March 30, 2021

S2:E5 Gemma I Parosmia V: Phantom Smells of Smoke


We round out our Parosmia Series with Gemma who experiences parosmia and it's equally evil twin: phantosmia. For those who don't know, phantosmia is an olfactory hallucination that makes you smell things that aren't there. For Gemma it's a persistent smell of cigarette smoke (which was one of her least favorite smells to begin with). It makes mealtime unbearable and alienates her from sharing that time with her beautiful family. However, she's brilliant at turning lemons into lemonade: when she first tested positive for Covid, she made a public facebook post of her symptoms to help other people recognize the virus in themselves. Fortunately she was able to prevent friends from sharing the virus with vulnerable family members! She wrote to us after spoke to her, "I also had messages from 2 lovely ladies from Florida and Georgia asking for advise. I was glad something positive came out of me catching the virus and sharing my symptoms to help others. I was surprised my post reached america from england." It's nice to see social media helping others in a time like this. 

Transcript
Caroline Amos:

Hi, I'm Carolyn Amos.

Raymond McAnally:

And I'm Raymond mcanally.

Caroline Amos:

And we are

Caroline Raymond:

Fatigued (laughter)

Raymond McAnally:

Hi, Gemma.

Gemma:

Hi!

Raymond McAnally:

Where in the UK are you?

Gemma:

So, I was saying, I live in a place called Somerset. It's about three hours away from London. But it's just like a little, little small town. But I've lived at home all my life. It's okay (laughter). It's pretty quiet, it's nice. I'm a bit of a country bumpkin. So my partner, he would love to live in New York. We have New York all over our house. He wants, you know, he goes, well, I want a New York duvet cover and I was like, no, that's too much! (laughter).

Caroline Amos:

So Gemma, you are part of our Parosmia Series, which means that you are currently afflicted and dealing with parosmia or phantasma? Which one do you have?

Gemma:

I have both.

Caroline Amos:

Do you know how you caught the nasty nasty Rona?

Gemma:

I do. Yes. Yeah, I know exactly where it came from same as yourself. And I know where it came from. So yeah, it was easy to it was quite good that I did because you can kind of trace it back and then make sure that you haven't affected anybody else. So yeah, and I was quite hot on it. When I had the symptoms. I was quick, thank goodness because I saved a lot of other people. And being in my job, I work in a close contact job. It was always a risk. And I was very nervous about because we've been done. We've had like three lockdowns in England, or in this part of England anyway. And you know, I was quite scared about returning after the first lockdown back to my job because of being close contact. I was so nervous about catching Coronavirus. Anyway. So it was a big decision to go and do it and be that close to other people. So, you know, I knew it was gonna possibly be inevitable.

Raymond McAnally:

So when did you have it?

Gemma:

So I had it. So my first kind of symptoms, the you know, they give you the three main symptoms of the loss of taste and smell, fever and the other one?

Caroline Amos:

Fatigue?

Gemma:

I can't come up with it - I have serious, serious COVID brain even today.

Raymond McAnally:

That's that is a very real thing.

Caroline Amos:

Yeah.

Gemma:

It is! And I just can't sometimes I can't think of anything because it's there and it's gone. But I also prior to COVID brain, I did suffer with what I like to call brain farts (laughter). I do stuff with a lot of brain farts. So this on top just makes me just terrible. So yeah, apart from having those symptoms, my first actual symptoms was the loss of taste and smell, and that was on the 16th of October 2020.

Caroline Raymond:

Okay.

Caroline Amos:

And how long were you sick? How long did it last for you?

Gemma:

Um, initially, the the virus itself, I felt quite poorly for maybe a couple of weeks. But I didn't return to work for about a month and even after then, I was still very unwell. But I had to kind of get on with life. So I just kind of sucked it up and and just got on with it really but it was difficult. It took a while and I'm also asthmatic, so it really affected my chest quite a lot.

Caroline Amos:

Yeah, it'll do that.

Raymond McAnally:

Did you have respiratory issues?

