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Perspective: Retraining my nose

Yaya Favela

In August I tested positive for COVID-19 after three days of a great visit with grandchildren in Florida. To protect our granddaughter and baby grandson, my husband and I drove home over two arduous days. Exhausted, but grateful to begin a prescription for Paxlovid, I started feeling better. But then I experienced what is called a “Rebound” of the virus. This time my olfactory senses closed down, accompanied by fatigue.

The same thing happened in early 2020 when I briefly was hospitalized for bronchitis. The accompanying loss of smell and taste was yet to be known as a sign of COVID-19. But now, scientists have developed “Smell Retraining Therapy” or SRT. Mayo clinic and researchers at Stanford University found that smell nerves can regrow along with improvement in brain connectivity. It involves a regimen of smelling four different scents at least twice a day for several days. My set of essential oil fragrances include rose, lemon, cloves, and eucalyptus. Concentrating on my memory of each smell will hopefully strengthen brain connectivity and restore my senses.

I wonder if sensory retraining therapy might have implications for unhealthy social perspectives and behaviors like distrusting others who are different, or misogyny, or irrational conspiracy theories? Might we all need some retraining of our social senses to experience better connectivity with those who think differently? I believe that working on “fragrances” of curiosity, openness, dialogue, and trust can help us discover our common humanity.

I’m Connie Seraphine and that is my Perspective.

Connie Seraphine is a Sycamore-area writer and poet.