Sorry to hear about your struggles - hope you fully recover and get to enjoy your hobby to the full extent.
This might be a bit long, but believe me, it does come around to fragrance.
After seven years of sobriety, I inexplicably decided to return to "social drinking" in January of 2008 after seven years of sobriety. I drank pretty responsibly at night after work, limiting myself to one drink a night, but when I went out, I often over-indulged.
In April of 2008 I resigned from work to accept another (similar) "dream job;" one that would pay me more than I've ever made. I vacationed in Puerta Vallarta and returned home just in time to start the new job. On the night before I was supposed to start, I went to a restaurant with friends from the old job to celebrate. I have no memory of this event, but, intoxicated, I tripped and fell down a flight of concrete steps and landed on my head.
I woke up in a trauma hospital a few weeks later. I learned that I had sustained considerable brain damage, with all kinds of blood and fluid being where they shouldn't have been. Shunts were placed into my cranium and I was pretty shocked to see a large inicison on my stomach resulting from the feeding tube inserted in my stomach "turning," spewing bile into my belly and necessitating opening it up. I stayed on my back in a hospital bed for almost 3 months. I apparently "died" twice but was revived. My mother, God bless her, flew 3,000 miles and lived in a chair beside my bed for the entire time.
Upon retuning home in July I found myself unemployed, as I had quit the first position and the other company I was to work for replaced me, natually being unable to wait. I am on a number of medications; I have balance problems, I have some memory difficulties and a recent MRI of my brain show some scar tissue in the frontal lobe. Even thought I don't feel any "dumber," a neuropsych doctor pronounced me unable to work due to cognitive difficulties, even doing sedentary work. Despite his findings, I'm still searching for work, though my ability to do so remains uncertain.
I am grateful, though, that it wasn't worse. Many people, according to research I've done who have suffered what's called a traumatic brain injury, come out far worse. My prognosis for the future is unknown, as doctors simply cannot pinpoint how the brain's going to right itself.
I'm a lifelong fragrance fanatic, having started wearing cologne when I was around 10. To my horror, one of my residual problems resulting from the fall is a diminished sense of smell, as well as taste. I'd say that my ability to fully appreciate a scent is probably 60-65% of normal. While I can pick up (usually) on the "base," or the essential "note" of a scent, my ability to pinpoint or recognize various notes as a whole have almost disappeared. As a result, I'm buying decants instead of whole bottles as that would seem wasteful as I can't fully appreciate them fully anyway. I also have difficulty in actually smelling the scent I'm wearing, having to re-spray several times a day for all but the most powerful fragrances.
On top of being the worst and most traumatic event of my life, almost even crueler has been the loss of sense of smell. I can only hope it returns.
Sorry to post such a downer thread, but it has helped me by getting it off my chest. I've not even shared the story in AA meetings.
I've had some good things come out of this accident, including a greater appreciation for life and a return to sobriety. I was never a "dick" in general, but I find myself having a lot more kindess and compassion for other people. My lack of the sense of smell, though, is indeed a cruel irony and one I hope you folks never have to experience. But I've got hope that it'll return. I mean, really, who wants a Basenoter who can't smell? LOL!
Last edited by Butthead53; 1st February 2009 at 04:41 AM.
Sorry to hear about your struggles - hope you fully recover and get to enjoy your hobby to the full extent.
Thanks for taking the time to share this. I hope all ends well and in your favor. Being a physical drawback, as opposed to being a psychological one, it will take time.
What I would like to recommend is to go for houses like Profumum or Nasomatto, where the volume is turned up a few notches so you can enjoy the scent.
Last edited by Butthead53; 1st February 2009 at 07:51 AM.
Man, I'm really sorry to read this. That whole ordeal sounds terrible--it's too bad you've had to go through this.
I had a period almost 10 years ago where I was going through some stress in my life and as a result, something happened to me and I went through a period of a few months in which my sense of smell/taste was mysteriously impaired. I could smell and taste some things, but they didn't smell or taste right at all. It was like trying to watch a TV program after someone went crazy with the Tint/Color/Contrast knobs. I'm not a religious person, but every day I would pray that my senses would return to normal. I cried and cried because I thought I was permanently damaged. I knew my sense of smell was important to me.
Finally, one day after a few months, I was stunned when everything returned to normal. One of the happiest days of my life. I'd given up hope that it would ever happen.
