Friday, February 19, 2010

Hazards of Anosmia and Natural Gas

Oops. I did it again.

Yesterday, I woke up from my afternoon nap to the sound of John shouting, "Can't you SMELL that?!?!" as he ran from room to room opening windows.

Turns out that I was snoring away on the couch totally unaware that I had bumped the controls of our stovetop, sending unburned natural gas on it's stinky and dangerous way through the house. I was sleeping in my own little cloud of a disaster waiting to happen. No wonder I felt kind of queasy.

So the answer to John's question, is no, honey, I can't smell that. But he already knows this. It's just hard for both of us to really believe it. I remember how horrible natural gas smells. How is it that I can't detect a smell that strong and intentionally yukky?

I know the answer to that question too, unfortunately. It's pretty common for people with Sjogren's syndrome to have a decreased sensation of taste and smell. A loss of the sense of smell is called anosmia and you can read more about it on the Mayo Clinic's website here.

Since this has happened more than once, and since natural gas is extremely explosive and can cause asphyxiation, I suppose it's time for me to be a bit more pro-active here. It really would be inconvenient if I blew the house up into a million bits.

You can read more about the dangers of a natural gas leak here.

I'm heading out soon to shop for a natural gas detector. The National Institutes of Health has a great page which should help me to choose one.

Hm. I bumped the controls of the stove while cleaning. Cleaning. Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned here........

Image found here.


Anonymous said...

Yeesh! I'm glad John came home. By the way, thank you for following me on my old blog, Therapeutic Laughter, but I have moved. I think I've finally (read: I hope) found something that will actually inspire me to write more. You know, trying to change one's way of life can be a great muse. The new blog is called On 3. You'll know what that means if you read it.


Jenny P said...

Now THAT'S depressing! Thank God you're ok, and there was no loss of life, limb, or property.

But my sense of smell is one of my favorite senses! Smells trigger very strong memories and feelings for me - I won't wash a coat I have that used to hang in my grandmother's closet because it still smells like her house, and I won't get a new dresser even though mine's on it's last leg (ha, haha) because the smell the wood imparts to my clothes helps me fall asleep at night. We know what to do to delay dry eye and mouth damage, is there anything we can do about this?!

Julia Oleinik said...

Jenny - Yes, losing most of my sense of smell was hard. BUT this doesn't mean that you will, and I really hope that you don't. Although Sjogren's can cause this, it isn't one of the most common symptoms of Sjs.

In the meantime, take time to smell those roses. Or dresser.

Anonymous said...

I'm happy to know your OK.
I would be so afraid after somehting like that !

annie said...

Is there nothing that can be done to help/reverse your sense of smell? That was a scary situation you were in and potentially very dangerous. I think I have the sense of smell seems to be overstimulated to the point my nasal passages hurt.The same happens to my eyes and my mouth...I have teary eyes, but also dry itchy ones, and my mouth and tongue become very dry, while I have saliva in my mouth. How does all this work? It's all very puzzling.