Walk Don’t Run – Six months of Parosmia caused by COVID

This week I hit my sixth month of suffering from Parosmia and phantosmia cause by COVID I had in November 2020.

Nearly half of people with COVID-19 who took part in one study reported Parosmia about 2.5 months after their initial infection, and it continued for at the very least six months! According to some, the “COVID smell” was “foul,” “rancid,” or similar to “rotting flesh.”

It causes weight loss, depression and loss of appetite and affects the sense of taste and smell. Yup. 

I’ve signed up to be a part of several studies, but I’m on all the waitlists. 

I’ve tried to keep track of the foods I’ve “lost” over the past six months and frankly, it’s gotten easier to keep track of the foods I can eat without gagging or physically getting ill. Let me tell you, that list is short. It feels like the longer I have this thing, the worse it gets. 

Most of my meals consist of desserts because sweet foods don’t bother me. (Thank you, Keller Bakery, for keeping us in stock for breakfast and lunch with new and interesting things to try (peanut butter, pork rind chocolate chip cookies or pecan Apple Jack candies? cookies? whatever they were, they were delicious. We love to be your Guinea pigs at the Journal office!) 

When I need something savory, I eat cheese, so much cheese. 

I know at some point I’ve said that I could eat Mac and Cheese “every single day for the rest of my life.” That was a lie. I’d eat my words, but they’d probably taste terrible and make me sick.

I changed the mac and cheese brands up and eaten Kraft, Velveeta, Homemade, tried my sister’s corn mac recipe, tried the Cheeto flavor. I tried it all and no; you can’t eat macaroni and cheese every day for six months. You also can’t eat grilled cheese every day. 

One day I was sitting on the living room floor eating crackers, cheddar cheese and pepperoncini peppers, hysterically crying because I was so tired of cheese. I never thought I’d see the day that would happen. 

Last year during Thanksgiving, I couldn’t taste or smell anything because I had COVID. I thought that would be the worst Thanksgiving I’d have. I was stuck in quarantine in my home office with a mattress on the floor-nowhere to walk or move. I was alone, sick with a virus and scared. This year, God willing, I’ll be healthy and alive, but there’s a good chance I’ll be eating something with cheese with my nose plug on and I’ll cry seeing all that good food that I won’t be able to eat for the second year in a row.

Last week my niece turned nine. I was there waiting impatiently the day she was born and vowed to try to be there for every birthday if I could. At this party, we watched her open gifts and everyone ate dinner. My sister has been great at making sure there are no onions in anything she makes if I’m around and I have something to eat at every event. This time she accidentally cooked something with onion, leaving her house unbearable for me to be inside. It made me gag and so dizzy I felt like I’d pass out. Even the slightest pinch of onion salt turns my world upside down. But now it’s more, its garlic, meat, body odor, chili, tacos. Almost everything. This day I had forgotten my nose plug, so I was stuck on the porch and watched my niece blow her candles out on her cake through the window like Stella Dallas watched her daughter get married from the street. How depressing.  

A few days after that, I cheerily told Brian, “the fair is only a few days away!” Because the fair is one of my favorite things of the year because of the hamburgers and chili. He just gave me a look, and then it hit me. I can’t eat chili or hamburgers. I can’t even smell the chili, or I’ll get sick. I started crying. This thing has me crying a lot. When this thing’s over I’m going to eat a ribeye with an entire slab of smoked BBQ pork ribs, crying the happiest of tears. 

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