I was going to tell you about my olfactory hallucination. The other night, after I had spent all day roasting squash of various kinds, the aroma of freshly roasting pumpkins wafted past my nose and woke me from a sound sleep three separate times.
It was the same each time: I awoke, sleepily thought, “Did I leave the oven on? Did I leave pumpkins in the oven?” “No,” I assured myself, “the oven is off and the pumpkins are in the fridge.” Then I would go right back to sleep only to be awakened again.
I came up with the term “olfactory hallucination” when I was in college – the one other time an aroma woke me from sleep. My roommate and I decided to fast for two days. On the second night, I woke to the smell of bread baking. More than once. The third time I walked up and down my dorm hallway to see who was baking bread in the middle of the night. All was dark and quiet. Was the dorm kitchen baking bread? Why had I never smelled it before?
The next morning I asked. The dorm didn’t bake its own bread. “Hmm, I thought, must have been a fasting-induced olfactory hallucination.”
So Wednesday I was going to mention it in my post, but first I googled to see if olfactory hallucinations are a real thing, or something I invented.
Turns out they are a real thing and if you experience them you should seek immediate medical care.
So for Wednesday’s post, I cut the part about the hallucinations. “I can’t post about that right before Thanksgiving, people will think I’m a goner.”
I’m pretty sure the episode I had in college was real. And I’m still here, sans medial intervention, these many years later.
The one I had the other night may or may not have been real. Perhaps it was brought on by a lack of sleep. Or maybe it was my sweatshirt. I put the sweatshirt I wore all day on over my pjs because I was cold. Perhaps when I rolled over in bed, I caught a whiff of it. But the warm, wafting aroma was so vivid.
The only reason I am telling you about it now is because The Daily Post prompted us to share a leftover today – something that I cut from a previous post. So here you go: a nice turkey, cranberry, olfactory hallucination sandwich with a smear of bread sauce on a sweet potato roll. Enjoy.
And if you have ever experienced this, please tell. And if you are a medical professional, feel free to render a diagnosis.