Can you say Hypogeusia? This new vocabulary word is my Covid-19, Long-Haul symptom. On day 84 since the Covid-19 Diagnosis, I still have a lingering souvenir.
I cannot spell it without looking it up again and again. I couldn’t ask Siri because I couldn’t pronounce it, either. The correct pronunciation is HYPO-GOO- SIA.
The definition is a reduced ability to taste things, and I fall into this long-haul category.
I usually have a sharp palate. Most folks who USED to go out to dinner with me or invited me to dinner know that I hate the taste and smell of Parmesan. Yes, I am using the strong word HATE to describe the cheesy flavor and aroma because it’s THAT offensive to me. I would taste Parmesan even if one ingredient in one bread crumb had a speck of Parmesan. There are restaurants that I won’t go to because as soon as I walk in, I’m struck by the pungent smell of sharp cheese.
The Dreaded Parmesan
So, when I first noticed that my taste was diminished due to Covid-19, I decided to take a bite of Parmesan—living dangerously!
Slowly I took a sniff; my sense of smell remains intact. Yes, it still smelled like Parmesan to me. I quickly put a small piece in my mouth, and VOILA! I tasted it! That’s because Hypogeusia doesn’t remove all taste, but the result is less taste.
Each week, I have a good day with my sense of taste and think, AHH! I am better. And then, like last night, I have a bowl of my favorite chocolate ice cream and Anti-Voila! No taste.
And I tried! How does one try, you may wonder? One recommendation was eating slower or breathing through your nose while eating to engage other senses. Nope, it didn’t work. And before I wasted any more calories, I dumped the ice cream. Similarly, my favorite pumpernickel bagels have no taste.
Long-Haul and Morning Coffee
Initially, I couldn’t taste my morning coffee. It was like hot water that gave me my morning buzz. My sister-in-law suffered from this for a bit during Covid-19, and she dumped her coffee! No way for me – I drank my boring hot water to get my writing Mojo going in the morning.
I now enjoy coffee again, or so I think. Because another side effect is losing the sense of what my sense of taste was like before. The question: “Is this tasteless to just me or to everyone?” continues to replay in my mind.
Yesterday, I asked my husband Mitch if the pistachios we were eating had any flavor. He said they were bland. Ok, but to me, they had no taste. Yay! At least he didn’t say these are the best freaking pistachios I ever had the pleasure of eating!
I can still sense sweet, salty, sour, and spicey. The sweetness and tanginess taste of the fruit remains strong. Dark chocolate has continued to satisfy my palate.
Ellen’s Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake
Interestingly, my friend Ellen makes a pumpkin chocolate chip cake (the recipe she uses is at the end), and this cake has never let me down. During my Covid-19 recovery, I was able to taste this delicious dessert. Even now, 84 days later the flavor continues to bring a burst of flavor. I have become independent and can make my version with less sugar and oil but still tasty! It has become a staple of my diet, along with the lovely calories.
My Lack of Sense, Makes No Sense
Nothing makes sense with Covid-19. The disturbing thing is no-one knows if hypoGOOsia will be permanent or just a fleeting long-haul symptom. I think it’s already too long to be a fleeting thing – I had to look up fleeting, and the definition is something that does not last as long as you would like. Ok, we have passed the point of fleeting. And by the way, who would like this?
And, for those with inquiring minds, I have not lost weight because of lack of taste. Because, akin to my personality, I keep trying! And, I can taste certain foods, so it’s not a complete wash.
On a more serious note, a few of my fellow Covid-19 buddies still have lasting effects. It ranges from heart racing, weird chest tightness to random moments of extreme fatigue, muscle aches, and COVID-19 brain.
Covid is not merely a random virus, and even if you had a mild case, like me, it just feels like it never ends.
Stay Safe, Consider Vaccination, Wear a Mask, Wear two masks!!
Ellen Palmer’s Recipe: