"Why the tests?" you ask. I've been smelling weird things, such as:
- Freshly laundered clothes --> smells like burnt coffee
- Dirty dishes --> smells like burnt coffee
- Coffee --> smells like burnt garbage
I'd go on but I'm sure you get the burning picture.
This causes great problems during cooking at times: "Hey LP, how come you didn't smell the dinner burning?" my family says as they run to the stove and turn off the burner, smoke billowing out of the kitchen. "Sorry," I lamely reply. "I thought it was just, well, that normal fresh smell."
The Smell Identification Test I took was incomparable to anything else I had done for any medical test before. I had to scratch and sniff on 40 pads, with strict instructions to "pull a huge whiff of each as I scratched", then matching them to one of four options given. It brought me back to my childhood, only no pictures of strawberry shortcake to go with the sultry smells of artificial strawberry, mints and other citrus fruits.
Scratch...sniff...dill pickle. Scratch...sniff...banana. After a few minutes of scratching the room was awash with luscious fragrances of fake lavender, grape, bubble gum and cracked pepper. Yes, one of the options was cracked pepper. Then it got weird.
I started scratching ones with choices like:
a) bacon; b) natural gas; c) bleach; d) cheese.
Next I had choices like:
a) dill pickle; b) pain thinner; c) chocolate; d) whisky.
Yes - you read it right, a scratch-and-sniff whisky.
The tester looked over as I kept sniffing the whisky pad. "What are you doing?" she inquired, peering over her clipboard.
"Just following the instructions...you know, scratching and sniffing" I said, burying my nose in the pad deeper with each word.
"You've been on that one for a few minutes. You're only supposed to scratch it once!"
"But it smells good!" I exclaimed. I'm here in the hospital getting tested, can't I have any fun? I thought.
She shot me an evil glare as I took another deep breath of the artificial Jonnie Walker. "mmmmm, Whisky" I said in my best Homer Simpson voice. "Do you have any samples I can take home?"
"No," she deadpanned. "Now pass it over, you're obviously done." Her voice and body language had the 'all business no pleasure' look, yet I decided to press on.
"I could hand them out to the wino's on the street! I'd make an absolute fortune marketing these to binge drinking college students! My slogan would be something like Scratch and sniff in class to take the edge off! I'd be rich!"
She snatched the booklet away and tilting her head she flatly stated: "You're done I take it?"
"Yeah, just getting my last hit before I head back home. Cheaper than the bar you know."
Whew, good thing I ended up taking the bus home. I would not have wanted to explain that one to the police. I could just envision the headline: Local intellect busted for Sniffing and Driving!
I'd never live that one down.