Gemma:

I did. But they weren't extreme. I was very lucky. I remember one. The whole Coronavirus thing was kind of out there. And I said to him, I was really really scared. And I said to my partner, and you know, God, I asthmatic and I'm really worried about catching because I think it's gonna kill me. I'm gonna be dead. You know, I was that scared about getting it? And I think that's why I was so scared about going back to work. And so, yeah, so when I actually got it, it did, it did go on my chest, but I didn't need to go to hospital or anything like that. I just kind of needed to up my inhalers a little bit just to kind of take the pressure off my chest. But yeah, it wasn't nice, but it wasn't. I could deal with it. You know what I mean?

Raymond McAnally:

So did your husband have it as well?

Gemma:

Yes, he did. Um, he never he never went and got tested because we were already in isolation. And we had to kind of lockdown for 14 days. There was it was kind of like no point and he's a bit of a wimp to be honest. So he didn't really want to go through the whole thing again.

Raymond McAnally:

It's on record now (laughter).

Gemma:

(Laughing) It is, I hope he won't listen to this.

Caroline Amos:

(Laughing) Oh my god.

Gemma:

Um, but yes, so he never got tested, but his symptoms were all the same as mine. And, you know, with the time period of where I caught it from to when I had my symptoms to when he caught it from and had his symptoms they were exactly the same. His wasn't as bad as mine. I don't know if that's because I am I was more at risk of having a worse bout of it, I don't know. Or whether he was just lucky I I'm not sure but he was poorly but he got over a lot quicker than I did.

Raymond McAnally:

Wow.

Caroline Amos:

Got it, now is he suffering from any of the parosmia or phantosmia that you're going through now?

Gemma:

He made a full recovery yeah full recovery, he has no problems whatsoever lucky yeah you know especially that he caught it from me it's like you know you kind of quote the same one off me and you know and it also was difficult being in the home to try and isolate you know like I said it was me there's a warehouse of five how do I cut myself off from the family when I've got a one year old i know he was like 18 months and I think i'd only just got breastfeed in three months prior to that. So you know my baby needed me so I couldn't it was really it was a difficult decision I thought my god I'm going to have to have this illness and have this chance that I'm going to affect my my you know my new one year old and the rest of my family it was a really difficult decision but we have no choice you know we had to just take that risk unfortunately.

Raymond McAnally:

your one year old did they exhibit any symptoms or

Gemma:

um he, I wouldn't say he had symptoms but he was under the weather. He did seem a little bit poorly but nothing that would have concerned me to get medical help when he just seemed a bit under the weather so we just kind of kept him topped up with some you know child medication and he was fine and even watching him now especially with myself so from my parosmia i would kept an eye on him with this foods make sure he wasn't going off stuff if it was tasting or to him. He's eating absolutely fine. I mean he's an absolute pig to be honest though. He loves his food bless him so we still good so. I think yeah he didn't really have any serious side effects, so he was, if he did catch the virus okay. (Music)

Caroline Amos:

i am so interested to know because you are you were the first person we've spoken to as phantasmia -

Gemma:

Yeah.

Caroline Amos:

I think i logically understand the difference between them but as somebody that is experiencing both could you detail the differences of both of them for us?

Gemma:

Yeah well obviously with parosmia. I wouldn't say it's a real thing because they're both very real but with the phantosmia it is a phantom smell that you can smell as real as the smell is there you know/ And it is such an odd odd sense because my my phatosmia it is a overwhelming smell of cigarette smoke. I've never smoked it yeah it's really weird. I've never smoked in my life and if you ask anyone the smell i hate most in the world is cigarettes. I cannot stand the smell so you know to have that was just like torture. It's been -

Raymond McAnally:

Right? Why can't it be hot cocoa or really good coffee?

Caroline Amos:

Yeah

Gemma:

Yeah, something nice. Yeah lovely! But no, I got cigarette smoke!

Caroline Amos:

Oh no, I hate that that dice was rolled for you. Is something that you smell all the time?

Gemma:

It was. I'm kind of recovering slightly from it now i'm getting having breaks from it but from it was weird because I mean I never knew the technical terms for what I'm having. This was all new to me. I know that obviously with a cold or a virus you can lose your sense of taste and smell but knowing that it was called anosmia was something that i researched and found myself. So when I got to kind of researching what I was going through because there's no help out there. There's no one can tell you what it is i kind of was you know a loss and and I just thought I really need to research this and see what's going on because I felt like I was going mad. I was like this can't be this can't be real i must be making this up you know so i was so confused so i kind of researched it and found and i come across Chrissi Kelly on youtube actually and that's where i kind of it all escalated from there where i've got you know all the information i need so when it came to fantasize me i kind of thought now i can smell this but i don't want to tell people because i think i've gone mad but then...

Raymond McAnally:

Hold on I just want to pause for a second.

Gemma:

Yeah

Raymond McAnally:

When that first hit because you had loss of taste and smell and then did parosmia start before phantosmia?

Gemma:

Ah no so I had the loss of taste and smell. At the exact same time I could smell cigarettes smoke, but it was it first it was quite faint, but I had that from day one. Before I even knew I tested positive I was like, I can smell cigarette smoke, but I don't know.

Raymond McAnally:

So that was pretty much your first symptom.

Unknown:

Yeah.

Caroline Amos:

WHOA.

Gemma:

Yeah. really old, but I just kind of disregarded it because I couldn't. I couldn't rationalize what was going on. I just -

Raymond McAnally:

Yeah. Were you looking around for the source or wondering if your husband had started smoking? (laughing) Or maybe your one year old? (laughter)

Gemma:

could you imagine (laughing). Like my partner he used to smoke but he vapes now like a lot of people do. And so I thought, Yeah, I did. I think mine the most scariest point with the phantosmia I kept saying to my partner kept saying to my daughter as well as I got I can smell smoke it can someone check the houses on fire. I honestly thought that there was a fire and house and I searched my house high and low for this fire that I thought was going on. And I was I bet Yeah, I was scared for like, you know, can I kept saying, Can you not smell that smoke? They're like, no, there's no smoke. And I was like, No, seriously, I can smell smoke. The house is on fire. And we need to check everywhere. So yeah, it was really odd.

Caroline Amos:

Wow, that's scary. Yeah, definitely scary.

Gemma:

Yeah, they got a bit fed up mini and click caps. I noticed some fire. They were like, there's not!

Raymond McAnally:

So how is that - Oh, sorry.

Caroline Amos:

No, I was just gonna say it makes you wonder like, like, is your is your scent impacted enough to the point where if there actually is a fire, would you be able to smell it? Would you be able to recognize it? And that's definitely, you know, that's, that's a scary situation. Thank God you live with for the people.

Gemma:

Yes. And that is exactly what I said. Because I think, you know, that was scary in itself. But I had everyone reassuring me that there wasn't a fire and that it was okay. But I also noticed was we have a gas cooker. That with the gas cooker, I couldn't smell the gas. And even to this day, I still can't smell that gas. And that they always shout them if I'm cooking dinner. And they are they'll say like mom that can smell gas, I'm like Oh Christ. And I'll go out there and the gas, the gas would have gone off. But we've still been going on. And that's when the smell comes out. And I can't smell it. So I have to make sure that I cook when people were here because, you know, god forbid something happens.

Raymond McAnally:

Yeah, long before I knew enough about this for you know, either one of us did to do this series I saw on one of the COVID support group message boards on Facebook, someone had posted a warning to other COVID patients saying, look, we had a gas leak in our house. And thank goodness, somebody came over to bring me groceries because they were quarantining and she had lost taste and smell she could not she had no idea that this gas leak was happening. And thank goodness, the person who was dropping off food came inside just long enough.

Caroline Amos:

That's terrifying.

Gemma:

And that is really scary.

Raymond McAnally:

And so she was like, I had never thought about that being such a danger.

Gemma:

Yeah, I know. And that's the whole thing with this virus. It is almost like it tricks you, you know, to believe in things like Like I said, with my phantosmia you know, I can I can smell that cigarette is clear as if someone had a cigarette. And not only with that, like said, it's the fear of like, what else am I missing out on here? Because I've been tricked by this smell that's not here, but the real smells are there and you can't smell them. So it's very dangerous.

Raymond McAnally:

Yeah, so how does this mix with parosmia? when when when did you start to be able to tell the distinction between the two?

