Kinda Smelling a Fart

Partly because I can’t smell, but mostly because I’m gross and find farts humorous, Greg and I let the gas fly freely in our household.  While folding laundry together the other night, Greg let a particularly stinky one rip.  With each disgusted face he made, I laughed harder and harder.  It’s always awesome for me to watch others suffer through horrid smells, and this time was especially funny because Greg did it to himself.  He took a few steps toward me in anticipation for tickling revenge, and as he did, I inhaled, and suddenly choked on a burning sensation in the back of my throat.  I let out a soft cough, thinking I must have had a weird tickle or spur of allergies over some dust microbe.  That’s when Greg went back to his side of the bed to fold and said something to the effect of, “Oh god it burns.”  I paused over the wonder and realization of me actually experiencing a fart, so I promptly asked him, “Do farts really burn?  Like, can you actually feel a burning sensation in the back of your throat?”  To which he responded with his this-is-common-sense tone, “Yeah.  It’s methane gas.”

I must have asked him three times to clarify exactly how it feels, because I couldn’t believe that I may have actually experienced a real fart, but it’s true.  I was ecstatic!  I quickly walked into his fart zone in the hopes of feeling the burning sensation again, but a few deep breaths later, I knew it wasn’t going to happen.  Smells are fleeting with me, and usually entail less smelling and more tingling in my nose, tastes on my tongue, or currently, a burn in my throat.  However, that didn’t dampen the initial joy of actually semi-smelling a fart.

As grossed out as I’m sure most of you are by this point (if any of you are still reading), I’ve been trying to smell farts my whole life!  In high school, my cousin would let a good one out on her mattress while we sat on her bed doing homework, and I’d immediately rush up, plant my nose firmly into the bed, and hope that I’d smell her alleged rose-scented farts.  For all I know, her farts really did smell like a beautiful rose garden, so I totally back her on that claim.

I am so intrigued with smells, and it’s so incredibly difficult for those around me to explain what they’re like.  So please, those of you that read and are good with words, I beg of you to attempt to explain to me the smell of farts.  Or just share a good fart story if you want.  Your grossness is accepted here.

My idol, Jenny The Bloggess Lawson, attempted to explain to me what blood smells like, and I was thrilled!  Think she nailed it?

 

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My immunes! (A story of yellow toenails)

I was told that while the stitches in my ankle’s tendon are holding, my tears have likely not healed.  I did not find this surprising, as my body has competed against my desire to be healthy and normal my entire life.  Next week, I will be undergoing a natural healing process where my blood’s platelet rich plasma will be separated and injected into my tendon in the hopes that those beneficial growth factors will speed up the healing process.  In the meantime, it’s two more months of complete inactivity (besides regular walking, and thankfully, no wearing of the boot).

While grateful for an answer, this means that I will have to forgo the marathon I had planned to race in this coming Sunday.  Being that I wasn’t able to train properly anyway, it’s probably more of a blessing.  Also, surprise, surprise, I managed to gain not one, but two ingrown toenails over the last week and a half that has disallowed me from wearing any shoes.  (I wore a pair for three hours last week, and I paid for it horribly that night.)  My toes would not have held up for 26.2 miles anyway!

I used to get ingrown toenails frequently growing up, but never as throbbing or painful as the ones I have now.  I believe this has to do with the fact that, up until a year and a half ago, my toenails were thick and yellow.  (My guess: the thicker the shard of nail to dig out, the easier it is to remove.) When I was young, doctors said that nothing could be done about my nails because it was genetic, and so I endured years of embarrassing yellow toenails.

As a child, it was hard enough fitting in while being painfully shy, abnormally tiny, and possessing a nose that was far too big for my face.  Unfairly, but fittingly, I was given disgusting, embarrassing, crumbly, yellow toenails to mix into my cocktail of ailments.  I couldn’t do anything to hide my large, dysfunctional sniffer, and I took the teases in stride.  But my toes; those I could control…or so I thought.

Besides going to the pool and curling my toes inward on my quick paced walk to the water, I was able to cover my unsightly feet with socks and shoes all day long!  That is, unless you go to Sports Camp for the summer, and the gymnastics leaders force you to take off your socks even though you beg them not to, and plead with them to get your dad (the one running the gym at the camp) to vouch for you.  Adults don’t always listen to kids, and those adults had the final say, so I slowly and reluctantly peeled my socks off my feet.  I did my usual toe curl that I used effectively at the pool, but when it came time for tumbling, I just couldn’t perform the proper technique without uncurling my toes.  This meant, as I came out of my roll and stood, feet together, hands held high for my “stick,” a mean, pretty girl was able to grab my ankle, hold it with a tight, zombie grip, and announce to the gym, “Oh my god!  Look at her toes!  Her toenails are yellow!  Hurry, come look!”  As you can imagine, tears of embarrassment sprang forth, and I wished that the blue felt of the mat covers would open up and smother me away from the gawking girls gathered around my feet.  Of course, after the gym leaders were able to pry those girl’s fingers from off my ankle, they allowed me to wear my socks, but the damage was done.  My dignity was lost, and I dreaded going to Sports Camp.

However, as most kids do, I grew to accept myself.  I even learned how to manage my toenails with a 7-speed electric sander battery operated toenail file and some nail polish.  A few years ago, I discovered that modern medicine had advanced, so I made an appointment to see an orthopedic doctor who prescribed me Lamisil tablets.  Those pills worked wonders, and currently, most of my toes are cured.  However, I believe that as my toenails were growing into their thin, clear, beautiful selves, that they followed the thick, curled path of the old nails, and viciously cut their way into my nail bed like the knife of a surgeon.  I’ve since dug them out (with twice the effort and pain as before) and have accepted that I will most likely always have ingrown toenails.

