Anything for a Sniff
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I was very young when I underwent a series of doctor visits. I would complain daily of bad headaches and pains. I could smell things I knew I wasn’t supposed to be able to smell. Things from rooms away, things in closed packages even. Often, things that had a displeasing smell to me would cause my headaches. But it could be more than a headache – it could be more than a migraine, if the smell was offensive enough my whole body was affected. My mom didn’t believe me at first. After MRIs, CT scans, and many other tests I did not enjoy or understand, a doctor administered a scratch and sniff test. I finally had a diagnosis, acute hyperosmia.
Hyperosmia is a form of dysosmia in which one has extremely sensitive olfactory glands. Basically, my sense of smell is like a superhero level sense. However, I don’t just have a “Super Sniffer,” unfortunately, my brain scrambles many smells and the intensity of them often affects my central nervous system causing varied reactions. Pleasant smells make me feel warm and almost joyful – it feels like a soft blanket on my insides. Things I do not like the smell of cause my headaches all the way to making me feel pain in my body. While the extreme physical reactions are incredibly rare, the doctor said it is not unheard of and there is no cure.
After a series of scratch and sniff smell tests the doctor defined my scent profile. The smells that cause me pain and I need to avoid are those associated with scented cleaners. The fake scents in dishwashing liquid, ammonia, lysol, clorox, anything like that are the main offenders. The scents I can live somewhat regularly with include natural smells that aren’t very strong such as flour, potatoes, tap water, etc. On the plus side, I also know the smells that cause me pleasure now: earth scents like mushrooms, clay, most raw meat and fish – things that can be described as having umami.
While there is no cure, luckily, there is a treatment. I was given a prescription and with just one pill a day my sense of smell was dulled almost to the point of not being able to smell anything and all my headaches and pains went away. After beginning the prescription, my whole life changed for the better. I went from being in pain all the time to being normal. I could make it through a school day. I could go places and to friends’ houses. It was literally life-changing.
It could be kind of a bummer having virtually no sense of smell, but no ability to smell certainly beat the extremes that I had experienced before the prescription. Several years went by and it just became normal to take a pill every morning and never really smell anything. One summer week with my best friend things changed.
I played baseball and ran Cross-Country with David, my best friend. We were in our senior year, 18, and both varsity. The summer of 2004 my parents were going abroad and they arranged for me to stay at David’s house because they were worried I’d throw a party if they left me home alone, even though I was technically an adult at 18.. We stayed at each other’s house all the time, I figured this time wouldn’t be any different.
I noticed a change in my ability to smell on day 3. I immediately realized I had not taken my prescription in 2 days and I didn’t have it with me. I drove to my vacant house, but it was not there either. I must have misplaced it when packing. I looked everywhere and couldn’t find it. I couldn’t reach my parents. I went back to David’s and told him I’m not sure what to do.
“It’s a pill to stop you from smelling stuff. It can’t be that big of a deal.” David said.
“You don’t understand. When I was kid, the smells would be so unbearable I’d have migraines. My body would physically hurt. It isn’t just that I have incredible super smelling – my brain interprets the smells in a way that affects my sense of touch.” I tried to explain.
“It has been years, right? How do you know you still have a problem? Maybe you remember it worse than it was. Either way, you have like 5 days left before your parents can get you another prescription.” David reasoned.
“I guess you’re right. If it starts to get bad maybe I can explain to your parents I’ll have to stay at home for the last few days because I think my parents still try to keep the house void of the bad smells. I can already tell my sense of smell is coming back. I can smell your shampoo from here.” I said with a grimace.
“That’s the good stuff!” David said.
“No, you don’t understand. Artificial scents are the worst. They are the ones that cause me pain. On the flip side though, earthy scents cause me to feel comfort.” I explained.
“Let me get this straight, it would be better for you if I smelled like dirt than soap?” He asked seeming somewhat interested.
“Correct! All detergent, soap, cleaners, etc. are very painful – natural scents that are muted are kind of neutral to me – natural scents that are described as like earthy, woody, musky, umami, etc. cause me to feel physical pleasure.” I really needed Ankara escort him to understand this.