I know my situation wasn't remotely as harrowing as what you're dealing with, but don't give up hope. Sometimes things just snap back into place on their own.
Last edited by Indie_Guy; 1st February 2009 at 11:05 PM. Reason: typo
sorry about what happened to you, I hope you gain all your senses back to normal.
Good luck with everything, all the best wishes.
The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.
My heart is with you. Our family is struggling for a relative of mine, who is recovering from a nearly fatal brain damage. He had an angioma, which "blow up" last March in his head. First the doctors gave three hours in his life. Then came 2 months of coma. And since then small steps... very small steps. In his field he was one of the brightest brain in the world, teaching at the Columbia University for years, now hardly recognizing his relatives. But he IS getting better and better, and we can see that even from such I miserable situation there might be recovery. I wish you all the best. The road ahead of him and ahead of us is still very-very long, that applies to you, too.
But don't miss the scents so much: what really matters is that you are not in the grave - still you can see sunshine, nice girls, have good friends at home and here at basenotes. Enjoy life as much as it's possible. Sometimes write, please, how are you recovering.
Last edited by Sandy; 1st February 2009 at 10:51 AM.
Do you experience fragrances in any way besides smell? Like how some blind people have blind-sight where they can like sense outlines and mass of things in the world, not by sight but some sense.
Sale/sample thread. http://community.basenotes.net/showthread.php?t=218207
Take care of yourself!
Forget about my suggestion you try HdP Casanova in place of Antico Caruso. You might try the HdP Marquis de Sade though, which is very rich and strong. Andy Tauer's L'Air du Desert would be another good one. Le Labo Patchouli also is extremely strong. Hang in there, your smellies will always make you feel a little better and escape a little.
A touching story Butthead - thanks for sharing. Chin up, and keep focusing on the positive that has emerged from your ordeal.
Jeez,Butthead53 what a bummer - I feel for you. As the guys have said, I hope you regain your sense of smell eventually and in the meantime, focus on the positive things that have come out of it.
One problem you might find is that if you wear enough scent to smell yourself, people around you might be overwhelmed. (You know the scenario - it's the 80s and a woman drenched in Poison gets into a lift...) Consequently, you might find it a good idea to carry a decant in your pocket for regular respritzing, but confine it to your wrists, so you can have a sniff of yourself when you like, without affecting other people.
And of course, at home, you can Splash It All Over, as they used to say in the Brut commercials when I was a kid. (Personally, I have a nasty habit of wandering round the house doused in Dzing! and smelling like a barnyard. Lovely!)
One last thing - I was so impressed by you saying that regardless of the doctors, you're still looking for work. Good on you, mate. I hope you get something soon.
"A woman who doesn't wear perfume has no future." Coco Chanel
I'm streamlining my collection http://community.basenotes.net/showt...29#post1219729
This happened to my to-be daughter-in-law, soon 22, she suffers epilepsy and had a bad injury with subsequent cranial fracture. She lost smell and cannot hear on one ear. The condition has not improved after a few medical interventions and everything is in heaven, the physicians cannot predict further development.
That is a very touching story, thanks for sharing it with us.
I have some thoughts or suggestions, for what they are worth.
First I think it is important to keep yourself active in the world of scents: trying them, wearing them, thinking about them and talking about them. Keep working those brain centres and encouraging them to build new synaptic paths.
Second, I am not sure that going with more powerful scents and larger doses is the best for your brain (or the noses around you, as has been suggested). Part of the re-training process should be something other than "shock and awe." You want to retrain your brain to recognize subtle points. So there may be times where you try subtle frags in subtle amounts. You may smell nothing or very little. Persist! You must have patience in matters dealing with brain trauma. Great patience!
Finally, if you can turn this issue outward, that will provide a path for you. What I mean by that is that you have a great resource (your knowledge and enthusiasm). Share that with others, here on BN for example. Encourage newcomers who come here with their very basic questions. Post more comments and reviews. Again, this is keeping the brain centers active. But also the social and even charitable-teaching aspect focuses the issue on more than yourself.
I hope these friendly words give you some support and resources in your path!
Best wishes to you!
Last edited by odysseusm; 1st February 2009 at 01:26 PM.
"The force that through the green fuse drives the flower // drives my green age..." Dylan Thomas
Thank you for sharing your story. I hope you find both a job and your sense of smell soon.
