I have always thought that I suffered from the House of Usher disease. You know the story by Poe, Fall of the House of Usher? The main character has a hypersensitivity to sights, sound, SMELL, taste and touch. That is me to a tee. I can't walk through a clothing store because I can smell the petroleum in the fabrics. I certainly can't touch any of the clothing because when I reach for something that I think is going to feel soft, it turns out to have some sort of strange, unnaturally-created dye that stays on my fingers and irritates me the rest of the day. Bright lights send me running for sun glasses at all hours of the day and people who sing, if they're even just a hair off-pitch, well, my eyes cross and I lose my sense of balance when that happens. I'm just that sensitive to things. But I must say, of all of these things, the smell thing gets me the most. I can handle all of the other sensory overloads, but not THE SMELL!
This became worse when I was pregnant. Something happened to me and I was rendered incapable of eating anything at all. I was a lousy pregnant person. There was not a day of my pregnancy that I enjoyed, nor was there a day when I was not miserably sick. Only, if you remember, I have an iron stomach, so even though I wanted to throw up every single day for 38 solid weeks, I never could. It wasn't the fact that I wasn't hungry, I was. I just couldn't get past the smell of the food. I was truly living on three things: oatmeal, grits and (believe it or not) eggplant parmesan subs. But they had to be subs, not just eggplant parmesan on a plate. I guess I needed the bread to soak up the smell.
So anywho, Hubby was well aware of what was going on with my olfactory system, because he was making a sub run every 3 or 4 days when oatmeal and grits just wouldn't cut it. AND he sat with me in the emergency room for 12 solid hours when I was 17 weeks pregnant with dehydration because even the subs failed me at that point and I couldn't force myself to drink our water. For you see, at that time, we lived in the country and we were on a well and well water has minerals and, well, minerals have a SMELL! And I couldn't drink bottles water, because the bottles have a smell and...I was a mess.
But the worst offender of all at this time was garlic. I couldn't be in the same room with garlic. It was my nemesis. It offended me. It had the power to send me crying into a fetal position if I entered a restaurant that had just a little bit too much of the smell of it hanging in the air. And yes, I know, eggplant parmesan subs have garlic. I said I was pregnant, not sane!
Well one day I came home from work and Hubby had been home all day (Fridays are his day off instead of Sunday.) I opened the door and was immediately accosted by this horrible, monstrous visibly lingering aroma of garlic hanging in the air. Hubby, being happy to see me, came right over to where I was still hanging precariously in the doorway and tried to give me a kiss. I say tried because you know what happens to garlic once a person eats it, right? It comes out their pores and over their breath. Hubby got within 3 feet of me and I started screaming like an insane banshee, "WHAT DID YOU COOK IN THIS HOUSE? WHAT DID YOU EAT THAT HAS GARLIC IN IT? WHAT DID YOU DO?" I could not be calmed down and I was crying inconsolably. He was so baffled by my behavior and the only thing he could think to say was, "I ate the shrimp scampi that you bought me."
Now let me tell you. When your very sick and pregnant wife asks you a question that involves "WHAT DID YOU DO?" It is best not to respond with the words "...that you..." I was livid. I was sick and nauseated and out of my mind with this odor that was threatening to take me down and my husband was the root of all evil at that moment in my life. So I made him leave the house. And it wasn't in a joking "don't come back until you're clean" kind of way. It was a "get the hell out my sight, you evil beast, and don't come back until every last drop of garlic has been eliminated from your body and you are prepared to grovel for hours and accommodate my every need" kind of way. I believe he slept in his office at the church that night while I slept with every single window in the house open.
And in case you're wondering, yes, I had bought the shrimp scampi, but I had bought it before I had ever gotten pregnant. It had sat in our fridge for several months. Why he chose that day to eat it, I'll never know. But to this day, I still can't stand the smell of garlic.