Life in Poland

What smells?

image Heck, if I know. I can’t smell a thing and it has been that way for over a week. I have bronchitis (diagnosed) and I think a sinus infection (undiagnosed). The result of which is that I have a killer cough and a completely congested nose. Well, as Lech Wałęsa once said – there are positive pluses and negative pluses (plusy dodatnie, plusy ujemne) to any situation 😉

A positive plus is that I don’t have to smell anything bad. Over the holiday, I spent a lot of time at Carrefour waiting in line at the check-out counter with some people of questionable hygiene and I smelled nothing. However, I did feel disturbed as I was sure that there must be an odor and that I was surely breathing it in but just not smelling it or “feeling” it as you would say in Polish. (In Polish, you say that you feel a smell/odor/fragrance not smell a smell as in English. Example: I smell smoke here. Czuję tu dym. )

Rosie is still in diapers, so you’d think it would be a real positive not to smell those poo-poo diapers but in fact that turned out to be a negative plus. I didn’t realize that as a mother, I relied so heavily on my sense ofimage smell for example for sniffing out poo-poos as soon as they are produced when they require less cleaning up. Luckily, Rosie has started talking and often informs me of the poo poo.

I also might have saved our washer if I had been able to smell a couple of days ago. Unfortunately, I overloaded the washer which caused the motor to go into overdrive, producing a horrible burning smell which I was completely unaware of as I brushed my teeth next to the breaking down machine. Ooops!

I realized that as I picked up Lizzie from Pre-school, I had to ask if the kids were done with dinner or not. Usually, I can just smell except on Pierogi Day when there is almost no smell at all. I guess that’d have to be a negative plus.

Another negative plus is that I cannot smell my kids. If you don’t have kids, please understand that I am not strange and that it will happen to you someday too. I cannot smell Lizzie’s freshly washed hair or Rosie’s neck which still smells like baby. I’m missing out on valuable smelling days ‘cause who know when those lovely smells will just turn into plain old kid stink.

The next issue could be a positive plus and a negative plus all wrapped into one. If you think back to the last time that you had a bad cold, you will remember that everything you ate tasted like, well, nothing. With all the delicious Christmas dishes prepared for the holiday, I couldn’t taste even one of them. If not for the difference in consistency, I wouldn’t have known if I was eating pierogi or fish. For some, that is a huge negative plus but for those on a diet, it is a double positive plus and could quite possibly be marketed to dieters as a weight loss solution over the holidays.

I am slowly getting my sense of smell back. Now what to do about my sense of humor and my sense of fashion?

Any ideas?

PS How is it that I am diagnosed with bronchitis and not diagnosed with a sinus infection? Well, let’s say that in Poland you had a car accident and ended up in the hospital with a broken leg and a broken arm. Well, you’re in luck. This is the “broken leg hospital” so we can fix you up real good. Oh, your broken arm? We don’t do arms here. Sorry about that. Of course, Iimage am exaggerating, but only a little. The doctor I visited at our local doctor’s office didn’t think it necessary to check my ears or nose because bronchitis is much more serious than a sinus infection in her opinion. They will never check your temperature or your blood pressure as I was informed “we don’t have the technical possibilities” (meaning we don’t have a thermometer or a blood pressure cuff) to which I complimented them on their kick-ass aquarium in the waiting room. Yes, I am one of those people. But I’m guessing you already knew that.

PS2 “What smells?” should be translated as “Co tak śmierdzi?” If you want to ask “Co tak pachnie?”, it should be “What imagesmells so good?” This is incredibly important if you are in a Polish speaking/English speaking marriage and one partner of the marriage has just cooked a delicious dinner and has a frying pan in one hand. Who knew that proper English could save your life?

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  • Reply
    January 9, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Not to defend the lack of \”technical possibilities\” but in Poland it is typically assumed that the patient owns a thermometer and knows what their temperature is. Having some device for measuring blood presure is also very common. When I was in the US I found it a bit annoying that every time I went to a doctor I had to go through a ritual of measuring my temperature and weigth, like I didn't know it anyway.

  • Reply
    January 9, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    I agree that it can be annoying but the dr's office in the US doesn't trust that you checked your temp or blood pressure properly and they just might be right about it. My grandma discovered she had a very high temp at a regular check-up and with the subsequently ordered urine test was diagnosed with an acute kidney infection. She insisted that she was \”fine\”. That reminds me of my 1st visit to the dr in Poland when he handed me a thermometer from the table and grabbed it out of my hand as I directed it to my mouth. It was for under the armpit, hee, hee.

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