Anyway, that entire story is to say that I’m unusually optimistic about my upcoming natural healing process next week.  (I love long tangents, don’t you?) Yellow toenails might not sound like much, but trust me when I say that my body conspires against me, and if not for modern medicine, I’d probably be dead, or abandoned to some colony of misfits.  My little platoon of “immunes,” as I like to call them, obviously couldn’t heal the tears in my tendon (even with the aid of stitches–poor little troopers), so I’m eager to witness all of my strongest immunes being clustered together into a battalion of health.  Here’s hoping for the comeback of a lifetime!

Drink Water At Your Own Risk

“For someone with no sense of taste, you have a lot of opinions on water.”

Kevin told me that a while back, and he’s absolutely right.  As you all know, I would rather remain parched than fill up a cup with water.  But on those rare occasions that I do partake in the liquid that gives me life, I tend to be picky.  I pretty much hate the taste of bottled water, but if I have to grab a bottle to go, I usually choose Arrowhead.  Most people that drink bottled water regularly tend to despise Arrowhead, and I think it’s because it tastes like tap water—which I personally like.  Tap water is free, as tasty as water can be to me, and is better for the environment than plastic bottles.  But don’t think I just turn on the tap and start drinking.  No.  My other demand for drinking water is that it be ice cold.  I’m talking about a minimum of four ice cubes per 8 ounces of water.  If it’s warmer than that, it burns my throat.

That said, a few months ago, as I was getting out of bed, I pinched a nerve in my back.  (I guess this is the sort of stuff that happens when you’re in your 30’s.)  In any case, it hurt tremendously, and I could barely move.  Internet research said to drink tons of water throughout the day.  Fortunately, Greg was home with me, and he gladly filled my reusable purple bottle with large amounts of ice and water.
In less than an hour’s time, I had finished 66 ounces of ice-cold water. (FYI: 64 oz is the daily recommendation, so I was feeling very proud of myself.)  While finishing my last gulps, I noticed that I was getting cold, but didn’t think much of it.  When I got up to smugly show Greg my empty bottle, I began to realize that I was extremelycold.  I decided I would quickly use the restroom to pee out the toxins this water was supposedly washing out of me, and then sit myself back down on the couch under a warm blanket.  While washing my hands, I noticed that my fingernails were so purple that it almost looked like I was wearing nail polish.  Looking up at myself in the mirror, it was clear that my lips matched my nails.  That’s when my teeth began chattering uncontrollably…something I thought was only done in cartoons and the movies.
I suddenly realized that I had given myself hypothermia by drinking water!!
But don’t worry; I survived.  Greg quickly got me wrapped up in thicker blankets and immediately made me a giant cup of hot tea, which totally defrosted me by the time I finished drinking it.  For the rest of that day, I swore off stupid water and stuck with tea–which I found to be an absolutely wonderful alternative.    
While I feel I usually have to defend my motives for not drinking water, hypothermia is no joke.  I’d say I have a valid reason now.  I mean, why would I want to risk my life over something as horrible as water?  It’s not worth it when there’s perfectly good orange juice in the fridge.

Stop and Inhale the Air Around the Roses

I can’t smell.  Never could, never will. 

What’s funny about this condition of mine is that I didn’t realize it until middle school, and didn’t really grasp it until high school.  It wasn’t until college that I fully understood that I was missing out, and only a year and a half ago was I informed that my disorder had a name: anosmia.  (Thanks for your random knowledge, Greg!)  It’s not like it’s a sense anyone else can immediately notice is absent, and not being born with it, I never really knew what I was missing.  Turns out, this is common for anosmatic people.    

My very first recollection of not smelling something was in first grade.  As my classmates and I were walking back to class from recess, Angela, my best friend at the time, turned around to hand me a Tinkerbell brand lip gloss that she wanted me to smell.  I inhaled deeply through my nose, and caught nothing.  Angela was smiling, her eyes gazing at me expectantly. 
“It smells good, right?” she asked as she nodded waiting for my approval. 
“Mmm, yeah!”  I enthusiastically answered, while thinking to myself, “She’s crazy.  That stuff doesn’t have a scent at all.”
That was the first of countless times in my life that I’ve pretended to smell something.  Nowadays, it’s not ‘cause I’m embarrassed about my condition; it’s just easier.  As soon as I let someone know I can’t smell, the next 5-10 minutes are spent describing the how’s and why’s: 
You can’t smell anything?  (Pretty sure that’s what “I can’t smell” means.)
You’ve never smelled anything before in your life?  (Nope.  Maybe if you ask again, I’ll change my answer.)
Here, try to smell [insert object of choice].  (Seriously?  You think the one thing you hand me is going to miraculously cure years of anosmia?)
Is it just allergies?  (No, it’s like being blind.  I just can’t smell.)
So, can you taste food?  (Ugh, here we go…)
In all seriousness though, if I’m going to be around that person again, I like fulfilling their curiosity.  It gives me something unique to talk about, which I rarely can come up with on my own, and it makes it easier for me in the future.  No more faking it all the time.
Don’t feel sorry for me though.  I believe that it’s more a blessing than anything.  I can’t imagine what it must be like to be constantly blasted with scents all day long!  I hear my friends and family gripe about nasty smells more than they chirp about good ones.  And no picky eating for me!  Food is all about texture and temperature. Pretty much, just don’t give me soggy cereal or a cold dinner with course lima beans, and I’ll be happy.  Next time you take a bite of food, pinch your nose while you chew and swallow; that’s what I get out of it. 
Maybe it’s sad for you, but for someone who has never known any other way, it’s normal, and it’s shaped who I’ve become.  Who else can fart in the car, lock all the windows, and truly enjoy the pain they’re causing to their fellow passengers?