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loss of taste & smell
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loss of taste & smell

Just over a week ago I fell backwards down the stairs from top to bottom - I had been out with friends and stupidly had too much to drink and don't remember a thing about the accident, but apparently hit every step on the way down and then hit the concrete floor at the bottom, and the skirting board with the top of my head. Very silly of me I know,but my husband checked me and thinks I lost consciousness for a short time. I was put to bed and couldnt remember a thing the following morning, other than a headache and a sore shoulder blade! Since then I have not felt myself. My symptoms got worse. I have been having headaches (some which wake me from my sleep in the early hours - both in the front, and the back of the head), periods of dizziness (sometime the whole room is spinning round when I sit up), other times its just a slight disorientation, a burning palsing pain in the centre of my head when I have been sitting for a while, or get out of the car, but the thing that bothers me most is that I cannot smell or taste a single thing ! I keep smelling the coffee jar, perfume, deodrant etc. but nothing ! I have visited the doctors and two hospitals - one said that it was sinus related and that the loss of taste and smell was probably nothing to do with my accident. The other was not convinced and gave me a head scan but thankfully all is clear on the scan. I feel really out of sorts and depressed -the thought of not being able to taste food again is horrific. I love food its just not the same eating and only being able to feel the texture in your mouth. I keep imagining what it did taste like before but its just not the same. I just want to turn back the clock as I was fine till I fell downstairs. I have read the comments on here and some of you guys have been through far worse injuries -  I know its only just over a week but the loss of taste and smell is driving me mad already. Is anyone in a similar boat to me - comments would be appreciated. Thanks, Tracey
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Avatar_f_tn
I had a motor bike accident in 1973.  Fractured my skull in three places and was in a coma for many weeks.

After 'waking up' I went through many strange twists and turns and it is a weird and wonderful journey back to 'normality'.

Because I had many problems for about one year after the accident the loss of Taste and Smell became minor.

Of all the senses to damage I think I would choose these two.

Before the accident I had enjoyed cooking and have always been interested in my health and diet.

Ten years after this accident I married and went on to have two children

The most dangerous is maybe the loss of smell because people do  not realise that smell warns you of so many things one of which you have a pot on the stove.  I had a few very scary moments when I literally had pots go into meltdown on my cooker.  Then the day to day things like baby needs a nappy change etc.etc.

My poor children became tasting 'guinea pigs'.

Taste has caused problems because you will find that someone who has not experienced this problem will not really believe you. I have had jokers who put a few tablespoons of salt in my coffee and I became dehydrated immediately on the first gulp.  

I have many dinner parties because I love to cook but it is always a topic of conversation but how on earth do you cook so well?

Or the great one is but why do you eat there is no enjoyment for you you could eat rubbish...dah....

I believe the brain accentuates those other remaining senses just as touch is accentuated or used more by a blind person.

In fact has anyone seen the experiment where a blind person was able to cross a room which was set out with cones without touching one of them.  It was suggested that the brain had linked in to the person eyes through some other area of the brain and although it was thought the person was blind in actuality the brain was doing its job under cover ...wonderful thought.

I have had the loss of these two senses now for 36 years.  In this time I have had great enjoyment from good healthy food, colours, textures, very spicy food which gives me a nice tingle on my tongue and the joy of preparing food for others.

I am very grateful for all the great recipes available and I somehow, and I dont know how, can experience good combinations of foods and textures which please my guests.

Yes it is dangerous I do live alone at the moment but I do have detectors in my apartment for gas leaks and really after all these years i am well aware of the possibilities out there which will harm me.

I have never had problems finding work and certainly would not like to live on any disabilty allowance as someone above mentioned?

It's all about being grateful for being here enjoying your life.

I do miss the smell of peoples houses, people, animals, flowers, food, burning firewood, but oh my goodness it could have been much much worse......

The worst thing for me is the constant questioning I have to go through with people who have known  me for ages as well as newcomers...

I enjoyed reading these comments it gives me such a good feeling to talk to someone else who has experienced this.  In fact I have cut and pasted some comments so that I can whip out the piece of paper with them on to those annoying people who just think you're saying this ....for effect or...?

