Tag Archives: head injury

Got any good recipes with no onions or garlic? Or: What it’s like to have a wacky sense of smell.

African elephant warning raised trunk.jpg

(True confessions: I had to check on wikipedia that elephants actually use their trunks as noses and that’s not just something we pretend when we talk to small children.) African elephant warning raised trunk” by Muhammad Mahdi Karim Facebook

If you’ve been following along for a while, you might remember that back in April I realised I couldn’t smell anything. Not in the sense of, Yup, I’m living in a clean (enough) apartment without any unpleasant odours, but in the sense of smelling nothing. A sort of silence for the nose. The realization came as something of surprise for me, since a working sense of smell is something you tend to take for granted, but apparently losing your sense of smell is a thing that can happen when you injure your head, which I had done a few weeks prior.

(As an aside, there’s an extremely nerdy drinking game to be had by looking through neuroscience journals and taking a shot whenever you encounter a variation on “olfactory disorders are among the most common sequelae of head injuries” in the introduction to a paper. As an aside to an aside: how cool is sequelae as a word?) Continue reading

Paper flowers

Losing my sense of smell just ruined gorgonzola cheese.

So… The most blog-able thing I’ve done recently was to lose my sense of smell.

Not quite sure when it happened. Maybe last weekend. Do you know what’s really hard? Wracking your brains trying to think when you last remember smelling something. Seriously, try it — see, now you’re also wondering if you haven’t smelt anything for weeks.

But I like to think it was fairly recent, because surely I wouldn’t have gone very long in Italy of all places without noticing I couldn’t smell. Continue reading


Well that was an experience: my week in an Italian hospital

“Maybe if I fall asleep in this dream, I’ll wake up in my own bed,” I thought, as I tried to get comfortable on the stretcher I was lying on, somewhere in a corridor in the emergency department. Around me, nurses distributed drugs, chatting with patients in rapid Italian. “I can’t believe I’m dreaming in Italian!” I thought, as I drifted into a doze.

I woke up. I was still in hospital.

Continue reading