Before I get into today’s topic, I’d like to write about a strong nonagenarian in my life: my grandmother. I had mentioned her in Resilience, Thy Name is Woman. She recently underwent gall bladder surgery and spent 10 days in the hospital. Except for the time when she was under the influence of anesthesia, she kept the nurses and by-standers on their toes with constant instructions and comments like, “Inikkyu fan venam, fan venda, bed thazhthu, vellam venam, ende magan enge…” etc. etc (I want the fan, I don’t want the fan, lower the bed, I want some water, where’s my son). She was so alert that she knew to switch from Malayalam to Tamil between family members and others. She is home now and though she isn’t mobile yet, she is recovering well. She is an inspiration and I hope to have at least a fraction of her resilience as I age.
Coming to my senses now, I don’t know about you, but I recently realized that I was taking my five senses for granted. What gave me this enlightenment? I caught a cold towards the end of last week and on Sunday, while cooking lunch, I realized that my rasam had NO fragrance (which is not a good thing). I quickly checked other items such as perfume, soap, and incense sticks..NOTHING. I panicked…and concluded that I had Covid!!!
I told Mr. P about the development and asked him to get the home test kit out. He told me not to jump into conclusions but I insisted on doing a test. I did one before lunch, my mind on overdrive thinking of how we were going to handle my isolation, risk of infecting Mr P and my MIL, taking days off, cooking and whatnot. Anyway, the test was negative but I was not convinced (picture Mr P shaking his head and saying, “periyavanga sonna keykkanum – you should listen to your elders)”. I spent the rest of the day trying to smell different things and found that I could mildly smell Vicks. I tested again at night and got another negative result. Since I work in a school, I did not want to take a risk and tested again on Monday morning. Another negative result and I was off to work.
Since I did not see any improvement till Tuesday and my symptoms worsened, I did an RT-PCR test too, which also came back negative. Anyway, the loss of my olfactory senses continued the entire week, with minor improvements happening on Thursday; I could smell my sanitizer now. By Saturday, I regained my sense of smell completely and was genuinely thankful. I reported the improvement to Mr P with almost the same enthusiasm as Ganga in Manichitrathazhu, “I can smell my soap, now my perfume..ah the incense smells so good!” What a relief!
What did I learn from this? Two things:
1. I should NOT take my senses for granted anymore
2. There might be a new variety of the common cold that impacts your sense of smell (a friend’s friend had a similar experience). So, watch out.
Until I write again, stop and smell the flowers, enjoy the beauty of things around you, savor every bite of food you eat, give someone a hug, and listen to the sounds of nature.