Olfactory deprivation !

Saturday 1478 – 31st March 2012

Take a look at the rose below that I took last year. What do you see?

 It’s colourless so you are only getting a representation of this rose; missing out on it’s full beauty ( though I confess I rather like this Black & White version myself! )

This is what it’s like when you have no sense of smell. You only get the olfactory monochrome version of everything.

I passed by Lush in Cambridge today. They make gorgeous soaps, bath products and cosmetics with no animal testing, little or no preservative, vegetarian Organic ingredients and generally little or no packaging. For those not familiar with Lush you can read about the company on their website here  

Usually when you are approaching the Lush shops you can smell that you’re getting near. I used to love that and going in to breathe in all the scents from the huge blocks of Soap with names like Sexy Peel ( Citrus mix) or Sea Vegetable ( Arama Seaweed, lime and lavender) and bubble bars like Blue Skies and Fluffy White Clouds (Patchouli, Frankincense and Cinnamon)  or Rose Jam ( Rose, Geranium and lemon). You get the idea.

I said “used to” because I’ve completely lost my sense of smell. I noticed last summer that I could barely smell the Sweetpeas that I’d grown in my garden. Their scent is one of my favourites. (Or was ! ) At first I thought they just didn’t have much scent but when I asked my friend she said they had a very strong scent…hmmm.  Then gradually nothing. By July/Aug my sense of smell had gone completely. I am now what’s known as Anosmic.  I’ve had sinus problems caused by allergic rhinitis  for years and this loss may be because of that or because of the side effects of medication I was using for it. Currently having investigations to try to find out why.

Why is it important?  Well apart from not being able to enjoy the heavenly smell of a bluebell wood, an old English Rose, a damp forest, new-mown grass and all those other glorious scents of nature to say nothing of freshly baked bread, food cooking or even the smell of a loved one, it’s actually dangerous.  I can’t smell when  something has gone off  like meat or milk, ( apparently food poisoning is more prevalent in those who can’t detect rotten food) or if something is burning or indeed I couldn’t tell if I had offensive body odour either ( luckily I’m not naturally a sweaty person  !! )  and I like to think my friends would tell me !

So are there advantages? After all most things have a silver lining don’t they. One advantage is that I can’t smell the sweaty armpits of the man standing next to me on the tube  or that overpowering smell of bad perfume you get from some women.  As I’m a Social Worker I go into some houses that I just know would smell terrible, (or that I’d experienced before I lost my sense of smell)  where it is a definite advantage not to be able to smell!

Of course it’s not just the sense of smell that suffers food also becomes way blander as smell plays a huge part in taste 😦

Memory is also affected, not in a traditional sense but because smells conjure memories that are associated with them.  The smell of baby powder used to always bring back memories of when my children were babies; the smell of silage when I lived on a farm etc.

In recent weeks I’ve had 2 momentary smells…one in Lush on a different day ( I go regularly to check it out!)  and on another day where I strongly smelt orange essential oil. How wonderful that was and gave me hope that my sense of smell will return.

 So all you people who can still enjoy smell I say get out there and breathe them all in just in case!

So tell me If you were to lose your sense of smell tomorrow what smell do you think you would miss most?  Would it be something pleasant or maybe even unpleasant? I’d love to know 😀

Saturday Girl is tired this week and is signing off now.. see y’all.

Oh and by the way this is the full beauty of that rose.

 ..

You can see lots of photos on my other blog Helen’s Photomania here

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33 comments on “Olfactory deprivation !

  1. Rachael says:

    I would hate to lose my sense of smell. I hope yours returns fully and soon.

  2. […] blog for a while you won’t have the faintest idea why that is so great but as I wrote about here  I haven’t had any sense of smell for many ,many months. I am very pleased to be able to say […]

  3. Somehow I missed this when you first wrote it…that’s awful! I’m so sorry. I hope you get your sense of smell back; I’m sure Lush agrees! As for me, I’d be heartbroken if I couldn’t smell the air after a rainstorm, but I wouldn’t turn up my nose at the smell of a good steak…get it, turn up my nose? Ah, I kill me!

  4. […] Last week I told you about the loss of my sense of smell in my post Olfactory Deprivation   […]

  5. The color one is almost nice enough to change my mind about monochrome, but not quite.

  6. I would miss the smell of my dog. He is my best friend and his smell comforts me. He always has a magically sweet scent and never needs a bath. If I still had a husband or child, I would probably choose their scent. I could recognize each of their scents right now without seeing them. I miss the smell of my youngest son and he is a grown man and lives 2,000 miles away. I’m sure I would miss food smells and outdoor smells, but I think of my loved ones first, right now it is my dog.

    I hope your olfactory senses awaken and you are given those gifts back. It is very possible.

    • Helen Cherry says:

      Stephanie thank you for your comment.. I too remember the smell of my children and as I am writing this I immediately recalled the smell of a shirt of my ex husbands that I used to sleep with when we were first together and he was away 🙂

      Thank you for your good wishes..

