on smells….

I hate my nose! Not because of how it looks but because of how it works. One of the many wonderful symptoms of getting older and going through the “change” (what a dumb word – what am going to change into?) is change in sense of smell.  It does not happen to all pre-menopausal and menopausal women but it did happen to me! I wish I could report that I have have less of a sense of smell – but no mine is an increased sense of smell so I smell everything. Everything good and everything bad. AND some things that used to smell good to me now make me sick! Its like having a weird super-power.

I cannot handle perfume- you don’t even have to have much on and I have to mouth breath near you. I can’t be in an elevator with you. I can actually smell the smell under the scent of the perfume- a chemical alcohol smell.  It happens with hand soap too. Cleaners that I used to clean with now make overwhelm me. It was so bad for a while that I would break into choking and coughing fits. I had to consult a naturopathic doctor who has prescribed things that have helped a good bit- at least I can now sit in a restaurant near a person with lots of perfume on and not feel horrible symptoms coming on.

I once had to tell a PA in one of my doctors offices that her perfume was making me feel bad. I had been assigned a appointment with her and I could smell her coming well before she got to me. Once we were locked into an office together I was becoming overwhelmed by her huge amount of perfume. I was fearful that I would have to leave the room if the choking began. So I blurted out something about being sensitive to her perfume. I think I was pretty was nice about it but did she really need that much perfume?

If wet laundry sits in the washer for a tad too long I can tell by the smell after it comes out of the dryer. So I smell all my clean laundry and toss it back on the dirty pile if i detect even the smallest of that musty been in washer too long smell. I have tossed whites back in the laundry because I can still smell the bleach in them.   I can smell things my husband cannot. He may think I am nuts but he has thus far kept it to himself and has remained the patient one of the two of us. He has even scoped out stores for me to see if they are too smelly for me to enter (sorry Pier One). I guess this odor sensitivity can come in handy in the event of a small gas leak or hidden rotting potatoes in the cupboard.

I can walk through groups of people and smell the bathed and unbathed, new nail polish, hairspray, perfume, bad breath, cigarette smoke….is this what it’s like to be a dog? I have read they smell a thousand times better than we do- obviously they are better equipped to handle this than we humans are!

My teens suffer too.  I have no problem telling them if they stink- better me than someone else right?  Since they play sports and have PE at school they stink often.  God love teachers who have to deal with that all day! Thankfully I only have one kid who I need to remind consistently to bathe(thats another story). The other two don’t have to be told they smell to initiate them to take a shower.  I seem to be less sickened by natural body scents than perfume or chemical ones but i am still ultra-sensitve!  I forbid my daughter to use any perfumes or even really strong body lotions because of my sensitivity. I sense her frustration and I am sure she sneaks a bottle of pretty smelling lotion out of the house in her backpack in the morning. It just better be worn off before she gets home! I guess this sensitivity could come in handy if they ever try to get smoking or drinking past me.

A good thing about this sensitivity is that I cannot clean with any strong cleaners. So unless i am using vinegar and water I can’t clean. This means the teen labor has to be assigned cleaning tasks. My husband has always done a good deal of cleaning so he has taken a bunch of jobs I used to do in addition to his but there is enough left for the teens to get to work. They do not like this much but I assure them that they will thank me for this when they are out on their own. I don’t think they buy this at all.

I am told that this keen smell sensitivity can dissipate over time and I hope that is true because this is not a superpower I want to keep!



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