Gemma:

Um, because I think after about how many is that? Maybe a couple of months after I remember tasting my Christmas dinner, which I was really really happy about. I was literally I mean, I spent many a day crying over what I'm going through because it is just horrendous. And I kept saying as the months are, you know, got it in October, November. I still couldn't really taste well. few little things came back but nothing that was you know, you know, significant. And I said to my partner, Please let me taste my Christmas dinner. I was praying I could taste my Christmas dinner. So by December it did come back enough for me to taste my Christmas and and enjoy it. So at that point in everything tastes the same. But I had obviously the smell of cigarette that was you know, there still which was really really I felt controlling my life massively. And it was hard to hide as well from other people because no one it's there I would fan it out of my face. And people that What are you doing? Cigarette smoke,

Raymond McAnally:

It's that strong? It's that present? It's like somebody just blew smoke in your face?

Gemma:

Yeah, I was. I probably threw up twice. It was that strong.

Caroline Amos:

have you considered that you might have a ghost haunting you that smokes cigarettes, I'm just - i'm just asked? (laughter)

Gemma:

Well we do have a ghost at our house actually.

Raymond McAnally:

I love England

Gemma:

Actually, his name is Raymond! (laughter)

Raymond McAnally:

It's me, from the future. (laughter)

Gemma:

It is yeah absolutely. So we do have him and he's played a few tricks on me but no he i don't think he smokes. I've never smelled smoke before but it was the thing that kind of crossed my mind i thought maybe that's a spirit and blowing it my way but this was so real it was almost like that i could almost sense the cigarette and i could sense the smoke and it was like holding it under my nose and the smells so strong and like i said i could almost sense my eyes use the water because i could sense smoke in my eyes it was the most oddest experience i'd ever gone through. And that lasted until about i would say about a month ago it was strong.

Raymond McAnally:

So for about four months?

Gemma:

Mhm, it was 24/7 like i said when it when it was at its strongest i did go to the toilet and throw up because it i couldn't stand the smell it was nauseating. So yeah i would i've been sick so in night time to get sleep what i done was got some of my essential oils that had my smell training and put them on my on my pajama top. So i had the strongest smell trying to counteract out the smoke so i could sleep yeah i got to a point where i needed i needed help i needed to try and help myself get through this because no one believed me and everyone says jeremy no it's nothing can so it was kind of like i need to really help myself because i was feeling so low and so upset about what was going on and i was also so confused because i've never experienced this in my life ever. So i kind of looked for self help and that's when i came across Abscent which was on youtube and then i watched Chrissi do a smell training kind of little step by step guide how to do it and i thought you know what i got to lose that just go and give it a whirl. So i've done that and then i come across the facebook groups and they have been an absolute lifeline.

Caroline Amos:

Where are you in your recovery process today? How do you feel today on March 21st?

Gemma:

today i would actually say is probably one of my bad days with parosmia especially, yeah. It's really odd because on thursday i had a really good day and it was almost like my senses had changed again and you know they're forever changing and sunday to have good days and bad days but thursday had a really good day and i actually ate something that haven't eaten for two months.

Caroline Amos:

What was that something?

Gemma:

It was you call them potato chips we call them crisps.

Caroline Amos:

Crisps Yeah!

Gemma:

So so salt and vinegar crisps!

Caroline Amos:

Oh it's the best one i love salt and vinegar too.

Gemma:

The thing is because i've been eating so much bland food it was like a taste explosion in my mouth. I actually had like salt vinegar sweats (laughter) and it was but they tasted amazing but then i literally woke up the next day um and my parosmia was getting worse and then by today is i think no last night was the yesterday was quite bad i don't even what do i say. It's saturday now and then yeah today i just i've not even been able to stomach much to eat today at all when i'm limited as it is with my pearls mia so yeah it's weird i've almost i'm smelling things that i couldn't smell for which is amazing and i was quite hopeful on thursday when i had a really good day the best day i had in two months of having parosmia and then today it's just it's just gone ever so weird but on the flip side of having a good day on thursday my phantosmia was heightened. So the cigarette smell had came back but like i said before it was 24 seven in the last you know month or so it's i can kind of get like a week break from the smell which is amazing for me!

Caroline Amos:

Wow, some progress.

Gemma:

Yeah so i'm hoping is that that's that's a sign of that kind of side of my phantosmia recovering i hope.

Raymond McAnally:

With your parosmia is it - you've talked about good and bad days - are you because parosmia things don't don't taste the way they're supposed to taste but you can taste something...

Gemma:

Yeah but something is not nice (laughter)

Raymond McAnally:

Yeah it's what we understand.

