Ok so we here we are now in the middle of Winter in NW Pennsylvania and my wife had made an awesome dinner of spaghetti and meatballs with her homemade sauce. This homemade sauce is the BOMB. She bakes the meatballs in the oven with little squares of mozzarella cheese on the top so when they come out of the oven the cheese is melting down over the meatballs. I think it may be a Tyler Florence recipe. I know the meatloaf recipe of Tyler Florence that she uses I sure do miss because of this taste loss thing. Anyway the spaghetti is by far the best spaghetti in the world that I have tasted. We are sitting down and having our dinner and she looks over at me and asks me “how is it babe?” It took me a second to collect my thoughts and realize what I was about to say to her. I did not believe it myself, so how could I expect her to believe me. My answer was “I have no idea. I cannot taste it.” here I am a months after my injury and I am just now realizing that my taste is gone. It is not just diminished, it is 100% gone. I could not taste anything except for extreme heat such as Tobasco sauce, or something very bitter like ground instant coffee. I think that subconsciously I was remembering the taste like I used to know it so it never crossed my mind that I couldn’t taste it. To this day if someone asks me how something tastes, the taste instantly turns to that of water. As long as I am eating and not being asked about thte taste I remember it as it used to taste to me. I also think that because of all of the other things that were going through my mind that I had never taken the time to realize that I could not taste anything. Once that I had realized that my taste was gone it was rather evident that my smell had gone away as well. 100% GONE!!!! You could sit a skunk fart on my nose and I could not tell you what had happened unless I saw it myself. This was a very hard pill to swallow. I have absolutely have no taste or no smell. This is going to change my life entirely. I am not going to be able to smell fresh cut grass, or taste corn on the cob roasted on a fire. The smell of pumpkins or the autumn leaves in my hometown. Halloween is my favorite holiday and this really hits me hard. Our family always carves between six to 12 pumpkins every year to put out for the children and their parents to enjoy while trick or treating. Our yard is always filled with tombstones and spooky Halloween decorations and lights and we always dress up. How can I enjoy Halloween the way I used to if I cannot take in the aroma of the season to go along with it. What about the holidays. When the food is always cooking at Thanksgiving or the cookies baking at Christmas time. There is no way that this is going to last very long. I know it will come back before my favorite holiday. On my next appointment with Dr. M I told him about this new finding of mine, and he told me that this will sometimes happen with the type of injury that I had sustained. The best way to describe it is that the taste and smell are little hairs hanging downward and when you smack your head that hard, it basically flattens them out. He told me that it could come back and may take 2 to 4 years to do so. I did not know what to think. This put me back into a mild state of depression for awhile. i didn’t want to eat properly, I would not sleep at night because I would lay awake thinking about the taste and smell along with the upcoming court hearings, my family, my job, and my own mental state. After dealing with this for a period of time and being too proud or stupid depending how you look at it I finally had to ask Dr. M and Dr. B if it would be beneficial for me to be temporarily on an anti-depression anti-anxiety medication. I cannot say that I ever felt like I was a danger to myself, but I can also say that when I was sitting at home by myself I thought that maybe my family would be better off if I just was no longer around. maybe I could just get in my Jeep Wrangler and drive until I ran out of gas and that would be where i remain until they found me. My wife is a pretty stubborn and very loving woman so she would have found me. I saved her and me the trouble and just stayed put. I didn’t want to put her through the stress and worry if I had decided to act on that thought. What about the kids. I am sure that they would have thought “How the hell can he leave us after we were there through the roughest of times.” It would have been the coward’s way out, and I didn’t see that as a good option. It was an option, but not the best. Both Dr’s agreed to try the medication a trial period to see if it would lower the anxiety. I insisted on the smallest dose possible and I am still on it today.
I would occasionally catch myself looking to the sky and asking why this had happened to me. Then I would come back to reality and realize that I was very lucky to have survived, and I should feel blessed that I was still able to look up to the sky and form a thought. Everything went in phases like this, and I am sure by the end of this journey you will see that I have said the same thing a couple of times. I am doing that because that is how my mind was working at the time. It still works that way occasionally when I mow my lawn or see someone else mowing theirs and I don’t get that fresh cut smell any more. The smell of garlic cooking in my kitchen, or a steak on the grill just aren’t the same. I ate to survive at first and no other reason. It has now just become a part of everyday life.