I feel the need to write a note to y’all regarding our situation post-covid, and the impact it continues to have on Jennifer (especially) and myself. In particular, I need the good folks of St. Simon’s to understand how that impact affects Jennifer being able to interact with folks.
As many of you know, Jennifer and I contracted Covid last July, we caught it from someone at her mother’s funeral. We had moderate cases, she ran fever about a week and had some respiratory issues, I ran fever for 12 consecutive days before it broke, it was for me far worse than any flu I have had.
Like many people who contracted Covid, Jennifer lost her taste and smell early on. Over the next few months this side effect lingered, then began to lessen some. Unfortunately it shifted in January to Parosmia.
I will let Jennifer explain Parosmia in her own words:
For some victims of Covid at the beginning of the illness find all our olfactory senses, connections, the entire “smell” system, is damaged and not working at all, hence zero taste and smell. As we begin to heal, we begin to rewire, swollen nerve endings begin to heal and our system begins to work again, but only partially as we heal. This is the Parosmia. This partial function causes us to only smell dominant parts of things like coffee. Here’s an excerpt from the BBC article explaining this theory: ‘One theory about the origin of the horrible smells experienced by people living with the condition is that they are only sensing some of the volatile compounds that a substance contains, and that these smell worse in isolation. Their intensity could even be boosted. For example, coffee contains sulphur compounds that smell good in combination with all the other molecules that give coffee its rounded and pleasant aroma, but not so good when smelled alone.’ I’m guessing this also explains the fluctuations in taste and smell since substances contain different concentration levels, and as we heal, the different levels of molecular compounds are being sensed by our healing and ever changing olfactory receptors. This results in ever changing perception of our progress, or lack of. I think it’s just a matter of time before things heal and level out so that we return to smelling 100% of a substances molecular makeup, not just the dominant ingredients.“
Parosmia has been known to the medical community, as it can be a side effect of chemotherapy or traumatic brain injuries as well. When Jennifer encounters things like coffee (it is the WORST, She cannot be in the house if someone brews it or even drinks it out of a cup), any meats being cooked, and a whole assortment of other foods and objects, her olfactory system translates those odors into, what she describes, as the “Covid smell”. They all smell the same, some just more intense than others. For Jennifer she says it smells like rotting flesh left out in the sun outside of a paper mill factory.
This side effect of Covid is another great reason for people to be vaccinated – it’s not just about the chance you may die, there are many other awful consequences from this disease. It has meant we cannot eat inside most restaurants, are unable to socialize whenever food is involved, keeps us out of movie theaters (popcorn ya know), and we are constantly experimenting with foods that do not impact her too much. It is ever changing as well – for instance for a good while she could eat hot dogs but now they are a hard no.
I have said all this not to ask for pity, but to both ask for prayers and patience. Last Sunday we had our first big lunch at St. Simon’s since March of last year, a celebration with so much good food and people so grateful to gather again. But Jennifer was unable to participate and it broke her heart. She wants you all to know she loves you and hopes to be able to join in all the activities soon. We appreciate your prayers.