Gemma:

So the question you asked earlier was obviously the difference between fun tells me and pulls me up surprise me with me it's like the smells and tastes are completely distorted and they smell disgusting, but with phantomsia is it your Phantom smell that's not really there. Whatever's going in my head on in my head I don't know why smell that but with the Phantosmia or with the Parosmia yeah it's definitely that this distinctive disgusting smell to certain way.

Raymond McAnally:

And a note to your husband. Other people we've interviewed about parosmia compare that smell to New York in the summer. The garbage on the street.

Caroline Amos:

Yes

Raymond McAnally:

The subway so just just so he knows I don't know when he's visited but it's not all roses and yeah, wonderful urban hustle.

Caroline Amos:

Yeah, I invite him to come hang out on a on a street corner on garbage day in the middle of July because that's what parosmia smells like to a lot of people.

Raymond McAnally:

Apparently, I mean truly comparison we've had almost every episode every conversation.

Gemma:

Really!? Well for us in the UK I relate to it as sewage so we get days where especially in the summer when we class our sewers to we call them you know, we smell it we're like Christ the sewers are up today. And it's that just yeah, that horrible poopy smell you know, so yeah, I kind of definitely relate to that as all as it's weird because it kind of it's not exactly like sewage but to relate to something. That's exactly what it is that really horrible sewage gross smell.

Raymond McAnally:

And so when a good day is that is that lessened and you can taste things the way that you remember them tasting? What is a good day?

Gemma:

Yeah. Um, yeah, so good day would be that it's not as stinky. Um, so you know, yeah, so good day is like, say today, even though it's a bad day for me today with my parosmia. For instance, US and UK. We love a good Sunday roast on Sundays. So I cooked to the family obviously not myself. I cooked the family a roast dinner today. And normally, especially cooking like chicken or anything else that's meat meat based, I will either have to leave the house, because it smells that bad. Or, but today, it was one of my cooked chicken. And I was like, okay, that smells but I can stay in the kitchen and I can continue cooking this. So that is a good thing for me. And I'm hoping that's again, another sign of my recovery with parosmia is that it is lessened. But I'm finding my safe foods today particularly are not tasting as nice as they were on, you know, take for instance a few days ago.

Caroline Amos:

On salt, salt and vinegar chip day. Yes.

Gemma:

Yeah, I definitely. I tried. I tried next day I was lik yeah, crisps are back on the menu. And I was like, I tried in the packet crisp. And I nearly threw up. I was like, No, they'll say I had one good day and nobody else came over.

Caroline Amos:

But I think that it is a sign of good things to come. Because I mean -

Gemma:

I hope so! Y

Caroline Amos:

Yeah, you take three steps forward, you take two steps back, you know.

Raymond McAnally:

I'm really really reminds me of that conversation that we had with Chrissi in Episode Three of this series that one of the things that stuck with Caroline and I both after that interview was her comparison of what you're going through to an injury. And that the smell training and the way you get back some semblance of normalcy is, is more like physical therapy.

Gemma:

Yes, absolutely.

Raymond McAnally:

You know, so it's not linear, you don't just all of a sudden get your taste and smell back and you're good that it's it's recovering from an injury your body has been.

Gemma:

That's totally exactly how it is. And I in my head, I kind of you know, I had to kind of prepare myself for you know, you may never get over this, it may never be 100% again, but I need to get to a point where I am happy with what I've got to have continued to have a normal life without this controlling my life. You know, some people on the especially on the support groups on Facebook, some of the long haulers they have made, you know, some of them said, Yeah, I've made a full recovery. I'm fine. Now I might have took a year but I'm okay. And some are just kind of like, you know, it's it's okay, some days and still bad. So, you know, I prepared myself well. Maybe Maybe not making a full recovery? I'm not sure. So only time will tell, as they say.

Caroline Amos:

Yeah. Besides the Facebook groups and hearing about other people recovering. What else what else gives you hope right now, what's getting you through this?

