Friday, July 25, 2008
This nose doesn't know...
When I was eight years old, doctors confirmed what I had known for a few years at that point - that I have absolutely no sense of smell. That's right, this schnoz of mine is a big ole' dud, and I underwent extensive medical testing to prove it. Sure, I can still breathe through it, catch colds, and sneeze, but the olfactory nerves are deader than ever.
The official name for a lack of smell is anosmia, which makes me an official anosmiac. Researchers actually differentiate between someone who has lost their sense of smell (due to trauma or disease) and someone like me, who seems to have been born without it. I feel kind of lucky to be in this second category - while I can't smell a batch of freshly baked cookies or the wonderful aroma of a big bouquet of flowers, I don't have any idea what I'm missing. It doesn't really faze me anymore, and when I see people rearing back in disgust from a bad whiff of whatever, I figure I don't have it so bad.
Only one time in my life have I felt held back by my lack of sense, and that was when doctors told me that my childhood plans of becoming the world's greatest veterinarian would probably not come to fruition. Ever since I was a wee one, I had planned on becoming a vet - I loved animals, didn't mind the ick and gore of the medical bit, and even envisioned myself moving from the small town of Greencastle, Indiana to the big city (maybe even Indianapolis!) in order to save the big-time city pets of the world.
As it was explained to me, because our furry little friends can't tell us exactly what's wrong, a vet must heavily rely on indicators such as smell to determine what it is that is ailing Fido or Fifi. I have no idea if I would get the same kind of answer today, but at the time, the doctors did a sufficient job of convincing me that I needed to find another career choice. I was pretty bummed at the time (as upset as an eight-year old can get about a change in careers), but I accepted my fate and decided that this change would give me the opportunity to find another more equally fulfilling career that I was truly meant to pursue.
Fast forward more than 20 years. Diagnosed with Lupus, I was faced with the challenge of mentally adjusting and physically adapting to the limitations of the disease, which, for me, necessitated another shift (make that downshift) in career. As conflicted as I was about making the decision to slow down, stop working, and start taking care of myself, I was reminded of that eight-year old years ago. She certainly made the most of the opportunity to reinvent herself into something different then; wasn't I capable of rising to the challenge again?
Today, I'm able to embrace the idea of continually charting a new course for myself. It's fun to have tried my hand at this writing thing over the past year or two, and even more enjoyable now that I'm blogging on regular basis. Six months ago, I swore that I'd never take up that "blog" thing - it just wasn't my deal. But here I am, blogging my little heart out, and enjoying every minute of it.
There I go, reinventing myself again.