  7. 2e0mca says:

    Laying aside for a moment the seriousness of the sense of smell issue…

    The black and white image of the rose allows us to see far more of its detailed construction because the clutter of the colour has been removed. Even in B&W it remains a thing of beauty and wonder.

    Your loss of the sense of smell is very alarming – I hope you are able to resolve the issue very quickly. Our physics master at my secondary school had no sense of smell and had to be repeatedly put out by various classes at the school after brushing his lab coat against bunsen burners. He was a popular teacher – no one would have let him burn!

    • Helen Cherry says:

      Thanks for such a fulsome comment, Martin. Much appreciated… Interesting observations about the rose and I can entirely see your point.

      Lucky for that teacher that he was so popular!!

  8. Seems weird to click the Like button, as if it suggests that I like the fact that you’ve lost your sense of smell.

    I sure hope you regain, but I suppose it would be considerably worse to lose eyesight or hearing, right?

  9. fiztrainer says:

    I’m so sorry this happened to you. Reading this made me appreciate the small things in life that we take so for granted such as our sense of smell. But, not just that … everything. Thank you for raising my awareness to things I need to appreciate more and more. 🙂

  10. Rick Diffley says:

    Just popped in for the first time after reading your post on Dan Jurak’s Alberta Photo Blog. You stated…

    >> I have photoshop 7 ( a present) but find the whole thing rather mind boggling.. though do use the rather simple ViewNX2 from Nikon which is a start! I do love to get the subject in my viewfinder and to play around with it afterwards.. guess I will have to persevere with photoshop !! Have discovered the healing brush!! very handy..

    First, I really like some of your images here.

    Second, regarding PS. Yes, it is and can be “mind boggling.” It took me about 1 solid year to feel I had a good handle, as they say, for PS. Even then, I found myself spending more time then I desired doing imaging editing just on one image. Here’s something that has evolutionized image editing.

    Nik Software filters for PS and PE (Photoshop Elements). You can download and try their software programs/filters at their website. Using them have cut my procesing time downward to between 10 to 20 minutes to get stunning results. The Nik website have video tutorials and YouTube has a variety as well. Plus, the learning curve is very short, much easier/faster than PS! If you interested in purchasing one of the Nik programs, check around ’cause you can usually find 15% off.

    I wanted to take the time to post this because I always want photographers to find/learn simplier was to process their images.

    Please contact me if you have any questions by email or at my blog: htttp://www.rickdiffleyphotography.com

    Keep of up the good work!

    • Helen Cherry says:

      Many thanks for taking the time to post this Rick. I really appreciate it.. I rather wish I had concentrated on photography sooner.. buying a good camera – Nikon D5100 has enthused me!
      I have signed up for your blog though haven’t got an email confirmation yet!
      If you haven’t already do pop over to my photography blog too… would be very interested to have your opinions from time to time.
      http://helensphotomania.wordpress.com/

  11. ~mimo~ says:

    a beautiful photo and post..

  12. mary says:

    i love the smell of petrol and soon it will be as expensive as perfume

  13. scillagrace says:

    Great post! Very appropriate illustrations (and beautiful, alone and by contrast). I, too, had chronic sinusitis and lost my sense of smell for a short while; I had surgery and have had no more infections since then. I remember feeling like the fun had gone out of life, a low grade, constant depression. I remember dragging on a bottle of lilac oil, trying to get a whiff of my favorite flower, desperation growing into panic. I’m so glad I recovered. If I hadn’t, I’m sure I would’ve figured out a way to live with it eventually. I dated a man (briefly) who had lost his taste and smell. He would ask me to smell his refrigerator and find out what was off. Not very romantic, actually!!

    • Helen Cherry says:

      Haha to your last line.. I generally try not to think about it Scilla.. there are worse things as indeed you know.. but summer is coming with all it’s luscious smells so I have no doubt I will notice it more then.
      When I have people in the house I do wonder if the place smells and usually light lots of scented candles just in case!

  14. Tilly Bud says:

    I would miss the smell of new cut grass. It is my favourite smell.

  15. Well that’s not a post to be sniffed at! Seriously though I have every sympathy. I too suffered from rhinitis for several years and the loss of taste was as heartbreaking as loss of smell. Periodically the senses would return and I would be sniffing as hard as I could to fill my lungs full of sweet scented air. I suppose I missed cooking smells. They herald the good food to come and the joy of sharing a tasty meal with family or good friends. But I can report that my sense of smell has returned permanently. I hope yours does too Helen. ( And I love the B/W rose.)

  16. Karen Brogan says:

    I definitely wouldnt miss coffee breath or bad breath generally, or the smell of the kittens litter tray!! Would miss newly mown grass, bacon cooking, the smell of books and pleasant bathroom smells (including Lush!)

    • Helen Cherry says:

      Ahh the smell of books.. yes that’s another one I miss.. When I read this I sooo had a memory of my cat’s litter tray Karen, when I was renting a house for a short period YUK !

  17. Britta-Karin Engberg says:

    I´m sorry for you. do you know what happened?

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