This is easily the strangest and most anxiety inducing symptom of Covid. When I look back, I can see signs that my taste and smell were changing in the week leading up to my positive test. This alone makes me wonder when I was contagious and perhaps spreading the virus. Thankfully, we didn’t go many places anyway.
The first day I definitely noticed my taste and smell was gone was four days after I tested, so August 28. I went to eat something, and poof, all sensation was gone. It was a complete void. At this stage of the loss of taste and smell it was the most jarring. It was truly as though the senses didn’t exist. I would be hungry, but when you cannot taste or smell food it doesn’t bring much pleasure.
That stage lasted for about 10-14 days and then I started have phantom tastes and smells. Things would sneak through. I might catch a whiff of something, but I wasn’t even sure I was smelling something in the room. I might taste the salt on a chip but not the chip itself. This also did not happen all the time, but just on occasion. I would get excited that the sensations were coming back only to realize they weren’t.
Today, I am two months out from my positive test and I still don’t have my taste and smell back. As of now, I have moments where I might mildly taste something that I eat. The seizure medicine I am on takes away my appetite so I am not hungry anyway. It seems the sense of taste is returning just incredibly slowly. Strangely, I spend a lot of my day with the phantom taste of citrus. I like oranges so that is fine, but it is so strong I actually asked my husband if my mouth smells like orange. It does not.
My sense of smell on the other hand is maddening. I can’t really smell anything. Or what I am smelling is not at all what is around me. In the last week I have started having the phantom smell of perfume about 3-4 times a day for extended periods of time. I don’t really like cologne or perfume so this is torture. It is powerful and feels like it’s imbedded in my sinuses. I constantly blow my nose hoping it will go away and it doesn’t. Sometimes it is so strong my eyes water. Thankfully, it comes and goes, but the idea that I am smelling perfume is so bizarre to me. Sometimes Covid’s behavior feels like a personal torture chamber.