A week and a half ago, I came home from the hospital after having my tonsils removed. The moment I walked into my room, I turned to my parents and held one finger up – as in please give me a minute (I could not talk due to my operation). As my parents looked at each other inquisitively, I ran to find an empty suitcase. Then I went to where I had my fragrance collection, olfactive kits, trials, etc and I threw everything in the suitcase and zipped it up and threw it in the closet. I threw all my “dry downs” that I were following in the trash and emptied my trash bin (which had the results of a smelling party) into a plastic bag and threw it outside.
I sniffed around. I was not pleased. I found my company bag that contained some raw materials that I wanted to review for fun during my time away from work – I took that and put it into my suitcase and threw that back into the closet. Better. My mom whispered silently, “Alex?” I wrote on my iphone and showed the screen to my parents: too many smells in my room.
After having my surgery, the first I did upon waking was to smell myself. The ear, nose, and throat are connected and they were going to play around inside. As a perfumer trainee, I had the greatest fear that I would lose my sense of smell. Instead of finding anosmia, I felt an hypersensitivity to smell kick in.
Generally, my room is pretty neutral in smell. However, as I entered my bedroom, I was overwhelmed with this barrage of smell that it made me sick in the stomach. The process of having to reject everything that smells is just as frightening for a perfumery trainee than it is to lose his sense of smell. There was a time that I sent my father to the shower but after a walk outside with my mom, (he smells good usually and normally, I would not respond this way) I had to get him clean. Until now, I could not shower with any scented bath products.
I took little walks around my neighborhood which is full of trendy restaurants and food carts, and I just could not stand to be outside as the smells of oil and fats were accentuated (normally, it is an olfactive pleasure to smell of all this). I had to avoid perfumed people (gasp!).
Fast forward to today. My nose is calming down, but I still feel this extra sensitivity which could be more of a plus than something negative if it stuck permanently (can a doctor please try to explain this phenomenon to me please?). Tonight, I went to the NY highline with my parents, my first big excursion outside my apartment after my surgery. I was able to slowly appreciate of all the perfumed women (lots of Dolce Gabbana Light Blue) and men around me.
Just as I was closing this post, my roommate comes back and says that it has been an eternity since we last hung out and that it was weird that I haven’t done my “hey Steve, smell this, smell that” in a long time.
I guess it is also good to take a break from smells sometimes. This week I hate perfume (not to say I was not inspired). Next week I will love it more, stronger to take on new olfactive adventures.
Next post: anosmia, anosmia to certain raw materials