Jessica Hickson got COVID in February 2021 and since then her life has not been the same and it may never be.
Hixon, 30, of the St. Louis area has parosmia. It is described by the National Institutes of Health as “a change in the normal perception of smell, such as when the smell of something familiar is distorted, or when something that normally smells pleasant no longer smells.” “
He said newsweek That when she first had COVID-19 a year ago, she only lost her smell for a week or two. Then, about two months later “everything started to taste the same, but it didn’t taste bad; it was just too bland.”
Things got worse six months after that, though, she said, when the food had gone bad. He first saw it with meat, which he said smelled like “rotting roadkill.” Then, bread and chocolate became inedible because of the “chemistry”-like taste. He said that even though the food was not directly in front of him, it still made him sick from the other side of the room.
His diet became strictly based on eating a handful of similar foods, including buttered noodles, cheese, cake, and candy.
This soon began to take a toll on his physical and mental health. She said she became so malnourished that she went to her doctor to get a blood panel — and even her doctor looked at her like “crazy.”
“I think a lot of people dealing with this condition are dealing with long-lasting symptoms of COVID,” said Hickson, a depression with typical post-COVID symptoms. “Many people don’t realize it but everything we do in our lives revolves around food.”
She was talking about family dinners, holidays, date nights and night outs with friends. This went beyond food to the “perverted” smell of body soap, body wash and toothpaste. Even her husband smelled like “roadkill” to her, due to the lack of intimacy that affected their marriage.
“You feel like everyone thinks you’re overreacting,” she said, adding that her husband was originally skeptical until he gag while he was cooking. Now, he is supportive and helps her find treatment.
One of those measures involved looking at a procedure called stellate ganglion block. The Cleveland Clinic characterizes the stellate ganglion as part of the sympathetic nervous system located in a person’s neck, on either side of their voice box.
A study published in December 2021 in the Journal of Neuroimmunology found that stellate ganglion block prolonged COVID symptoms.
Hixon contacted David Gaskin, a board certified registered nurse anesthetist in nonsurgical pain management at Republic Pain Specialists in Bryan, Texas.
He too $2,000. raised over One to process through GoFundMe.
Gaskin told newsweek The first injections were given in 1930 and are now commonly used to control pain or reduce PTSD.
He added that long-term COVID patients suffer not only from parosmia, but also insomnia, headache, persistent cough, fatigue, palpitations and heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and GI disturbances such as diarrhea and abdominal cramps—”indications of autonomic dysfunction”. all symptoms.”
When patients like Hickson arrive, Gaskin asks them to lie on their backs and look away, while an ultrasound helps guide the drug in real time to the correct area where the stellate ganglion is present. Then he inhales a lidocaine-steroid solution.
“We’re taking it off for 15-20 minutes, and when it comes back on and starts to spiral again, the body is always looking for balance and homeostasis,” Gaskin said.
He said that this specific procedure has been done on around 200 long distance COVID patients with 85-90 percent success rate. Unfortunately, Hixon was not one of them.
She said the process initially worked fine when she did it, testing it out with a chocolate bar that was “slightly rotten” but still tastier than her experiences from the previous year. He also had Cheetos, which he said was “normal.”
After becoming emotional because of the return of his appetite, it only lasted an hour or two before going back to normal. When she went back for a second season, there was no change.
“Honestly, I had already accepted that I would have to live like this forever,” she said, acknowledging the process provided some hope, however momentary. “I thought it was my last option, my last resort, if it didn’t work. When it didn’t work, that’s where my mind went.”
Since her trip to Texas, she has purchased scent training kits online containing essential oils. He didn’t notice any difference, at least not yet. She also joined a parosmia post-COVID Facebook group, where others like her share their stories and possible treatments.
“I try to put it in people’s perspective,” she said. “When people try to encourage me to eat new foods or it’s just a matter of being picky, I say a rotting raccoon sitting in front of you. Exactly so for us… Not doing so so that people don’t know about it.”
Gaskin said his intuition leads him to believe that people like Hickson who don’t benefit from stellar ganglion block “already have some sort of underlying PTSD, anxiety, depression that is feeding that sympathetic nervous system.”
The people she has helped find out how terrible parosmia is and how many people’s lives it is negatively impacting.
“People are coming in and they’re just spending physically, they’re malnourished, they’ve lost 100 pounds in three months or six months,” he said. “He can’t sleep, his bowels are up. It’s like his life is turned upside down.
“They’ve tried supplements, online hacks, doctors, they’re down to three safe foods,” he continued. “When it turns and turns and the smell and taste return, they cry and cry. It’s really the skill of doing something that gives life back. It’s a real special thing for me.” “