One thought. Would smelling perfumes and some of the individual components help? I am still trying to learn to recognize individual notes and smelling notes alone and then with perfumes that contain them is helping me learn to recognize them in scents. If you need to help your brain rewire itself maybe doing something similar would help?
What a terrible misfortune. I hope that your sense of smell will return and in the meantime I hope that your other senses will be able to nourish your soul.
Amazingly lucid writing for someone with an extensive brain injury so I know you will get better. Good luck!!
De gustibus non est disputandum
Thanks for sharing your story. I am ultimately touched by it. Difficulties and pain are the best lessons in life.
A touching story. Thanks for sharing. It's great that you are able to focus on some of the good things that have happened to you as a result. I wish you speedy recovery.
Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter. (Keats)
A well written account for someone who has suffered some great losses thus far. Many people can't write near as well with all of their neurons firing. I don't want to sound trite as this misfortune did not befall me personally. But, you have already overcome so much and we all look forward to hearing even better things in the future for you BH. Some of the biggest changes occur in the heart when adversity comes our way. It sounds like you are choosing to respond out of gratitude for what you have and not bitterness over what you don't have at the moment. Of course you would always be welcome here at Basenotes as it seems that we are a community of mostly great people and not just a group who share olefactory opinions. God bless you.
Not an easy cross to bear friend. I am sorry that happened to you. I had a friend years ago who, from a head injury in a motorcycle accident, lost an eye and his sense of smell / taste completely.
I'm happy to hear you can still smell however, even though it isn't 100%, it's still there and the hope of it improving is also. Maybe some members can get together and send you some sample vials of the strongest juice ever marketed.
Thank you for talking about a difficult and personal part of your life.
My uncle also fell in his home, hitting the back of his head on a tile floor, and still has total anosmia. He is not a fragrance enthusiast, but I know that he misses his sense of taste.
I echo what has already been said above: Keep looking for the positive things in your life. You are alive, and that, is a gift
I am sure that it is difficult to talk about such a personal tragedy. But, realize that you are allowing all of us who read your story to grow in some small way through your suffering. There are lessons of appreciation for each moment we have and you have helped me be more aware of the precious opportunity for life and creative experience that I have.
Thank you for sharing with us and allowing us inside your tremendous growth experience. My father told me once after I had a major injury that was quite a setback - "life is at its best when it is a struggle". Looking back on the struggles I've had, I have to agree with that assessment. It is never easy when you are looking up from the depths. Have courage in your climb back.
Thanks again for letting us in!
I hope you eventually make a full recovery, BH. And do give us regular updates on your progress.
Everyone is entitled to his own opinions, but not his own facts. Daniel Moynihan
Definitely, for anyone who undergoes brain injury that results in focal deficits, there is a need for rehabilitation therapy. There is established physical therapy for legs, and occupational therapy for hands, but I agree that psychologically, there is a need for scent therapy as well!
That was a very well written account of an awful event, and I commend you for taking the trouble to share it with us. I am heartened by the fact that you can still enjoy your hobby to some extent, and are still actively trying to improve your sense of smell. Having seen someone close to me deal with a similar problem, it has demonstrated to me that the brain is an amazing organ, and it has a tremendous ability to repair itself, even against terrible odds. I wish you the very best for the future, and I would be glad to read more about your recovery in future posts.
Having had an injury to the head, and subsequent surgeries, can lead to severe inflammation inside the head, that may persist for some time. It may just be inflammation in the local area of sinus cavity that is temporarily blocking ability to smell. It is possibly not be a loss of the olfactory nerves' ability.
Stay positive, do all the rehab they say, and close your eyes and direct all your focus where you meet the seemingly insurmountable challenges inside your process of thoughts.
Eat a good diet with plenty of Omega-3 & EPA, which can help regrow glial and other brain tissue, take care of yourself, and use your imagination as much as possible. I will say a prayer for you.
I admire your amazingly positive and constructive attitude following your terrible injury. I wish you the best.
The thing that struck me most was the bit about your mother; only one sentence, but it said it all, really. Incredible, aren't they? Makes you wonder sometimes what exactly it is that you did to deserve their love but the answer, as always, is nothing. You are lucky to have her, for sure.