Janet
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Hi
Welcome to the MedHelp forum!
What you have is probably a concussion. A concussion can last for weeks after the head injury. The symptoms too vary from person to person. Headache, confusion, memory loss, dizziness, nausea vomiting, slurred speech  and fatigue are common. Delayed symptoms include depression, irritability, sleep disturbances, seizures, loss of smell etc.
Injury to olfactory (related to smell) nerves, olfactory bulb in the brain, frontal and/or temporal lobes of the brain can all result in loss of smell. The injury can be in form of contusion or hemorrhage or damage to the nerves.
Please discuss this with a neurologist. If the loss is due to concussion, there is a chance that the sense of smell will come back.
Hope this helps. Please let me know if there is any thing else and do keep me posted. Take care!

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Hi Doctor Nee
Thanks very much for your comments.
It has been 2 weeks since my accident and I am still experiencing headaches, and dizziness - my head does not feel like my own "foggy" if that makes sense, like I am on another planet.  My sense of smell and taste have also not returned, and the past few days I have felt very low and keep crying for no reason. I revisited my doctor today who explained that the symptoms I relayed are all concussion related.  The doctor said that it was early days following such a bang to the head and that if I did not feel any better in another week he would refer me to a neurologist.
My previous head scan was clear.  I am worried about my sense of smell and taste not returning - the doctor was a bit vague about this and said it may return, or it may not.  Are there any tests you can take to see if this is permanent, or is this what a neurologist would do? Look forward to hearing from you, Tracey
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi Janet
Thanks for your comments which are appreciated. I think you are a very brave and determined person, and admire your strength.
I know it is early days since I lost my taste and smell but I was wondering if you could give me any tips on food.  I have been living on soup, and fizzy sour snake sweets to get a sensation on my tongue ! I also quite like dry crackers, and bananas and grapes. I tried chilli con carne with extra chilli powder to give it a kick, but this just burned my mouth and gave me an upset tum.  I am sure you are very experienced with food having lost your senses for so long and would just like to know if you could recommend anything for me to try with texture, or spice to make it interesting.
Look forward to hearing from you, Tracey
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi Tracey.
    It is a week after my ice skating accident where I fell backwards and cracked my head on the ice.  I have a contusion, or concussion, and still have a headache.  I have 0% smell or taste, nothing.  It' is hard, so hard to even imagine life without this.  I know that I shouldn't whine, so many people suffer more, but everything seems so flat and two dementional.  Your accident sounds like a similar severity to mine, I am able to function etc.  I over ate today just looking for something, anything to give me some feedback.  I am fighting depression.   My husband and I leave for a month in Thailand in two weeks and I was looking forward to the fruit and food more than the beaches.  Good luck to you on your recovery, I'm full of hope we will both get back to our senses.  Maggie
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi Maggie
Its good to hear from someone that is going through a similar experience. It was 2 weeks yesterday since my accident and I still do not feel right. I havent even ventured back to work yet as still feel out of sorts. My headaches are getting better, although I still feel that I have a "foggy" head, it doesnt feel like my own, and I am still getting bouts of giddiness, particularly when I get up. I am going back to work next week though as I have to get back on track.  The thing that bothers me most is the loss of taste and smell though and wondering whether it will ever return.  I went through a few days of crying all the time over stupid things...I had my head stuck over a jar of coffee and cried.  I cried cos I couldnt smell my husband next to me in bed, and I cried cos I couldnt smell the bleach down the toilet...how sad is that !!! Its little things that you don't realise that make it all worse.  Every advert on TV is about bloomin food and yet there is no enjoyment in eating anymore. I am absolutely gutted for you about your holiday, it will be such a shame if your senses do not return, but I am sure you will enjoy it, as others have said it could have been far worse and we could have lost our sight, or hearing or been paralysed.  It is the not knowing if it is going to come back - if someone said you will get it back in 4 or 5 weeks then you can live with that, but the doctors don't seem to know, and I have read stories on here where people have lost it for 35 years...I just cant imagine that at all.  If you find anything interesting to eat let me know, and please stay in touch, its nice sharing it with someone.  Hope you feel better soon, Tracey P.S. Where are you from ?
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Avatar_m_tn
Hello Doctor,
Thanks for the explanation. My wife recently met with an accident and was diagnosed with linear occipital fracture. She can taste but not smell. Its been 3.5 weeks since the accident, and its gets concerning.
We do go to neurologist, but unfortunately they dont give a constructive answer. Is it because they dont want to commit or raise the hopes of the patient. Is it an indication that we may never expect the smell to come back and thats why doctors are not significantly saying anything.

Arun
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