Taste and smell may be our senses most taken for granted, unless, that is, you’ve had COVID. Conor Hagen has this Perspective.
Ten days ago I felt a slight tingle in my sinuses. It’s a common sensation we’ve all felt, often an early indicator of a cold. I drank some water and figured it would pass. The next morning I tested positive for COVID-19. I was told to quarantine for 10 days and that one of my symptoms could be the loss of smell and taste. I woke up the next morning to my routine coffee. Something wasn’t right. I plucked a sprig of basil and held it to my nose, nothing. I smashed the basil leaf hoping to release its odors. Still nothing.
That night my wife and I had dinner outdoors, about 15 feet apart. The meal was black lentils with Italian sausage and asparagus, topped with Parmesan cheese. Typically a mouth-watering meal. Nothing. And so it continued...a fully loaded sandwich, nothing. Green curry, nothing.
When I was told about this being one of the primary symptoms of COVID, it never really registered with me what it must be like. Until now. It set in for me that our sense of smell and taste are likely two of the things that we take most for granted in our lives. They are ingrained in us. They help orient us to our surroundings. They tap into our primal fight or flight instincts. They are fundamental to our survival.
And just like that, gone.