It is quite clear in your opening post that you stand unbowed in what can only be classed as extraordinary circumstances. We don't know each other--and I am certainly unacquainted with your doctor and more broadly, medicine in general--but you shouldn't let the neuropsych's diagnosis discourage you. Despite your stated difficulties with balance, memory, and scar tissue, you appear to have little trouble organizing and stating ideas with clarity, if the first post was any indication. That's a hell of a long way from being bed-ridden and near-death, I should think...
This is leagues and leagues away from the gravity of your situation but my high school track&field coach used to pronounce me his "greatest disappointment" in 25 years with a whistle in his mouth because I spent too much time "thinking" and not enough time "listening and doing", according to him. But I did listen, more than he knows. He said something especially interesting once, in reference to people crumbling under the burden of pressure:
"When you have truly applied yourself and tasted success as a result, there will be expectations. But they don't matter. YOU need to have expectations, big [honking] ones. And then, when you can't raise your expectations for yourself *any* higher, the only thing left to do?...is MEET them."
So meet them. I had a bit of a random setback of my own several years ago, and I am only now righting the ship. Lean on your family when you need support. If you've got a best friend, preferably one who is smarter than you and to whom you would entrust your life, listen to him/her. And try new things that you aren't/weren't already good at; the inadequacy I felt in attempting the totally unfamiliar helped me to eventually define myself as something other than a mere list of things I already excelled at (or more pertinently, used to excel at). Maybe it will help you, too.
I wish you continued progress in the coming days, weeks, months, and years. Your journey will be of particular interest to me, and I hope many others here, too, so the odd update, though unnecessary, would be lovely. You can also PM me anytime.
I'd like to thank all of those who responded. I feel every one of your best wishes, and I've also taken note of your suggestions. Your encouragement has given me a lot of hope that my nose--and life--will ultimately return to normal!
This has confirmed my thoughts that B'noters are the friendliest people in the world. I'll let you all know of my progress.
Last edited by Butthead53; 2nd February 2009 at 08:23 PM.
I am not afraid... I was born to do this.
-Joan of Arc
Wow, thanks for sharing that. You made it through the fall for a reason. Hang in there mate!
Stay on basenotes, I don't know how many new fragrances are released each year so if you keep smelling your old fragrances and remembering how much clearer you smelled, just use new releases. Also a lot of people are only able to smell basenotes and maybe the generic impression of a scent without pin pointing each note, so don't swear off perfumes because you don't enjoy them as you used too..if you still enjoy them then wear them
But once you get locked into a serious perfume collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.
Wishing you a speedy recovery mate, stay positive and be happy. You are stronger than you know!
As for your sense of smell, "use it so you don't lose it" (the brain can learn to use existing neural pathways in new ways following damage)...
Keep on keeping on!
We want a Basenoter who can't smell! That's who!
I suspect that over time you sense of smell will improve. It may be different that it ever was before the accident, but it will likely change and evolve. The brain is still relatively fluid, even when we aren't babies any more! So keep sniffing, refer back to any notes or reviews you might have taken of perfumes that you've already been exposed to, and have hope. And keep us posted regulalry, if you will, on how you are doing. We're all rooting for you, AND your nose! You may want to keep a reference fragrance handy, one you knew by heart before the accident, so that if your nose DOES improve, you'll be able to detect the improvement readily. Just some ideas. And anything you do to stimulate the other senses will also likely help your sense of smell..after all everything has a context. So dive deep into sensory experience! It can't hurt, and it might help! Take care. Lizzie.
Last edited by lizzie_j; 2nd February 2009 at 11:21 PM.
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If the impairment of your olfactory sense is caused by one or more of the medications, that means that if and when you get to the point where you can discontinue the medication, your sense of smell will return. So all may not be lost in that respect. I had surgery to remove polyps from my sinuses, and was taking a drugstore decongestant after that, and was disturbed to find my sense of smell much reduced, and for a while worried that it was a side effect of the surgery (which, if anything, is supposed to have just the opposite result). Then it occurred to me to test it when I hadn't taken the decongestant, and found that it was, indeed, the culprit. On the other hand, a traditional Chinese herbal medicine in pill form had no such side effect. Come to think of it, TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture, herbs and qigong) may have much to offer you in your overall recovery. In China, it's not uncommon for brain surgery to be performed with the patient wide awake and under no anaesthetic other than that caused by acupuncture needles or advanced qigong practitioners directing qi to the appropriate points through their fingers. If they can do that, they probably also know a lot about recovering from brain injuries.