Even when you can’t smell you do…

I thought I had written more here but in fact had only come up with a title.

I think I have entered the battle phase of my sickness. For about a week now it has been harder and harder to eat. My throat hurts when I swallow, but the worst is the smell.

When you bring food to your mouth the Medulla Oblongata, i.e. the lower half of the brain stem, get’s all jiggy from food-related sensory input. The feel of food in the mouth or thoughts related to food send signals to the medulla to stimulate the release of pepsin and hydrochloric acid, both stomach chemicals which play a critical role in the digestion of your baconeggandbean burrito.

But what happens when your Medula gets all all spazzed out by the cancer meds? In my case every time I bring food near my mouth I smell this smell, this nauseating smell, which turns off my yum-yum food receptors and turns on my stand-back-this-dude-is-going-to-puke alarms.

I have a theory.

Because of drugs and or surgery, my  taste & smell tackle has been effectively closed down. However I theorize that there is a fundamental, basic – if you like – odor and taste on which others are based.

This rudimentary sense, let us call it that pukeydeadhedgehog smell, is the only thing you smell. I was filling up with Costco’s 93 octane the other day and I took a whiff of the gas/petrol and even it smelled of pukeydeadhedgehog. Petroleum products, as you know, have a very strong odor mostly because they are made from gigantichedgehogs. But my own pukeydeadhedgehog smell quickly over-rode the other, prehistoric, smell.

So this is where I hypothesize more… Except I can’t because I feel like shit, my brain hurts, my throat hurts, my skin is dry, I am constipated, I find it hard to swallow, I can’t remember the last real meal I had.

Thank God there is a gradual build-up to this stage. If you just went from well to this you surely would end it all immediately! But there is a build up and it creeps up behind you till you get to this day.

Thankfully this too shall pass. And within a month or so I’ll be eating and drinking and singing ancient songs of my people that tell tales of giant hedgehogs and their inevitable demise.

And I’m svelte – did I say that? Shit yeah.

Posted by Fankler


John Alder

I don’t know where you were going with this but maybe the jolly old grey matter shifts into fundamental revulsion as a protection mechanism as there’s obviously a good reason that we don’t eat food that smells rotten and mister brain doesn’t want you eating just anything…though I don’t know how durian and epoisses fit in here.
It’s clearly a very unpleasant thing for you to have to go through but, if a temporarily defective sense of smell is the thing, at least it’s preferable to dog shit smelling temptingly of tootsie roll.
Try imagining that everything has Parmesan on it.


When I was pregnant, almost thirty years ago (can you believe that), a lot of things didn’t taste right. In fact, I first suspected I was pregnant when I couldn’t face a sip of alcohol because it tasted nasty. The whole pregnancy, I could manage one cup of tea first thing in the morning and then, after that, it tasted so horrible, I didn’t even bother to try. Bodies are weird, they do things without our permission. Keep on keeping on, Les. There’s mince pies at the end of the rainbow, I promise.

Mrs. Hall

Sorry you feel like shit honey. Indeed this too shall pass. But you are looking very fetching. 🙂

Say something pithy.