Acquiring Anosmia Due To Covid: Adrianas Story
Adriana, like millions of other Covid patients, has been experiencing the effects of the novel coronavirus. She has been facing two of it’s most life-changing symptoms: anosmia (the inability to smell) and ageusia (the inability to taste). I say life-changing because the sudden loss of smell and taste is being reported as some of the most impactful changes in terms of quality of life amongst patients and it’s causing much concern.
When I met Adriana 6 years ago, her uplifting personality was such a breath of fresh air. I knew right away I could open up to her about my congenital anosmia and story.
Fast forward to 2021, in an ironic twist of events, it was now I who would be listening to her anosmia experience and accompanying her in her own anosmia journey.
“I forget about certain things even though they were routine before I.e. brushing my teeth right as I get up because I could smell my morning breath. Now, I brush before I am about to eat because I can’t remember. I forget putting on deodorant. And I rarely put on perfume anymore lol.”
After reading her text, I immediately gasp and reply like, “Omg! This is crazy real!”
Her next text includes more observations, “As for the smells well, I don’t know if I smell bad, over showering is a thing. Not being able to smell my boyfriends cologne doesn’t take me back to the time we first met anymore. A candle burning in the house doesn’t remind me of working at Pier 1 anymore. “
Not being able to tell if you smell bad? Yup. Over showering? Yup. Not being able to smell my significant other’s cologne? Yup. We are practically living in the same world!
Her next message summarizes everything, “This is definitely one of the senses that people take for granted. The taste I can deal with, but loss of smell can be the hardest.”
I catch myself nodding incessantly and I’m staring at my phone, wishing I could give her a hug.
Learning we have so much more in common is surreal. Adriana knows I 100% understand what she is going through but knowing that my friend is going through such a life altering experience is not an easy thing to feel.
She immediately cracks a joke about officially becoming a girl who can’t smell now and that she HAS got to get her hands on one of the “Hello I Can’t Smell” mugs from my online shop.
Definitely! I tell her. You are part of the club!
To my surprise she’s already checked out and now I have a new order. Ha! Did I mention she is one of the most supportive friends I’ve ever met already?
Moments Pass And The Conversation Takes On A Serious Tone.
In her next text she describes the day she realized something was wrong:
“So about a 2.5 of weeks ago had gone for a walk. I wasn’t feeling very well but allergens were really high the previous day. My boyfriend went out for his weekly guys beer night outing and I decided instead of feeling bad, I would go for a walk. When I got home, I was really craving a pizza for dinner and so I made one. I was so excited for that saucey and ooey gooey cheesy-ness! I ate the first piece and was like wait, “Did I just eat a slice and not savor it?” I grabbed another slice and took a bite. Nothing. It tasted like salty crunchy cardboard…Disappointed, I added on a whole bunch of jalapeños to make sure I wasn’t losing my mind. When I couldn’t taste the flavor I knew I lost my taste. The next day I lost my smell.
I decided to quarantine (and I am glad I did) because it turns out I got COVID. Trying to explain that I lost my sense of taste was difficult in telling my boyfriend. I mean it wasn’t fully a loss if I could still taste salt, sweet, sour, bitter, spicy, right? I mean I could taste but the loss of flavor is what I am missing. Over the next few days I was frustrated and not going to lie, depressed about it. I am a foodie! The experience of smell and taste go hand in hand for flavors and give you that umami and satiated feeling of yummy-ness, comfort, and foodgasm. I lost it . It was like losing a piece of me that was so important not only to daily life but my personality. I am a cook. I love the flavors of food and making it an enjoyable experience for all.”
“When I lost that I didn’t know what to fix for myself and I stopped cooking. Kind of an overdramatized way of me throwing a silent fit about it. What was the point? I can’t taste anyway. I stopped eating solid foods and went straight to liquids as a form of trying to nourish my body. I would crave a burger but it didn’t taste the same so that was a waste of money. I tell the story of taste first because I still have it but the sense of smell impacted me the most when it came to my depression. Memories were associated with smell, what use to smell didn’t anymore, feeling associated with it impacted how I chose not to cook or eat. I was afraid.”
How She Is Coping. Her Recommendations.
“What I had to do was shift my mentality and look at this as a way to figure out what my senses could do.”
Since changing my mentality, I embrace it more. I have my funnies of burning food while cooking (rarely did that before), Spicy is really spicy now but I love it. I don’t enjoy the sugary foods as much, but the one amazing thing I discovered is I am still down to my core a salty-crunchy-snackie kind of girl. Love crunch but now that smell and taste are gone I love them even more. The crunchier the better. Some textures I can’t handle like mushy foods.
This text message hit home for me. I was nodding incessantly all over again. I’ve always loved spicy foods. Sweet foods not so much. I love crunchy, salty snacks! I think once this Covid thing is over I will have to pay her a visit and share all of the crunchy snacks I’ve fallen in love with for her to also enjoy. LOL!
As Far As Self-Care She Writes:
“Yes, I think because I am a music person already and love [music] festivals, I naturally lean towards that as therapy for me. I will say it has made me learn how to fall back in love with the person I was before I was a workaholic. I’ve been practicing bachata, exercising more, eating clean, stretching etc… I have been given the opportunity to focus on me and my needs and to slow down. Taking baths or doing an Asian Facial-Detecting massage, or just enjoying my nails.
When my boyfriend told me that dinner tasted like the carbonara I used to make that was a win for me, this girl who can’t smell can still cook lol.
When I go back to normal life (not being locked up in a room quarantining) I now know I won’t take those things for granted.
I just get to make new adventures of asking my boyfriend to help me smell or taste.”
[end of chat]
Oooohhh! Well look at how heart-warming it is to know she can count on her newly appointed Designated Nose!
If I tell you I really enjoyed catching up with my friend Adriana, I am not kidding at all!! Learning so much more about her and her anosmia journey was such an awe-inspiring moment. When I re-read our messages I just KNEW I had to share her experience.
I am extremely proud of Adriana. I want to congratulate her for being such a strong example and for sharing her story. For everyone struggling with covid right now, I hope her story brings you joy and hope. Just remember, you are never alone!
P.S. Will you be trying any of her great recommendations? I’d love to know!
Let me know on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter! @girlwhocantsmell
With Love, Girl Who Can’t Smell