Saturday 18 September 2021

Virus Diary, three weeks later

 Isolation ended on the 3.september, ten days after I got sick. I was back at work the following Monday, 6.september.

Even if I was no longer dangerous, and no longer had a fever, the world still wasn't right. Both of my ears were blocked, and any up/down and sideways motion was likely to make me dizzy. I had to take frequent breaks, because my work includes a lot of bending down and lifting up. All noises were muted. It felt like there was a distance between my ears and my head. I hadn't felt like this since I was a child and had the flu.

My sense of smell is still heavily influenced. The sense of taste is back, but in a weaker form, and some spices and aromas are simply not there anymore. Most spices in curry aren't noticeable. We ate pasta with cheese and herbs sauce a few days ago, and the sauce tasted like boiled milk. Apple pie tastes sweet and tart, and I can notice the dryness in my mouth from the cinnamon, but not its actual flavour. Coffee tastes bitter, and it is still hard to tell different hot drinks apart.

Most things that used to have a smell has a smell now, but I need to be very close to it in order to actually smell it. The most noticeable exception is coffee. It is simply gone. Some smells can be "smelled" through the mouth. I can taste the smell if I inhale through the mouth at close range. 

The overlay of Wrong 1 and Wrong 2 have mostly faded, but I have noticed something interesting. The smells that come close to those smells have come back, while unrelated smells are still gone. I can for example smell and taste vanilla, some soaps, some fruits, wine, and carnation flowers because they are sweet like Wrong 1. Wood smoke, burnt oil, whisky, eucalyptus, sesame oil and black pepper (weakly) come close to Wrong 2. 

It is still hard to tell different fruits apart. It is impossible to know when something stinks and needs to be thrown out. Sometimes I get the subconscious idea that there is "something" in the air, for example when the supermarket has thrown out large amounts of spoiled food or when my partner is seasoning a cast iron pan. I get the "gut" reaction to it, but not the conscious knowledge of which smell it is.

I have been doing daily smell training, but the progress is slow. At this point, I doubt that my sense of smell will ever return to normal. 

Thursday 2 September 2021

Virus Diary #9

Day 9

Something peculiar has happened to my nose.

It started with a weird background smell. Not the "pus" smell that is common in colds, but a sickening sweet, putrid smell. It reminds me of cheap air fresheners, ear wax remover, baby oil, a cat (or me!) giving birth, or the wrong flowery smell of something dead. I have named this smell Wrong 1.

After I discovered that I could very faintly smell vinegar and vanilla, I started sniffing everything. This was how I discovered Wrong 2. This smell reminds me of burning plastic or rubber, burnt paprika or garlic, and the smell that comes when you heat up a dirty plate. When it isn't intense, it reminds me of an overheated computer or hot dust.

I can somehow taste a bit now. I can recognise the taste of ginger in tea, and I can taste the difference between my own minty toothpaste and LO's fruity one. (The last one tastes of nothing and smells of Wrong 1) I can taste the difference between mustard and ketchup, but not between tea and coffee.

Everything that has a smell, smells like either Wrong 1 or Wrong 2. Not many things have a smell at all at this point, and I can smell Wrong 1 simply from drinking water, but there seems to be some kind of pattern to it.

Things that smell of Wrong 1:

  • Vanilla soap
  • Fruity soap
  • Yoghurt
  • Cranberry tea
  • Cheese
  • Laundry detergent

Things that smell of Wrong 2:

  • Minty soap
  • Adult toothpaste
  • Thyme
  • Alcohol
  • Soy sauce

Things that have absolutely no smell:

  • Urine
  • Faeces
  • Mould
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Bread
  • Sandalwood soap
  • Humans

Wednesday 1 September 2021

Virus diary #8

 Day 8

Wednesday, 1.September. In two days, it will be our last day of confinement. We don't need to test again, but we need to go for 24 hours without any paracetamol or ibuprofen, and make sure that we don't have a fever in those 24 hours. I don't feel like I have a fever today, but my head is still spinning strangely, and it feels like gravity is affecting me differently. My ears feel blocked, but there is nothing blocking them. I can breathe perfectly well through my nose, but my sense of smell is broken.

Something really strange happened today. My SO was cleaning a pan with vinegar. When I entered the kitchen, I could taste the vinegar. Not smell, but taste, and it was very faint. The air was sour. Maybe this means that my sensory cells are starting to slowly regenerate.

I immediately started running around smelling everything. No luck. I think I can maybe smell vanilla, but it could also be that I just remember what vanilla is supposed to smell like. 

Little one is bored and irritable. We don't have a lot of energy to play with him, and that unfortunately means that he ends up watching YouTube between lunch and dinner most days. This means that he doesn't get to burn his energy. SO takes him into the bedroom to play rough for some time; they push each other around, jump on the bed, etc. The loud laughing and screaming makes my head and ears hurt so much that I cry while I wash up. There is just so much housework and so little energy. I try to wear my best face for the sake of my dear two boys.