowth.'' For five years I sought to understand why my tripwires had gone haywire. Was it an allergy of some sort, a hereditary condition, nasal polyps, the chronic sinusitis I was diagnosed with, my place of work or where I lived? One allergist went so far as to suggest that I consider shifting. And like most people, I am usually prepared to try anything within reason, from a change of bedding to a change of toilet paper brand. Such was my confusion that I ceased drinking red wine and commercial beers (which use preservatives and additives), believing they may have contributed to my condition. At times I wondered whether it was a combination of these symptoms and others I was uncertain of. What I can say with some certainty is that it's indeterminable and something that sufferers endure with little hope of a cure. Then last year, something unexpected happened. A chest infection laid me up for a week; but after a course of antibiotics my health duly improved, and soon after my taste and smell improved too. When I say improved, I mean to say that I could taste the Vegemite on my toast and whether or not there was oak in a glass of chardonnay. Delighted as I was to have taste and smell back, I remained unwilling to believe this was any sort of permanent restoration, but yet another fleeting reprieve. Five flavourless years had pretty much eradicated most hope of louis vuitton knock off purses cheap any return to normalcy.
But day after day, my taste and smell remained. Over the years I had gotten into the habit of gauging my olfactory prowess by opening a bottle of eucalyptus oil. Most louis vuitton agenda review of the time I could smell nothing but on occasion, when revisited by smell, a faint whiff might infiltrate my nasal passages.
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