This is the second post about my smell training experience with Chris Kelly. If you haven’t read the previous two posts, (the first one is an introduction to it), I would suggest you do that first so that you can understand what I am talking about.
The next stage of smell training involved, yes you’ve guessed it, smelling things! The first thing I did was to smell four different citrus scents of Yuzu, Orange, Bergamont and Grapefruit, then four different wood scents of Larch, Swiss Pine, Cedar and Spruce each one was made up from a weak to strong concentration, and I was asked to describe how much I could or couldn’t smell of each one. I wasn’t told what they were so couldn’t pretend to know. The bottles all had a different coloured star on them also so Chris knew what I was smelling. Some of the scents I could hardly smell anything of, others were pleasent, and others not so nice…..unfortunately. It was interesting to know however and seemed as though I could smell more than I realised. Chris noted all of this down as we went along so I had something that I could take back with me and refer to when I did my own smell training at home.
The next stage was for me to try and identify smells and see how near they were to the original smells that I remembered. I kept getting frustrated and writing them off saying “no cant smell anything”, but Chris pushed me to keep trying as sometimes it takes a while for a smell to come through. She was right, as with some of them, if I kept sniffing long enough something did start to materialise, often quite faint, but at least something! I can be quite an impatient person at times,so this took a bit of concentration on my part but at least I didn’t get grumpy! At this stage I was getting smell overload so to clear my head and Chris’s too probably, we went for a walk with her dogs and just chatted. This was nice and informal, giving my head and my nose a chance to have a break, (not literally of course)!
When we got back nicely refreshed, I went through Chris’s smell library to try all the different smells, and make some up to take home with me which I could train with. She told me not to go for the obvious ones that I could smell quite well, but to choose the ones I couldn’t smell at all or were very faint, so I could keep trying these at home to see how and if they developed or strengthened, this would be the best way to tell if the smell training was having any affect or not.
I was by then starting to understand that my smell may not necessarily get back to normal but get back to being pleasant. Chris said things may not smell as they used to in some cases, but I would start to associate this new smell with a certain thing. For example lemon. It may not smell so much like the original lemon smell I knew before my Anosmia, but the new smell would be what lemon smelt like to from then on, as that was what my brain would get used to associating a lemon smell with. I know that Chris wouldn’t mind me saying this, (well I hope not because she’ll be reading it at some point no doubt), but at the time I was pretty confused and a bit disheartened. I suppose I just thought things would smell the same as before, but that isn’t always the case it seems. When I got home things did start becoming a bit clearer over time, I’m jumping ahead however, I haven’t written post number three yet…..So in my next post, I get lazy and have a kip…..well not quite, you’ll find out what I mean!