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Regain sense of smell/taste after right basilar skull fracture?

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Old 01-05-2008, 03:52 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 462
conductor HB User
Regain sense of smell/taste after right basilar skull fracture?


I usually and frequently post on the Pain Management Board, but I have a situation that might be addressed better on this forum.

On June 1, 2007, I endured the experience of cracking my skull behind my right ear. Either...I tripped and hit my head or I had a bleed of some sort that caused me to pass out, fall, and crack my skull. Either way, I cracked my skull, bled out of my right ear, was in the hospital for 12 days, and--in the process--lost my sense of smell and taste.

When I talk about losing these senses, I truly cannot smell anything. I cannot smell smoke, bleach, ammonium, cologne, etc. When I talk about losing my sense of taste in particular, I cannot detect flavors of anything. For instance, spaghetti sauce does not have a flavor. HOWEVER, MY TONGUE CAN DETECT the various sensations like sour, salty, sweet, etc. So, I can tell that the Orange Juice is sweet, and I can tell that the spaghetti sauce is salty. Still though, I don't have a working or practical sense of smell and taste.

The ENT intelligently explained to me that I damaged some of my cranial nerves that must regenerate themselves--nearly 6 inches of growth. She said that these nerves grow back--IF THEY GROW BACK APPROPRIATELY--at the rate of 1/4 inch (or a little less) per month. She said that the process could take over a year. Again, she indicated that these senses may not come back at all.

Has anyone else gone through this? If so, did you regain these senses? Did you do anything to assist this process?

I would greatly appreciate your comments. Thank you.

Jon (Conductor)

P.S. I have Systemic Lupus and the Lupus Anticoagulant. Currently, my medications are: Coumadin, Verapamil, Vytorin, Tegretol, Duragesic, Actiq, Dilaudid, Elavil, ProSom, Fioricet (as needed), and Fioricet w/Codeine (as needed).

P.S. At first, my right ear felt full all the time. But, that cleared up. Also, my eyes acted independently for a couple of months. Over time, however, they have begun focusing my vision like it used to be. I'm very thankful for all of these improvements--even though the timeframe has seemed very S-L-O-W!

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Old 01-07-2008, 06:03 AM   #2
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 6
headrush HB User
Re: Regain sense of smell/taste after right basilar skull fracture?

I have just had mastoid surgery on my right ear and have only been able to taste sweet and salt since. I cannot make out any specific taste. I think things are improving gradually as initially I could not taste salt. I can't say if this is to do with the surgery itself or the packing in the ear. I still have it in after three weeks and it was heavily impregnated with antiseptic which may have affected my sense of taste. In terms of smell I am able to smell strong odours.

Old 01-09-2008, 03:19 AM   #3
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 462
conductor HB User
Re: Regain sense of smell/taste after right basilar skull fracture?

Dear headrush,

I greatly appreciate your response. Have you noticed if your "taste" comes from your taste buds on your tongue? Of course, you also mentioned that you could detect strong odors (or "odours" in your country!). As mentioned earlier, I cannot even detect thick smoke, ammonia, etc. What I forgot to mention earlier about my sense of smell was that I do have "whiffs" of various smells (although I don't think they are smells, in the truest sense of the word). These so-called smells don't seem to be appropriate or long-lasting. When I detect them, they usually remind me of soap-type odors or other fragrance-inducing concoction (like candles or mild sprays that affect the smell of a room). Again, these "detections" only last for a moment or two.

I have been instructed to use a completely obnoxious sinus rinse by NeilMed until further notice. Besides the water I must add, it contains Sodium Chloride and Sodium Bicarbonate--according to the ingredients. Noting my sarcasm, please realize how pleasant this daily ritual is!

Thanks, headrush, for your response to my post!

Jon (Conductor)

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