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Monday, October 1, 2012

Do you smell that???

"Do you smell smoke?" "Do you smell gas?" "Do you smell (fill in the blank)?" I was like the Verizon cell phone commercial where the man keeps saying, "Can you hear me now?" I was driving my Wonderful Husband crazy.

I smelled things that weren't there and every non-existent smell was icky. I never smelled anything pleasant, like fresh baked cake or cookies. No roast turkey or pizza. Sometimes the smell would last for an hour; sometimes it disappeared in a minute or two. 


Yummy Cake

I was driving into town to do some shopping and all of a sudden I smelled the distinctive odor of burning wires. Was my car on fire or is it another fake smell? I didn't know, so I pulled into the nearest parking lot. I popped the hood and found nothing. I closed the hood, climbed back in the car and the smell was gone.

I was doing laundry and when I opened the dryer door, I smelled the "skunk" additive that they add to natural gas lines. "We have a gas leak," I yelled to my Wonderful Husband. He came running and said, "I don't smell anything." I took another sniff and the odor was gone.

While watching TV one night, I smelled bleach. We don't even have bleach in the house. I woke up one morning and my eyes were burning. I smelled raw onions. It smelled like someone was holding a whole bowl of cut onions right under my nose. While sitting at my computer desk, I smelled the awful burnt orange odor that was prevalent near the orange juice factories in Florida, but Florida was 2000 miles away. Most of the time, I knew the smells were fake, but with some, like gas leaks or smoke, I had to go and ask, "Do you smell that?" 


Raw onions

My sniffer had gone haywire. The technical term is Olfactory Hallucinations and I guessed that it was a side effect of a Parkinson's medication, but which one? I looked over my Charting Notes and saw a recent increase in one prescription. I asked my Neurologist if we could reduce that particular medication. We did and, for the most part, the "smells" disappeared. Oh, they pop up occasionally, usually in the morning, about an hour or so after I take the first dose of the offending prescription medicine. 




My latest icky smell: Wet dog!


Many people with Parkinson's have a diminished sense of smell. I am fortunate that my sniffer still works. It works too well sometimes. I can't go in to stores where scented candles or soaps are sold, the strong aromas overwhelm my senses and give me a headache. I try to purchase as much unscented home items as possible. Some people have olfactory hallucinations that aren't caused by medication, but by the Parkinson's itself. Every Parkie is different.



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23 comments:

  1. My husband has lost almost all sense of smell. What a shame not to smell the wonderful cooking smells, nature, etc. However, some smells are worth not smelling!!

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  2. I smell Chili sometimes when there definitely none around. Fortunately, I can't smell rude smells that others complain about

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  3. That's so funny...I can smell Tropicana burning...but not the bread factory...crazy disease

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  4. I was nominated to retrieve the dead squirrel from under our porch. Apparently it was pretty bad, or so they say. I call it a blessing and a curse.

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    1. Now that is funny!

      My sweet 14 year old Bordie Collie likes to go swimming daily, and my wife commented she smells really moldy. To me she was fine.

      Sigh hadn't had Pumpkin Bread in ages. I just love it, and that wonderful aroma. Walked into the kitchen to discover my wife had already baked it, and I didn't realize it until I saw it sitting there.

      Fun in the Parkie World.

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  5. I thought it was me! I can't count how many times the "gas man" has been here...please check the dryer..are you sure its not the stove... Taryn

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  6. I had that problem until I started taking carbidopa/levodopa. It was a smell I'd never smelt before and hard to describe. Weird. Cidney

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  7. Bev, my Dad did that, too! And misidentified smells plagued him. I took a MJFF sponsored "smell study" for non-PDer's but related to PD... Sherryl

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  8. I smell band aids, green bananas and Worcestershire sauce! They are so bad they actually wake me up sometimes. Donna

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  9. My bad smell lasted 2 weeks once, and in the middle of it all I just broke down in tears. It was terrible, and no one could possibly imagine what it was like to smell it all of the time. I couldn't breathe without smelling it. Forget waterboarding- bad smells would do the trick! Beth

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  10. Thanks for posting this article. I'm always doing this and I'm driving my husband crazy Elizabeth

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  11. This topic caught my attention because I have periodically smelled things that weren't there for several years. I knew that the loss of smell was a symptom of PD but was curious about the phantom .smells that I experienced. I have my first appointment with my neurologist, later this month, to confirm my diagnosis but my family doctor and I are quite sure my multitude of symptoms are PD. I just wasn't sure if the smell issue was connected or not..

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  12. In hindsight, a change in my sense of smell was my first sign of PD. I thought the strange odor I smelled was sinus congestion following a cold. 2 years later in 2010 I was dx with PD. I still have my sense of smell, but it's gone haywire. Over time I developed a "playlist" of phantom smells - random rotation and duration - that runs throughout the day. I can usually tell if a smell is real, but not always. I haven't been able to identify most of my phantom smells, but fortunately they are either pleasant or neutral so far. My sense of taste hasn't been affected.

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  13. I usually smell a campfire and of course there isn't a fire.
    Stanley

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  14. I'm always smelling wood smoke or burned wiring. I used to look everywhere until I realized it's all in my head. Lack of smell really works well when passing cattle stock yards. I also have lost most of my sense of taste which I really miss.
    Stanley

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  15. I'm always asking the kids "what's burning" it's like the same sort of thing. I'm starting to believe them when they say I'm crazy lol.
    Erin

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  16. My sense of smell is pretty much gone which helps when cleaning cat boxes. But the other day I was smelling something sweet, a cross between flowers and sweet rolls. And then it was gone
    Sandy

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  17. Odors seem stronger to me now and I can't stand the smell of bacon cooking.
    Lori

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    1. Same here, I used to love the smell of bacon, now I can't stand it.
      Theresa G

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    2. Thanks. Something else to looking forward to :)

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  18. I am regularly smelling things that are not there, sometimes the same smell over a number of days, sometimes one-off.
    Michael via Twitter

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  19. I have lost most of my ability to smell but I do have these hallucinations. Mostly they are pleasant, flowers or cinnamon sugar. I do worry about not smelling gas or burning things.
    Sandy

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  20. I love your stories Bev, much of what you tell about, not all but a great deal of it I can relate to. I have now started to learn that I'm not a hypochondriac and what happens now and then to me you have or do experience. My taste at times is often a problem, I no that a certain food on my plate is what I like but at times it has a taste to it that makes me feel so sick in the stomach that I don't want to eat it, but I do because I know I like it. Last summer (I live in the bush) when I came in side from out side my wife asked me where the fire was? What Fire I said because in the bush if we smell smoke we automatically go into where is it mode and is there a danger. Well I couldn't smell the smoke yet it was very strong the wife said. I had been out side to let my dogs out into their day run, shufflin' along my eyes are lookin' at the ground most of the time and had I lifted me head up I would have seen the thick smoke in through the trees, but I hadn't. Yes my smell at times along with my taste is all over the place. Again thank you for your little stories you are answerin' more questions for me than My Doctor or my Neurologist. Take Care - Stay Safe and Travel Safe.

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