“Pleasure? Like how?” Dave becoming increasingly interested.
“It’s hard to explain. It would feel like my insides being tickled maybe.” I was straining to think back years and put an abstract into concrete words.
“Like cumming?” David asked and he gave me a super weird look. “Imagine smelling dirt and you get the feeling of jerking off but you don’t have to actually jerk off or cum or anything. You just get the sensation with none of the other parts?!” He was super excited.
“You’re fucked up man. It’s not like that and even if it were, I wouldn’t want that.” I said.
“Please. Do it for me. I just want to know. I’ll rid my room of all smells that will cause you pain. I’ll stop showering with soap. I’ll do everything I can for you. Then you smell some dirt or leaves or whatever and tell me if it makes you want to blow a load. It’s for science. Then your parents get back and you’re all back to normal.” Dave said.
“I don’t have much of a choice I guess, but you’re going to be very disappointed.” I chuckled. Truth was though, I didn’t know and David had me wondering. My sense of smell was growing by the minute it seemed like. If I focused, I felt like I could smell 100 things in his room that I couldn’t when I woke up that morning.
An hour later we were still going through things in his room and the connected bathroom. He had already removed all the cleaners from under the bathroom sink, the soap in the shower and at the sink, the shampoo, and the mouthwash. Not just the toothpaste, but also his toothbrush had to go – I could smell it from across the room and the minty smell wreaked havoc with me. Luckily, since my teen friend was the only one who used that bathroom and was in charge of cleaning it – it most certainly was not kept in the cleanest state and there were no strong traces of cleaning agents from any recent scrubbing.
We had stripped the sheets and blankets from his bed and hung them up outside to try to get the detergent and fabric softener scents out before nightfall. We did the same with his futon mattress in his room which is what I usually slept on when staying the night at his house. We carried his chest of drawers out into the den because the scent from the detergents in his drawers of clean clothes was like a concentrated scent explosion to me. The few minutes it took to move the chest of drawers was almost too much to bear. “Are you okay,” he asked me as we returned to his room.
My eyes had filled with tears, being so close to all his clean clothes for a few minutes was horrific. “Dude, I think I am back to like full sense of smell and just those few minutes with that much of a detergent smell is literally like knives to my brain, eyes, and like everywhere really. I am not going to make it. I think I might have to go to the hospital and they will see my medical history and get me my prescription.” Just then my knees started to give out. I got dizzy and went down to the floor. I could feel myself start to shake. The pain was excruciating.
I could hear the fear in David’s voice. “Calm down, try to focus and clear your nose. Can you pinpoint a scent that helps? Like something in the room that has the good effect and focus on it? I’ll text my dad to let him know we’re going to the hospital – can you hear me?!”
I opened my eyes. “There! Take off your shoes!” I screamed at David.
“I called 911. I think you like passed out for like 20 seconds. Listen to me, you’re going to be fine. Just keep breathing. 911 is on the line and they said to just keep breathing and stay calm.”
David was kneeling on the floor beside me, I could smell something amazing and I was trying to hone in on it. “Take off your shoes.” I yelled while reaching toward his feet.
“Stay calm J. They are on the way.” He said back to me clearly just in a state of freaked out and not really listening to me.
“I am calm, David. I’m getting better. Listen to me, give me your shoes.” I said finally making eye contact with him through my watery eyes. He finally understood me.
“Yeah. Yeah whatever helps man.” David said as he pried the Nike high top off not bothering to untie the old shoe he mostly wore around the house for chores.
I snatched it from him and buried my face into the shoe. I fully inhaled with all my might. It was the best smelling thing I could even remembering ever smelling. “Oh fuck!” I screamed. I can’t describe how fucked up the feeling was going from excruciating pain to almost complete euphoria. My body began to shake again but this time it felt good. “Thanks David. I am good. It is so good.” I said into the shoe, not bothering to look up at him. I could hear sirens – the paramedics were pulling up front. I sat up keeping the entrance to the shoe tightly sealed around my nose and mouth. I slid it down far enough to be able to see in front of me and there was my lifelong best ankara olgun escort friend with the most bewildered look I could ever imagine. The struggle his brain was having trying to reconcile how his old, smelly shoe was saving my life had smoke pouring from his ears.
