I wrote a while ago about my smoke nose. The chronic, disgusting, burning sensation that there is always someone smoking a cigarette in my presence. Except no one is.
I finally screwed up the courage to consult Dr. Google and found the word “phantosmia,” which basically means “olfactory hallucinations.”
So the tiny person who runs my nose is tripping on acid and smoking like a chimney at the same time. Or something like that.
People, here’s the problem when you consult Dr. Google like I did.
You find all sorts of people who are convinced that they are dying.
A Google of “I smell smoke all the time when no one around me is smoking” yields results that would make Dr. House happy. (Yes, that’s what I Googled first, followed by “pregnant smelling smoke all the time” and variations of the same. Keywords are not necessarily my thing.)
What I found first was that I’m most certainly not alone with my smoke nose. There are others like me. We should get together and form a support group.
What I found second was that no one seems to know what causes this but everyone loves to speculate. Probably because everyone loves to go on those message boards proclaiming “THIS IS THE WEIRDEST THING EVER!” and then never go to a medical professional about it.
Possible causes, as far as I can tell, include, but are not, I’m sure, limited to:
- a brain tumor
- a nose tumor
- blocked smell receptors in the brain
- acid reflux
- trauma of the head, face, or sinus variety
- drainage issues in the ears
- a tiny person in one’s nose tripping on acid and smoking like a chimney
Seriously. The most jumped-to conclusion on the message boards I found were “I have a brain tumor. I must be dying. Get me an MRI, a CT scan, and a transplant. STAT!”
All the boards were full of people going “OMG! I HAVE THIS TOO!” and no one actually offering up what his/her doctor had to say about it. Which means that either they went and the doctor said “Oh, look, a CIGARETTE lodged up your NOSE” and they felt stupid or they died and couldn’t come back to tell us all about the brain tumors since apparently there’s no internet in the afterlife.
So, I’m stuck with a nose that imagines it is smelling cigarette smoke all the time for no apparent reason. Except I’m pretty certain I don’t have a brain tumor so we can probably rule that one out.