No Scents, Nonsense

Coronavirus Disease 2019? We Don’t Have Much Time So Call Me Covid-19 for Short

News from a few days ago alarmed me until I thought it through. In June 2017 at the Fayetteville Farmers Market, I brushed against a rosemary bush for sale and found I couldn’t smell that strong scent. I checked myself for the next days. Basil I could distinguish. Chocolate had diminished — still sweet and fun but dimmer. Similar for other food odors and tastes. As it was smell, my taste was muted, too, maybe by a third?

My physician gave it a name, anosmia, but also had me take meds to lower allergies and cure any thrush. The drugs had no effect, so he suggested an ear, nose and throat doctor. The otolaryngologist ordered an MRI of my neck and head and found no “unusual abnormalities.” He recommended a neurologist to see if it was nerve-related. I chose to live with anosmia but kept the names he recommended.

Some smells and tastes have returned in the last couple of years but not at full depth. Every so often the an odor comes through full strength, and I rejoice. Even when it’s animal poop.

Anosmia has joined fever and dry cough as a symptom of coronavirus 2019 disease (though Slate.com is skeptical). Wait, was there a Covid-17? No, not one that caught, so to speak.

Let’s chalk up the dulling of my tongue and nose to being on the far side of middle age. I started needing hearing aids 15 years ago. Eyeglasses were prescribed for this boy at age 8. I’m getting old.


I have a couple of the risk factors for getting hit hard with Covid-19 but not the worst ones. So My Beloved and I work on computers from home, thankful for jobs that allow that and with them health insurance.

I am sure I will get infected at some point despite the recommended precautions of cleanliness and distance. I go a hair further in caution at her insistence.

From reliable health websites like the CDC and reputable news media including my local newspaper, we know approximately a few people will not become infected while some will catch the bug but show no or just mild symptoms, yet still be contagious. It’s data, but you can’t predict who.


A "Danish dough whisk" is a wise investment.
A “Danish dough whisk” is a wise investment.

The best she and I can do is live right. Our moderate exercise is walking our dogs up to an hour on municipal trails on dry days. We meditate daily. We’ve been predominately vegan (plant-based whole food and low fat) since 2012.

Tip: Step up the fruits. Rather than vitamin C or juice, we’re starting the day sharing a bowl of 3 to 4 cut-up fresh fruits so we get all the fiber and micronutrients. Being home-bound, every 3-4 days I bake our bread.

We have progressed from a single glass of wine (or beer (Corona anyone?) or whiskey) on Friday nights to daily. We might die.

I do buy bags of dairy-free cookies and chips on the careful once- or twice-a-week grocery trips. We might die.

A full night’s sleep is wise. But I just can’t manage that. Worried we might die.


Getting up to 20 seconds to wash one’s hands just took practice. Starting out, 10 seconds was pushing patience. Singing a verse or two almost worked, but going one-one-thousand two-one-thousand was a better fit for me. What gets me past 20 is using the guidelines to review the parts: fingers, thumbs, backs, palms. If I get past about 12 seconds I can hit 20, easy if I add the “Turkish twist” of TV’s Dr. Mehmet Oz for knuckles. Then rinse.

What about the toilet, isn’t 10 seconds clean enough for hands to touch parts that don’t see daylight? OK, dear, best to hit 20.


The Work From Home or Shelter in Place gambit (coming before Self Isolation then Self Quarantine) is urged by scientists and officials to #flattenthecurve. That bell chart seems to reveal a truth: The tone of these science and news reports is not so much to prevent getting Covid-19 — but to delay it.

Experts and true leaders seem to be saying we all may get Covid-19. We might die.


One end, before social distancing, is denial, where the casual basketball games and clubbing gather headlines. More subtle is the far side of distancing, being overly cautious. Reading the scientists or specialists (physicians by definition are getting their info second) and the top news media (deniers really do know what sources to trust) you find the facts as they are now, acknowledge the data gets updated, and go on living.

I carefully shop for groceries — list in hand, massage in sanitizer gel every few minutes, make space from other customers or find a wiser queue. A few people here are ordering food pickups from groceries, but to me there’s risk of infection by what I don’t see, where even conscientious employees may scratch noses while gathering my items. Rather do it myself, until official advice changes.

Tip: My grocery list is for the week after next, not the coming week. We’re then covered for two weeks if we get sick tomorrow. The proof will be not needing to open last Thanksgiving’s spare can of cranberry sauce.

Maybe I’d be less calm somewhere else. Northwest Arkansas region is only starting the climb up the steep roller coaster rail of pandemic.


A take on Torah. The worst of the 10 Plagues in ancient Egypt was the Slaying of the First Born. Just the topic for Seder season, no? The image from Hebrew Scriptures is of infants in their mother’s arms, wrested away by the Angel of Death.

Outside of God through Moses emancipating the Hebrews from slavery, the first-born by-and-large live to old age. In any family the first-born grow into the eldest of the elders, no?

People over 60 also include only children, middle children and, like me, babies of the family. The first-born if they get to be old are the hardest hit population with Covid-19.

Copyright 2020 Ben S. Pollock

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