WiseMan was cooking this evening. I came home from church, opened the door to the dining room and - smelled garlic!

Now this may seem a strange thing to blog about, it happens all the time. But I lost my sense of smell about 3 years ago. I think it was a handball that hit me hard smack at the base of my nose. I was wearing protective glasses, luckily, so there were no glass shards to pick out of my eyeballs. But I soon began to only smell bad smells that lingered on and on. Then it smelled like something was burning - all day, every day. And then: nothing.

I didn't realize it for a while. Thought my clothes didn't smell offish and could be worn another day. Thought food began to taste drab. Wondered why people didn't like my sauces any more. Wondered why the labs didn't smell so bad any more (> 20 computing students * 90 minutes of sweating over exercises = Phew!).

I eventually consulted a doctor. There's nothing they can do. It may come back - in 2 days, 2 weeks, 2 months, 2 years. Or never. Not much research done in this area. So I learned to live with it. I learned to have WiseMan sniff at things taken from the fridge to see if they are still edible. Checked the fire alarms regularly, as I can't smell smoke. Volunteered cheerfully for smelly jobs. And was sad that food just didn't taste good. Put on some pounds because I had to eat more to have some sort of sensation - uff, full.

Recently I have been having individual smells suddenly explode in my nose. Tangerines at Christmas - I could sit smelling the peels for hours; Freshly ground coffee on a Saturday; Perfume - far, far away, but there.

Then, last week, I walked into the building at school: uff, fresh paint and pong mixed in together. I opened up the lab door, and a wall of, um, unwashed student hit me. And suddenly I realized: this is a SMELL! A wonderful smell, even if it is horrible.

I'm not back to smelling everything, it is more like one thing a day. I used a softener on a scarf this morning, WiseMan complained of the smell - indeed, faintly I whiffed lilacs. And now this evening, glorious garlic. It was a great dish: cod on a bed of tomatos/garlic/onion/olive oil and chopped basil, topped with sheep's cheese and olives. And I have been smelling it all evening. I even cup my hand over my mouth and breath out, so I can inhale the still-faint whiff of garlic. It must stink like crazy here, but I am so happy to be smelling again!

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