David’s dad along with 2 paramedics walked into the room and were obviously confused as well. I was holding the shoe to my face and held up my free hand in a stop motion to keep everyone back. “Stop. Stop walking toward me. Listen to me. I have a condition called hyperosmia and my brain does not interpret the smells correctly. I have been off my medication for three days. I know this looks messed up, but the smell of this shoe drowns out the smells that, for lack of a better way of putting it, I am allergic to. Detergents, soaps, fake fruit scents, things like that destroy me. I need to get my prescription and I’ll be fine, but I can’t get ahold of my parents in Europe. So, is there anyway you can just call my doctor, have him call in my prescription as an emergency? I don’t need to go to the hospital now. I have it under control right now, I am just afraid to remove the shoe until I get my prescription.” I explained – I thought it all sounded perfectly reasonable.
One of the paramedics introduced himself and said, he was worried that I might go into anaphylactic shock if I am that allergic and thought it best to take me to the hospital. He began approaching me, “No. Stop!” I yelled through the shoe. If you have on strong deodorant or some other scent – you’ll mess me up. Just stay back for now. I have it under control. Can you just call my doctor and figure out how to get my prescription?”
“This is a completely new one for me.” He laughed. Everyone seemed to be pretty calm and seeing the levity in the situation where I had to hold a shoe to my face. “Let me call my supervisor and see what we should do.”
“How are you right now?” David’s dad asked with an amused kind of concern in his voice.
“I actually feel perfectly good right now. I am just afraid to remove the shoe with all of you in the room. I know David is fine because we were preparing for this basically all day. I just didn’t know it would get this bad or I guess I would have tried to get my prescription earlier.” I said kind of hiding the idea that David and I had about purposefully not getting it to see how I would react to the good scents.
The paramedic returned, “I talked to my supervisor – we cannot stress enough that we think you should go to the hospital.”
“You have to say that for liability reasons.” David’s dad interjected. “It seems to me that we just need to get the prescription. This is not a life threatening emergency unless we take him out of this room, then put him in the hospital room that smells like disinfectant which will trigger the reaction. Why put him through that?”
“I agree with you completely, but I would argue that something here could trigger a reaction and there won’t be doctors or nurses here to intubate him or help him breathe like there is at the hospital.” The paramedic replied.
“I understand, but he is fine now. We can isolate him in this room, they have already made the bathroom there a place he can be in. He’ll be okay here until we can get him his prescription, then everything is back to normal.” David’s dad said.
“I can’t force him to go the hospital, I can only recommend it in the strongest possible way. Also, as much as I wish we could help – we can’t fill a prescription.”
“Can you just wait here while I call his doctor’s office in case they want to talk to you.” David’s dad asked, but before the paramedic answered he looked to me, “What is your doctor’s name?”
I told him and gave him the name of my prescription. He left the room to go look up the doctor’s number – I didn’t know that off the top of my head and this was a couple years before smart phones. The lead paramedic followed him and the other just stood in the corner of the room further from me, by the door, looking at me curiously. David had moved away from me and was standing by the door too. “You can be honest, is this whole thing for real?” The paramedic asked us.
“Yes. I have had the disease for my whole life, but this is the first time since my diagnosis that I have ever been off the prescription. I had no idea it would be like this. It is worse than I remember.” I said, still speaking through my best friend’s shoe.
“Well, it isn’t uncommon for things to have a rebound effect. Like when you take pain medication for a long time, things hurt more when you stop taking it. It could be that it is much worse right now because you have been medicated for so long – your body is having an extreme reaction to not receiving the medication that it has received for literally years. But, I have never heard of this. You aren’t pulling a prank?” He asked.
“No sir. I can’t describe the pain I feel when it hits. My overall ankara ucuz escort condition, hyperosmia, is not super rare, although definitely not normal – but mine is coupled with some bad wiring that causes my brain to misinterpret the smells with other senses causing a physical reaction.” I explained, again.
“Man that sounds terrible – does it work the other way? Is there a scent that makes you feel…uh, pleasure?” He asked.
