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.
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?"
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.
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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