I’ve been lucky. Not a day in the hospital from the time I was born till a freak drug allergic reaction at age 62 left me in intensive care for almost a week. But that’s another story….
It all began with a routine chore. It was filling my lawn tractor with gas. I had failed to notice the crack in the plastic gas cap. Racing to finish the mowing job ahead of an approaching storm I kept going in spite of an increasingly heavy mist. It included some gasoline being sprayed each time I hit a bump in the lawn. Finishing the job as it began to pour I ran into the house where I met my wife. She immediately wanted to know what the “awful smell’ was. A closer sniff and she determined my wet T shirt was the source. I had been totally oblivious to the smell.
A few days later my GP sent me to the Mayo Clinic who gave me a sniff test with little bottles of liquid (high tech that wasn’t). It was determined I had lost some of my senses. Mrs. T. agreed. It was actually a virus which took my sense of smell and to a lesser degree that of taste. Still they told me I was lucky since it could also have been my sight.There were clues to all of this back then but when something gradually disappears you don’t always notice it. My complaints about all the bad smelling and tasting coffee had been noted. Switching brands hadn’t helped. When I, quite out of character, agreed with my senior high school students how bad the smells from the lunchroom one floor below my classroom were, the all cheered. The worst though was when after our skunk scented hunting dog caused my son to puke and I hadn’t noticed anything unusual. Still when all was said and done I did recognize my good fortune in never having taken up smoking. We all know the habit can kill you. Turning into a human torch while mowing the lawn would have been considerably quicker.