My tube of shower gel was running low so I delved into my cupboard to select another – I have quite a stash thanks to all the Christmas presents from years gone by that I receive more frequently than I consume.
My brother was visiting while I unpacked a tube from its fancy packaging; these things are so overly packaged by manufactures for Christmas, to add on some extra value, it’s ridiculous. Some consist of two or three containers/tubes/spray cans of stuff, packaged in a plastic tray within a cardboard box, some boxes are more substantial and have a plastic film window, some are packaged as ‘travel’ packs complete with fabric carry case, some are even in sturdy metal tins… why!?
I removed the cap from my chosen tube, and pealed off the additional foil cap, and had a sniff…
I shrugged – this was to be expected. My brother commented that whoever had chosen this particular set for me had good taste – it was quality stuff, except I couldn’t smell anything.
I handed it to him and he confirmed it did smell – he suggested I give the tube a gentle squeeze to push the smell up into my nose.
I tried again and concentrated hard while I took long slow inhalation through my nostril, but still nothing.
A further wise suggestion from my brother was that the shower gel would be activated by the warm water of the shower, and then I’d smell it (just like how I smell my current shower gel).*
*I used some of the new shower gel as bubble bath… I still couldn’t smell it, but it made good bubbles!
It’s not as if I can’t smell anything. Some things I can smell, or I’m convinced I am, but floral fragrances generally not; given a bouquet of flowers to smell, or if I stick my nose in a daffodil, I’ll get nothing. If I stick my nose over an open bag of coffee beans, yummy, I can smell that, I have an open bag of dry roasted peanuts on my desk and if I suspend my nose over the opening, I can smell the contents.
Did I always have a poor sense of smell or did something happen to cause it, or was it gradual decline? I don’t know but I have two ideas:
- A knock to my nose as a young teenager.
- Hay-fever and the use of nasal-sprays.
Then today on BBC Radio 4, Woman’s Hour was dedicated to the topic of ansomia – the lost of the sense of smell. Here are some interesting points that were raised:
Anomsima affects our ability to:
- enjoy cooking / eating – I feel like I just cook/eat to fuel my body. I feel like I do taste but perhaps it’s more about textures.
- enjoy flowers and countryside.
- enjoy the skin and hair of a partner, indeed we can be attracted (subconsciously also) to people because of how they smell.
- notice dangerous smells such as gas or smoke – I can smell when my fridge needs cleaning.
- notice our own smell for the benefits of personal hygiene – sticking my nose under my warm sweater works for me, but for complete anosmia it may not help.
- we forget familiar smells, like our own homes, unless we go away for a while.
- smell is partly unconscious.
- 1 in 20 people in the UK have a problem with their sense of smell.
- the fault can be in the nose or brain.