Gemma:

Um, good friends. It's difficult to find the support, especially when you're having, you know, a bad day. Because nobody truly understands if you know, they can sympathize with you, but they truly, you know, they don't truly understand what you're going through. And most of them, you know, especially if I say to them, you know, God know what you cook in that stinks. And they'll be like well, and that you're explained to them and that I find that most people just laugh because it's so odd and I don't think they know how to react so they just they just kind of laugh it off but it's very frustrating so yeah i think having finding the right support network within your friends and family is is you know paramount really because that's what gives me i think that's the kind of hope i hold on to is the you know that the support that you can find is the best thing and just that you know there's light at the end of the tunnel maybe in hope that you know we'll get over this one day be a year or two i will eventually get over it.

Caroline Amos:

Well we believe in you.

Gemma:

Thank you!

Caroline Amos:

I think we're hoping and praying and crossing our fingers for all of you guys still suffering from this.

Raymond McAnally:

It sounds like you have found that support through different means and yeah because i can only imagine i mean to everyone else around you this is all phantosmia this is all smells that aren't there they don't know what what in the world you're reacting to so to be able to talk to at least a few people who've either experienced it or could imagine what you're going through could empathize yeah that's that's incredibly important.

Gemma:

It is is it you know and unfortunately you know it's not you don't if you're looking for you and get it everywhere there are a lot of people that just you know don't give you the support and you know it can't use you've got that other side to it as well where you know and it's so frustrating but i just kind of go to the people i know i can trust you know unfortunate it's not you know even with my families kind of cause a bit of a divide because i don't want to believe it's true when they're scared i don't know but yeah i think my main family with my partner my children they're very understanding but also they're kind of living through it as well because you know my partner said to me goes god i feel like i've got it because i have to see you go through it and missing out on certain things like mealtimes i just sit there and watch their meal and it's rubbish and i feel very very lonely in my own home

Caroline Amos:

God i'm so sorry

Raymond McAnally:

I'm so sorry

Gemma:

I know, it's fine you know i just knew i can't you know i don't want them i don't want them to go for i don't want them not to enjoy food but yeah i just i go to them and I'm like what does it taste like just tell me what it tastes like? (laughs)

Raymond McAnally:

What was christmas dinner the like what were some of the foods that - did anything taste good?

Gemma:

Yeah i mean it all tasted good it was just very kind of how i would class like a diluted flavor to it so you know i kind of got that hint of flavor to it and it was good enough for me it did everything tasted amazing not nothing really tasted bad because it didn't hit until two months ago so i kind of got to december and then by the end of january so literally a month after christmas pearls mia started to creep up on me and start to get worse and worse as the as the time has gone on and i'm at a point where obviously it's not it's not good at all at the moment probably its worse.

Raymond McAnally:

Interesting because yeah you're not the first person to tell us that there was a there was a recovery of taste and smell back to normal and then parosmia hit.

Gemma:

Yeah

Raymond McAnally:

What - i'm just curious alright so what are the - to talk about good things about food for a second - what are your favorite Christmas dishes? I wonder if we have a lot of the same in America as the UK.

Caroline Amos:

Mmmmm yes.

Gemma:

Well that we have i mean we normally have turkey for our Christmas meat but i don't personally like turkey it's like

Raymond McAnally:

I know you like gravy. one of those things it's tradition traditional to have a turkey i've never actually really liked turkey so when i kind of you know moved out from home from my mom and had my own place i was like right we're not having turkey i didn't like it ( aughter) I broke tradition i'm sure she'd be extremely disappo nted to me but nevermind (laughs so we like for did we have his so we might get some beef.

Gemma:

Yes we love gravy

Raymond McAnally:

When i - I was lucky enough to come over to the uk to shoot Black Mirror.

Gemma:

Oh Okay!

Raymond McAnally:

I was actually one of the first two American actors to come shoot the new series over there and it was over the thanksgiving holidays and so they surprise the two Americans with a Thanksgiving dinner.

Caroline Amos:

Oh my god.

Gemma:

Oh my God that's so sweet.

Raymond McAnally:

So it was all the wonderful food that we like at Thanksgiving and then just covered in brown gravy. Everything!

Caroline Amos:

Oh my gosh (sounds so good)

Gemma:

So do you not have gravy with your your dinner?

Raymond McAnally:

We do!

Caroline Amos:

But we don't do it like you. We don't do it that well.

Raymond McAnally:

Yeah, this gravy was just amazing and absolutely needed to be on everything. (laughter)

Caroline Amos:

Yeah (laughs)

Gemma:

Yeah sometimes we it's more up north that they have it but like as you call french fries with gravy with some chips and gravy they have it up up north yeah chips and gravy so we don't have it much down here but it is amazing yeah just getting some chips and gravy love it!

