The kids have had diarrhea for about a week, first Riley and now Lydia. She’s having a harder time getting over it, since her immune system is nowhere near as developed and her diet is still mostly liquid anyway. But there’s a very particular odor to it, nasty as anything. And the thing is, I’ve got that smell stuck in my head like a song. I keep thinking I smell it, even when I’m across the room and her diaper’s clean. Laura says it’s a sign of how much I care, that I must be a little bit obsessed with it. And of course it is on my mind a lot; she’s got a diaper rash from it and so we’re trying to be extra vigilant.

Have you ever gotten olfactory phantoms? Hopefully it was a more pleasant aroma than this. Why couldn’t it happen with vanilla or something? šŸ˜›

5 thoughts on “Olfantoms

  1. that’s… odd. you’d think repeated exposure to a certain smell would make your receptors less.. um.. recepty to it and not make them sigh wistfully for their return and conjure up phantom versions of it instead.

  2. Yeah, the neurons should adapt out

    God, yes – wintergreen, dammit. I like the taste, but sometimes if my sense of taste has been messed up by a cold and I eat a wintergreen lifesaver or something, it gets stuck in my brain, which will continue to smell it for hours, even days. Argh.

    At least wintergreen is marginally pleasant.

    I agree with the previous comment that this makes no sense, if the receptors in your sinuses are somehow locked into “on” you should get a decreased response, which kind of says, what? I dunno, that the problem is further up the pathway? Not actually in the nose? But the pathway is so freaking short.

    I mean, the nerve endings that stick down through the cribiform plate are in actual contact with the substance the produces the smell, and they are like connected almost directly to the rhinencephalon, I mean, the damn thing is right there, so it’s not like vision, where the signal has to go back and forth all over your head to register consciously. It should be fool proof.

    I can only think that this is some kind of problem with the conscious registration of the sensation, maybe, so the smell brain is reading right, but the frontal lobes are screwing it up?

    Unless you wanna consider the horrible thought that the chemicals the nerve endings are reading is lingering in your head that long. Nope. Not gonna even consider it; it’s too awful.

    • Re: Yeah, the neurons should adapt out

      Yeah, I’ve been not thinking that same thing. But it’s a little different, because it’s intermittent. Sometimes after I Tilex the bathroom, I can tell the fumes got up my nose because everything smells solidly like Tilex until it goes away. I really think this is more in my mind.

  3. This has never happened to me with smell the way it has with images and sounds. If I smell something horrible, I have to divert my nose and mind from it as quickly as possible, of I will vomit (the respective smells of rum, rotten oranges and very musky perfume are all unbearable to me, for instance).

    A perfume vendor, however, would love to convince its patrons that all seducees could have olfactory phatoms like yours – it’s quite a romantic notion in that sense.