Monday, October 02, 2006


The weirdness quotient just went up a little.

In the words of a friend, "How is that possible?" Well, simply by getting an MRI to confirm that I'm anosmic. Anosmia is the lack of a sense a smell due to several possible factors: childhood virus that damages the olfactory nerve/ bulb, deviated septum, allergies, etc. I've had several other tests done to narrow those options down to paralysis of the nerve/ bulb or tumor. Since I've never recalled smelling and lack other side effects, cancer is almost certainly not the cause. We're basically looking for how extensive the damage is. From what I figure anyway.

This mess started when I went to the ENT for vocal issues over the summer. Since I was already there, several people suggested I mention the fact that I've never been able to smell. So I did for curiosity more than anything else. Nasal sprays were prescribed and a CT scan was scheduled. The drugs did nothing perceptible and the CT scan ruled out the deviated septum or any other nasal deformity. The next step is an MRI. I can't say I actually think this will do anything, but my parents are willing to front the cost (out of some strange guilt) and I'm still curious.

Even with the MRI, chances are that none of this can be repaired due to the irreversible nature of nerve damage. So, its kind of like the doctors shoving me in a tube for a while only to say, "Congratulations! You officially have a paralyzed cranial nerve #1!" Well, thank you for that spectacular enlightenment.

I've been asked several times over the past few weeks why I've never noticed that I lacked olfactory function. The most successful response I can give is comparing it to color blindness. There's a test for it because otherwise, you don't know. I've been aware since about high school chemistry, but never really pursued it. My most convincing test came when I accidentally touched an oven mitt too close to a hot stove while moving a pot. I didn't realize anything was wrong until I saw smoke.

By the way, test your smoke detectors often. Mine didn't go off.

I think my favorite comment thus far has come from my mother: "So, you were telling the truth all along..."