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?



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!

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?

Runny Nose 4 Life

So I’ve been sick the last two days.  Nothing major; just a head cold that was probably induced from travel and stress.  But this head cold has been making my nose run like it’s no one’s business!  As I sat here today with the warm, throbbing pain of a raw nose, I couldn’t help but think about how big a role mocos and tissues played in my life.
I’ve had pretty bad allergies since I was a little kid, and my immune system sucks.  Honestly, I don’t think I’ve gone a day in my life without using tissue.  I’d love to know what it feels like to wake up in the morning and not need to blow my nose.
In elementary school, I was such a stickler for following the rules that I wouldn’t dare get out of my seat to find a tissue, and I was too shy to ask permission.  Instead, the sleeves of my trusty Girl Scout windbreaker served my runny nose purpose.  At first, the cotton sleeves would just be moist and uncomfortable against my wrists.   When they dried, not only were they stiff, they gave off the shimmer of freshly made snail trails.  Each morning I would crinkle the stiffness away, brush off the crust, and get ready for the next round.  Lovely, I know.
As I got older, I learned to carry a few tissues in the pockets of my jeans; especially when I was camping or away from home.  Unfortunately for me, those few tissues filled up quickly, and the juiciness seeped right through my little pockets.  To spare the embarrassment of weird soak spots on my pants, I’d shove those tightly wadded balls of tissue into the sleeves of my sweatshirts.  There, they could bounce around freely to dry off.  Although the coldness of the soggy tissues was not pleasant (especially if I’d raise my arms and one would roll down to my elbow), it was a brilliant fix when I was out and nowhere near a trashcan.
By the time I got to high school, I learned the value of Pocket Kleenex.  I kept at least two of them in my backpack every day.  What was cool with them, was when I ran out of one pack, I could use the wrapper to neatly gather and keep all the used ones that had been rolling around with my pens and calculator.  Again, I wasn’t about to ask my teachers for permission to get up and throw my tissues away during class.  Besides being shy, I never wanted to throw them away till I got home in case I went through both packs and needed to reuse the least moist of the bunch.  Oh yeah, that happened.  A lot.
I’m always surprised by how many people do not have a single box of tissues in their household!  For a girl whose life revolves around tissue, it’s unimaginable to me how they can survive like that.  Plus, it forces guests like me to run to your bathroom and take a chance that your toilet paper can withstand the needs of my nose.
In closing, as a self-proclaimed connoisseur of tissue, I suggest that you get the regular old 2-ply Kleenex brand tissues (Target’s Up&Up brand is surprisingly comparable).  The Extra Soft Kleenex just leaves behind unflattering fuzz on your face; as well as any Puffs brand.  Yuck!  The lotioney ones are just gross and makes it feel as though you rubbed your mocos all across your upper lip.  And antibacterial?  Please!  You’re the only one touching them; save your money.