I smell smoke. All the time.
At first, I thought maybe one of the folks who live in the house next door were sneaking outside for an illicit butt, and the smell had wafted over to my house, invading my nostrils.
But no, it’s not from outside. It’s inside my olfactory canal somewhere, imbedded like a plug-in air freshener gone rogue. And it’s not a nice, campfirey smell – the closest approximation is cigarette smoke.
I think it may have something to do with the super flu I had last year. I posted about it. At that time I had lost my senses of taste and smell for months, and they are not entirely back (has not stopped me from eating though, sadly). My first course of action like any self-absorbed person, was to Google the symptoms to see if others have this affliction.
There is actually a condition called phantosmia wherein some folks smell cigarette smoke for no explainable medical reason. Who knew? It could also be caused by a brain tumor, but that is a stretch for most.
I went to an ear nose and throat doctor who looked so infantile, Doogie Howser would have to buy for him at the liquor store.
An hour and a half wait just to be told I have no polyps lurking up my nostrils and so an MRI was the next step. Have you ever had an MRI? It’s some serious shit. If you don’t think you have a brain tumor before you go, by the time they insert the IV and encase your head in that plastic burrito basket to keep you from thrashing around as you’re rolled under the donut-shaped device, you’re half convinced they may be on to something.
I’d already had a bad day before I showed up for my appointment. In my haste to leave work, and get gas before arriving, I had turned too sharply and clipped a large concrete planter at the gas station and did some major dingage to the side of my SUV. So as the kind technician settled me onto the MRI bed and urged me not to move, I could feel hot tears streaming into my ears.
She thought it was because earlier she couldn’t find a viable vein to insert the catheter needed to shoot the blue dye through my skull. “Lynn” had had to call over “Chris” who I guess was the vein expert, to do so.
The reality was the stupidity of the car accident compounded by the fact that again my husband was not there to comfort me. I try so hard to be outwardly strong, but lost it a little. His death had once again, left me alone to deal with a stressful situation. I didn’t even get to go home and tell him about my travails, and that made it extra hard to buck it up. This expensive medical procedure just seemed too surreal – how did I get to this point?
“Just a bad day,” I reassured Lynn, who was wiping the wet, salty side of my neck with a tissue. I regained my composure. I didn’t need hearing loss due to salty tears plugging my ears added to my list of lost senses.
“It’s naaaht a toomah!!! (Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kindergarten Cop, 1990)
In any case, I’ll find out the results when they have a mind to let me know. They gave me a copy of the films on a CD, like “The Greatest Aneurysms from the 80’s” or something. An undeciferable memento of my visit to MRI Land.