Living Without a Sense of Smell and Shells Up-Close

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Occasionally, I have something to say, hoping someone else might be interested in it, but I have no images that fit with my proclamation. Sometimes it’s the other way around. I have some images that might amuse you, but, for the life of me, I can’t think of anything remotely interesting to say about them. Just describing them is boring. Besides, if the images don’t more or less speak for themselves, then they are probably not very interesting.

Today is one of those occasions. I’ve completely lost my sense of smell and I’d like to comment about that and I shot some close-up images of a few of our shells and found the images interesting. The two have nothing to do with one another. We’ll call it an exercise in multi-tasking.

Here’s your first task:That’s a close-up of an Eye-Spot Cowrie.

As any fool knows, we have five senses: hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting and touching. Which is the least important? Well, for big-brained mammals who have developed a sophisticated technology, most would probably agree that the sense of smell is the one we could most easily do without. I certainly agree. The loss of any of the other four are greater levels of catastrophe, though some people have no taste and seem to get by without it. (smirk)That was another Eye-Spot Cowrie. I see Smiley Faces there.

Due to this intractable sinus infection, a double whammy of a Streptococcus  and some weird Bacillus.  Dr. Mackerel (A. K. A. Tinpis ) has put me on twice a day 400mg of Norfloxacin. I looked it up and the scary bit is this: The licensed uses for norfloxacin are quite limited as norfloxacin is to be considered a drug of last resort when all other antibiotics have failed.  In other words, if this doesn’t knock it down, I’ve got a real problem.

The loss of the ability to smell is called anosmia. Like no-nose-ia, ha-ha, very funny. Most people suffer it for a few days during a bad cold. When it goes on for weeks, it’s not much fun.That was an abalone shell.

I’m losing weight, because I have little interest in eating. Food is just salty or sweet or sour, or some jumbled-up combination. Bananas taste incredibly sweet, but have no banana essence. I can sense a little burning sensation in my nose from the alcohol in a beer, but all of the nuances of a nice brew are absent. As for my daily, non-inhaled cigar, forget it. Without the sense of smell a cigar is just a bad trip.If you look closely at the image above, you can make out the reflection of the front of my camera and fragments of the word “Canon”.

According to most of what I have read, my sense of smell will gradually come back, to some degree, when the infection is killed off and things start to heal. I’m looking forward to being able to smell a rotten egg, if you get my drift.The one above reminds me of a certain kind of oriental style painting featuring mountains. I don’t know what it’s called.

My biggest complaint might sound silly to some. I miss smelling women. Maybe I should explain that. My wife, Eunice, is one very smart cookie. She learned a long time ago that people in general react more positively to someone, especially women, who smell nice. She goes for subtle – just a touch of fragrance.In her boudoir,  she has about a dozen top-drawer perfumes. We’ve worked over the years to pare the list down to a manageable number. I have my favourites and she has hers. I got into her stash the other day and lifted the caps of several of them. Nothing! What a shock. I felt very sad.I asked myself what it would be like if I could never get that back.

I know, it seems like whining over spilt milk. Some people can’t see or hear, for pity’s sake! That makes my problem seem silly.Nevertheless, it is annoying. If I can’t whine here, where can I whine?

I’m going to take my drugs like a good little boy and limit myself to one tasteless beer a day. I’ve been off cigars for almost a month now, because smoking one is just a waste of a decent cigar.And, I’m going to hope that this high-calibre antibiotic of last choice knocks the infection down.

Here is a little change of pace to finish up:That is the “shell”, actually more like a skeleton, of a sea urchin. It is much more fragile than an egg shell.

While I’m taking my drugs and being careful I’m going to be longing for the day when I can smell my wife again and go off to that dreamy place for a few seconds.

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11 Responses to “Living Without a Sense of Smell and Shells Up-Close”

  1. Steve Goodheart Says:

    MadDog, thanks for the cool shell patterns.

    Smell is intimately tied to taste, as your experience shows, and is one of the most powerful triggers of deep memories. Hope you smell better soon….no, wait, that’s not right! You know what I mean! 🙂

  2. MadDog Says:

    Interesting that you should mention the olfactory-memory connection, Steve. That has always been a very powerful connection for me. I must have industrial-grade wiring in that circuit. It’s especially strong when it comes to perfumes. I’m sometimes stunned by the flashbacks I get when a woman walks past.

