ASCII by Jason Scott

Jason Scott's Weblog

The Unexpected Smell Dimension —

Between the editing of GET LAMP and the hospital stay, January was a thin month for entries. Sorry about that.

Tasks on GET LAMP are now becoming longer, with longer breaks. (This is good.) So I have some time to at least write a bit here and get into the swing of things. I wanted to mention the good thing that came out of my hospital stay, since it’s notable how things have changed for me since then.

When we last left our historian, he ended up staying in the hospital for a few days because of an infection in his lower intestine. Oh, did he love that.

They Forgot to Take My Blackberry at the Hospital

Bathroom breaks, which had been once every 40 minutes, became once an hour, then down to 30 minutes, then slowly back to what I guess most people would consider “normal”, i.e. once or twice every 2-3 days. This was painful and unpleasant, but I was in the hospital and an awful lot of people were checking up on me, and I found out how much my blood pressure medicine makes a difference when I was off it for a day, so as far as things went, all is well and good. I didn’t stay overnight in a hospital for years and years, until I was about 36, and since then I’ve done it three times. Either I’m getting sicker or I’m more likely to get myself somewhere and quick at the sign of medical need. Either way, I thought this hospital did just fine.

Everyone called it a bowel infection except this one doctor, who called it Dysentery. Bear in mind, calling something Dysentery is like calling it Hysteria. It might be vaguely accurate in a naming sense but it’s medically worthless – anything could fall under that, stuff that is totally at cross-purposes for treatment, and so it falls out of favor over the decades in favor of, you know, real terms. But he said Dysentery and somehow that made the whole thing hilarious.

It looked for a while I was going to get a Colonoscopy. Then it didn’t. Then they told me they were going to put me on antibiotics and send me on my way. Which they did.

I was given some pretty strong antibiotics, I guess. Cipro was one of them. I’ve since gotten rid of the containers so I couldn’t tell you the other. They tasted awful. I took them properly, and knew enough not to stop taking them when I felt “better”, since these things need to run their course and kill all of the bacteria/whosis.

But a strange thing happened a week later. I got back my sense of smell.

I didn’t even know I HAD lost my sense of smell, but I guess I did, because it came roaring back. Apparently I must have had a sinus infection or some other joy in my skull and the antibiotics wiped it out. I could breathe easier and I could smell, well, everything. I can smell trees when I pass them. I can smell car exhaust where cars have somewhat recently been. I can smell decay and smoke and grass and animals and clothes, and believe me, I couldn’t smell this stuff at ALL before.

Food tastes crazy now. I see why people like canned junk food, because I can suddenly taste the cartoon insanity of junk food, the bouquet of meat, the glissando of mixed liquids.

I really have no idea how long this veil has been over me – at least half a decade, but maybe much longer. I can’t remember ever being able to breathe this well through my nose, for example. And I can’t recall walking up staircases and smelling days-old scents of whatever cleaner was used on them.

It is an amazing situation, and one I will make the most of.

But more than that, there’s a feeling my brain has, where it has stumbled onto a whole new (or apparently long-forgotten) way of regarding the world. The whole thing has a veneer of newness about it – everything has a new way to be regarded and my mind is heavily geared towards exploring and enjoying new things. So now it is. That this situation would occur to me at my age is, well, a really nice way to make up for a week of hell with the sickness.

And how was your month?

Categorised as: jason his own self

Comments are disabled on this post


  1. JED says:

    Please hang in there until GET LAMP is released before you kick the bucket. 😉

  2. DusK says:

    So, does this mean we should be expecting a Smell-O-Vision edition of GET LAMP now?

  3. nimbus says:

    That’s great nose. Smell ya later.

  4. robohara says:

    I haven’t smelled anything in pretty much forever. I was once told by a doctor that I’m essentially allergic to “Oklahoma” — the trees, the cotton, the weeds, the hay, you name it. As a kid I used to have nightmares about being kidnapped, mostly because my nose was always so stopped up that if someone ever puts duct tape over my mouth, I’ll suffocate. It takes a nightly shot of nose spray to get anything out of the CPAP machine.

  5. Bob Shannon says:

    Take care and be well….being in front of a computer, for lovers of such like us, can really help..

    I can see that the 3rd generation of genius folks are going to screw up wiki…just as you predicted. It was not viable then but has since then seemed to downward spiral, run by boy wonders and gamer wannabees…..add in a few know it alls who are just out of diapers…oh sorry…not intended to be a comment on this post my friend…Thanks for your insights and help. You are a good historian with a bit more knowledge by retrospect than even those you write about!

  6. JayP says:

    Stay well until I get my copy of Get Lamp. After that, you’re free to do what you will.

    Rob- that’s the body’s natural reaction to lead you out of OK to Texas!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Just wait until it’s melting dogshit season. You’ll be so glad.

  8. jas says:

    atleast it looks like you lost weight 😀

  9. Sean says:

    I had a similar experience. One of the other pleasant side effects was the disappearance of my sleep apnea.

    You may want to have another sleep study done – you may be able to retire the CPAP machine too!

  10. mad_phoneman says:

    Glad youre feeling better. I went thru the H1N1 or similar bug here as well last month. Mine started as a pretty regular cold-like symptoms, but then escalated into a rip-roaring death on two legs feeling. I never got any flu shots, I’m of the belief that things that don’t kill ya make you stronger. Realize you’ll prob never have this particular strain again, because your immunity is up to it now.
    After the flu thingie went thru me, I got a horrible ear infection first right side, then left, and it took a strong dose of tetracycline to push that out.
    Welcome bach!

  11. djpmom says:

    Quitting smoking 7 or 8 years ago was a total revelation to my nose and taste buds, we have no idea what we’re missing until we have it back. I’ll bet you can smell the seasons as they change, now 🙂

  12. v says:

    Smell the cats! Cats smell so good!

  13. Oyun says:

    You may want to have another sleep study done – you may be able to retire the CPAP machine too!