Raymond McAnally:

Well I hope we get an email someday soon that your your tasting gravy and you're eating you know everything and able to taste it again.

Gemma:

Yeah I'd just like to eat some food just just to fill my belly up I'm so hungry.

Caroline Amos:

Oh noooooo.

Gemma:

I'm starving hungry - I haven't had much of an appetite today because it's not been great but you know I'm always moaning like I'm so hungry What can I eat look in the cupboards and thing after nothing that will taste like but yeah, and it's sort of like some things are worse than others so gravy actually is sadly one of the worst ones in I made maybe today for our Sunday roast dinner and just mixing it up I was just like whoa whoa God just quickly put it on their plates on my everyone your dinners out in the kitchen going home. Yeah, so that's quite a bad one for me and my son my my six year old son. He loves that don't even have mobile they're called Super noodles. So they're like dry noodles with like say a chicken flick a dry chicken flavoring that you just add

Raymond McAnally:

Like a Cup O Noodles.

Caroline Amos:

Yeah, we got like a cup of ramen cup of noodles. Yeah.

Gemma:

Yeah, so he absolutely loves I mean he would have them for breakfast lunch and dinner but they're just not healthy enough. So we let him have this on again. But my lord they smell horrific. I've left the house three times when he's what have them. I've even had to wait for his dad to come home from work and be like you just can't wait for daddy to get home and then he'll cook them because mommy can't do any of them.

Caroline Amos:

It's like you have to get the get a clothes pin and like just put it over your nose as you're making everything work.

Gemma:

I have been wearing a face mask to try and disguise the smell so I could just cook for my family because it's been quite upsetting not being able to cook I feel terrible. But when it was at its worst I physically couldn't make food for them so I kind of just...

Caroline Amos:

Use that use that as an excuse you take a couple months off of cooking you make everybody else do the work for you for a change (laughter)

Gemma:

Absolutely - Yeah, so those are my worst ones but it's just weird like now where you know I can't you know everything tastes so bad. But I miss food like I just I I said to my partner I go when if and when my parosmia does one and just leaves my body in some way. I said I literally want in one go I want a McDonald's. I want a Burger King. I want an Indian a Chinese and a big packet of cheesy balls and a massive bar of chocolate all in one go. I miss it so much. I just bought it. Just eat. It tastes that bad. I can't even physically put it in my mouth. I can't.

Caroline Amos:

Oh, well. We are hoping that this little phantosmia ghost that has possessed your system. We hope that it gets exercised as soon as possible. We're really we're hoping and praying for you, man. Oh, gosh.

Gemma:

Thank you for having me.

Caroline Amos:

Thanks for talking to two total strangers. So you know, we just appreciate your time and your honesty. So thank you.

Gemma:

That's fine. Yeah, no, absolutely fine. I mean, it's been nice because we've, like I said, we've just coming out of a lockdown. So I'm desperate for human interaction right now.

Caroline Amos:

You're lucky you have locked down? (laughter)

Gemma:

Yeah. (laughing) I don't know about that! It's been so lonely and boring. And I've just become lazy (laughter). (Fade Out with Music)

Caroline Amos:

Hey, this is Caroline.

Raymond McAnally:

And Raymond.

Caroline Amos:

Thank you so much for listening to Fatigue!

Raymond McAnally:

From patients to paramedics, long haulers to lessons learned. Sure, it's the same virus but these are very different stories.

Caroline Amos:

If you have a question or a story you'd like us to address on an episode, please email us at fatiguedpodcast@gmail.com

Raymond McAnally:

And don't forget to check us out on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter -

Caroline Amos:

Clubhouse!

Raymond McAnally:

Right Clubhouse. What is that?

Caroline Amos:

I don't even know. But whatever it is, we're here to offer genuine conversations so we can humanize the issues surrounding COVID and the pandemic. These stories deserve the space to be remembered and we relish the opportunity for connection in this isolated time.

Raymond McAnally:

Perhaps you will to

Caroline Amos:

stay positive

Raymond McAnally:

test negative

Caroline Amos:

and thanks for listening.

Raymond McAnally:

Bye