    There is a plant that grows here in the highlands that smells exactly like my grandmother’s washing machine.

  3. Lorraine Collins Says:

    Jan, I think the shell you’re not sure of mid-way through this article is Conus gloriamaris. If it is, it is known as the “glory of the sea”. It is resonable rare and one in good condition back in 1975 was fetching $250!! If you like, I can scan my shell book page with it on and you can see what you think.

  4. MadDog Says:

    Hi Lorraine. Nice to hear from you.

    Though I’d like to think that I have a C. gloriamaris, I think that I’d be kidding myself. The close-up images of C. gloriamaris and C. textile would be virtually identical. The pattern looks to me, comparing images of C. gloriamaris on the web to what I have, as if it would be impossible to tell them apart apart, if you are examining only a small section of the shell. However the specimen that I have does not fall in the size range of 80-120mm of C. gloriamaris (though it could be a younger individual). The kicker is, however, the spire. The spire of C. gloriamaris is very pointy and the “shoulders” of the spirals are quite roundish. The spire of my specimen is pretty blunt – about half way between pointy and flat. Also, where the roundness is found in the edges of the spirals of C. gloriamaris, my specimen is more of a sharp corner. I think that what I have is probably C. textile. I should take a photo of the whole shell and let you have a look at it. It is quite lovely no matter what it is and it is the only specimen of that species that I have. So, I wouldn’t sell it unless someone offered me a price that would break my heart more to turn down the money than to part with the shell. I’d say about $500 would do it. I’d laugh all the way to the bank.

  5. Bird House Bench | Arthur's BirdFeeders & BirdHouses Says:

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  6. Smoke - Phantosmia | Madang - Ples Bilong Mi Says:

    […] months ago today I wrote about losing my sense of smell, a condition called anosmia. I’d love to report that it has come back, because I miss […]

  7. sherry Says:

    It is quite interesting relationships with smell and shell
    in how you put it together with I can’t smell situation with shells
    help feel touch and see; or all their, without smell at all, and hear.
    It is also their, everything to do with the shell. A real nice illustration.

  8. MadDog Says:

    Interesting bit of poetry there, Sherry. I like it.

    Thank you for reading and thank you for the lovely poem.

  9. Making Pancakes | Madang - Ples Bilong Mi Says:

    […] thing about making pancakes is that you can’t use just any old recipe. Since I can’t smell anything any more, I have to depend on recipes. I have to have something which tells me exactly what to add, […]

  10. DogsDontPurr Says:

    I have lost my sense of smell too. I had tumors in my sinuses and had to have surgery…about 20 years ago. My sense of smell does sometimes come back for bits of time. Oddly, I’ve found that beer, usually Corona, brings it back…as does acetaminophen/Tylenol.

    Yes, I know that sounds like a hangover cure, but those actually work for me….but only for short periods of time. I’ll get maybe a few days of smell, then it leaves for a long time. They are both anti~inflammatories, but you build up resistance over time.

    Antibiotics are never very successful for sinus infections (forgive me…let me give my “doctor speech” for a minute.) Almost all sinus infections are antibiotic resistant now. That’s probably why they gave you a super strong antibiotic.

    I’ll stop my doctor speak now (I’m not a doctor, but have had nasal issues for so long, I should have a degree!) But if you are still having sinus issues and want more possibly unwanted advice, you’ve got my email addy.

  11. MadDog Says:

    DogsDon’tPurr, I never thought that I’d meet someone else who can’t smell anything. I didn’t even realise that it could happen until it happened to me. We should compare notes. I have a few beers a week and take acetaminophen occasionally, but haven’t noticed and relief from the anosmia.

    One thing which I have had since the beginning is phantom odours in the background all of the time. At first there was a strong smell of smoke which lasted for months. Now the background odour changes from week to week. Usually it is something that does not exist in nature. I can’t even describe some of the smells. Most of them are very unpleasant.

    I haven’t found anything which brings my true sense of smell back. I can smell only a few things, strong vanilla is one. That’s why I like things flavoured with vanilla.

    I can always use advice.