Thursday, February 25, 2010

Journey Up the Nose

University of PennsylvaniaImage via Wikipedia
Well, I've just made an appointment to see the University of Pennsylvania's Smell and Taste Clinic.  Apparently, the rest of the medical world really doesn't care too much if I have a sense of smell or not.  Family doctors don't care much and neither do some Ear, Nose and Throat specialists.  I've told all my family doctor's that I don't have much of a sense of smell and they were a little non-plussed.  I saw an ENT over at Georgetown University and he didn't seem to care that much at all.

I guess it's because the nose is really not part of the capitalistic system.... I mean, outside of perfume specialists and maybe some food scientists and restauranteurs, who really cares about the nose?  It can generate no surplus income.  The nose just sits in the middle of your face, occupying real estate as it were.  Well... there are a fair number of plastic surgeons who are willing to sculpt your nose to your specifications.... but, really, no one cares much.

Except the folks living with you that wonder why in the heck you can't smell rotting food.  Why you have to wait until there's a blue-green mold or white froth in Tupperware before you throw stuff out?   They notice it and give you a bunch of static for growing penicillin.

At any rate, back to Penn.  They have a nice big fat questionnaire that they send you.  It is not for the faint of heart and definitely not for people who have eye problems tracking complex fields.  At any rate, I have finally finished it.  There is a big section on demographics:  everything from ethnicity, types of occupation and education.  Next there is a good section of medical history including allergies, sensitivities, what your lack of smell is associated with and how long it has been going on, distortions in smell and taste.  Additionally, they make you fill out the Beck Depression Index.  Apparently, depression is also associated with sense of smell problems.

I am very interested in figuring out why I do not have a good sense of smell.  I think that smell is a key sense in trying to disentangle my sensory processing disorders and my learning disabilities.   There is very little that is out there and it is only just recently that we are hearing about the studies with oxycotin, smell and autism.