David and I immediately locked eyes. We gave it away immediately. “Well, yes when I was younger some were defined but I don’t know what they are now.” I replied. “The shoe just seems to block out everything.” I quickly added.
“That is just wild man” the paramedic said still looking at me as if I was the most interesting thing he had ever seen. I guess I can understand the weirdness of a situation in which someone refuses to remove their friend’s old shoe from their face.
The other paramedic and David’s dad returned, “All is on the right path JD. We spoke to your doctor’s office. They are calling in a prescription in the next hour and I’ll go pick it up. You’ll just need to hang out in here for a couple more hours.”
The lead paramedic jumped back in. “Well, you will want to be very careful still. It may take several hours after resuming the medication for it to take effect. You might plan to hole up in here for a day or two. Also, I don’t think you should be alone at any point in case you have a reaction. Please call us at the sign of any trouble. If you stop breathing, it only takes about 3 minutes before your brain starts dying from lack of oxygen, so call immediately at any sign of distress. You understand?”
“Absolutely. Thank you guys very much.” I replied and David muttered a thanks too.
They filed out with David’s dad talking about how they need a signature for refusal to transport. David’s dad abruptly turned and looked at David, “Don’t you dare leave him alone for even a second. If he needs to piss, you hold it for him. Understand?” I had never heard that tone from any person in my life. It was so direct and just coated in authority.
Almost imperceptibly David stood straighter, “Yes sir.” He replied, also with complete sincerity.
“You’re going to be just fine, JD. We’ll take care of you. You’re a strong young man. I’ve known you your whole life – I think of you as pretty much David’s brother and one of my own. If anything, between the two of you; I like you more.” He said with that dad joke voice and he gave me a nice smile.
“I really appreciate it. I’m not worried at all. I know it’s all going to be fine. Thanks for taking care of all this.”
“You bet. I’ll be back in a few hours with the prescription. I know it is better for you to keep the door closed and not to have different smells and things. So, I’m not coming back in and I’ll keep out David’s mom too. David, keep the cordless phone in your pocket and you heard the medic, call 911 immediately if anything happens and then you call me. Take care boys.” He closed the door behind him. David and I locked eyes.
“Dude, I am so sorry. I feel like this is all my fault.” David started immediately. I am not sure but it almost sounded like he was on the verge of crying or something. “I was so scared. I thought I killed you. All these years, I never really thought your smell thing was that big of a deal. I guess I just thought of it as like allergies or something.”
“I don’t blame you. I was scared and I can’t describe the pain, but there is something else.” I said still sitting on the floor, leaning against the wall with my knees up to my chest.
“What? What else?” David asked with concern.
“You were right. I don’t really know how to say this, but I wasn’t completely truthful. The shoe doesn’t just block the negative scents; it makes me feel amazing. Much like it is difficult to describe the pain, it is twice as hard to describe the pleasure it brings. My whole body tingles. I was trying to hide it from everyone.” I said letting him hear the happiness in my voice.
“What? You are like getting off on the smell of my old shoe?” He asked, his tone was kind of accusatory.
“Don’t freak out. Can I tell you something without you freaking out? You promise?” I asked.
“Yeah, for sure.”
It hit me really hard what I was about to admit to my best friend. I was scared as shit at what he was going to think of me, “I um, I came. Like the first 5 seconds of your shoe on my face, it was overwhelming and I just started cumming. In my pants. I didn’t want to move with everyone in here. I need to go to the bathroom and get, you know, like cleaned up and change my clothes. Please don’t freak out. It’s not a gay thing.”
He stared. “You’re fucking with me.”
“No man.” I stood up and pulled the top band of my athletic shorts and boxer briefs down about 3 inches exposing the top of my pubes. Pubes coated in gobs of cum. “See. Please don’t freak out.”
“Holy shit J. I mean, holy fucking shit.” Don’t teen boys love to cuss.
“I’m going to get cleaned up.” I grabbed my gym bag with the clothes I packed for staying the night and walked past a frozen David to the bathroom, shoe still on my face. “I’ll be back in a minute.”
“Hey. I gotta go with you.” David said, snapping out of whatever thought he was in moments ago.”
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