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#1
Old 08-19-2008, 05:40 AM
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Taste "hallucinations" = mental disorder...?

I'm currently my mother's Carer. All my life I've thought she was "weird", but I wasn't cognitive enough to understand mental illness. Having lived with her 24/7 for the last 10 years I've become painfully aware of her 'weirdness'. I've spoken to several doctors about it with no joy - they all seem to think she's fine and I need to be on anti-depressants ...

I know [from previous experience] that it helps to be able to tell a doctor "I think it's ________ [insert name of medical problem]" but I can't find any information on one of my mother's "symptoms". She frequently complains about smells that are not obvious to other people (her main one is my "B.O." which makes her choke and gag), she regularly refuses to eat food that I've cooked because it "tastes funny", when I've used the same ingredients she used to cook said meals herself.

I'm sure I read somewhere that tasting and smelling things that aren't there is a sign of ... something, but I can't remember what.

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?
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"Did I not just use the word 'puzzling'?"
#2
Old 08-19-2008, 06:42 AM
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She could very well have Synethesia. Which is not a bad thing...it's actually quite cool. You would have to find something she likes the taste of however, you'd have to work with her.

That link is very broad, so I would look up synesthetics...specifically with smell.

Last edited by Phlosphr; 08-19-2008 at 06:44 AM.
#3
Old 08-19-2008, 08:33 AM
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Location: Columbia, SC
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To jump directly to the worst case senario, it's a symptom of brain tumors.
#4
Old 08-19-2008, 08:58 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 2,109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lobelia Overhill
I know [from previous experience] that it helps to be able to tell a doctor "I think it's ________ [insert name of medical problem]" but I can't find any information on one of my mother's "symptoms". She frequently complains about smells that are not obvious to other people (her main one is my "B.O." which makes her choke and gag), she regularly refuses to eat food that I've cooked because it "tastes funny", when I've used the same ingredients she used to cook said meals herself.
Or she could have a very good sense of smell. My MIL has an incredible chemical sensitivity. Our family always assumed it was psychosomatic, until she proved it to me. (My father was literally 60 yards away, still out of sight, and she yelled if he had put on that cologne, which he had. Her eyes were tearing up already.) As for food tasting funny -- the same ingredients do not an identical meal make. And smell is a huge component of taste.

Obviously I'm not a doctor and it sounds like there are loads of other things going on, but these particular examples seems perfectly ordinary to me.
#5
Old 08-19-2008, 09:15 AM
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If that's the only "symptom" then I don't see any reason to think it's anything other than a very sensitive nose.

My wife has similar "symptoms." She's a supertaster, and we think, a "supersmeller" as well. She's not crazy, though people sometimes say she is half-jokingly, and this actually kind of upsets her.

-FrL-
#6
Old 08-19-2008, 03:07 PM
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As others have said, she could just have developed a stronger sensitivity to taste or smell.

If she's taking medication, some of these change the way a person perceives tastes or smells, or may work their way through a persons system until there are minute remnants seeping through membranes or skin at which point they can be detected as a taste or odor.
#7
Old 08-20-2008, 05:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frylock
If that's the only "symptom" then I don't see any reason to think it's anything other than a very sensitive nose.
No, it's not the only symptom, it's just the strangest one, of several (maybe a dozen, it's hard to keep track), and I thought the one that was the 'best' example to present to a doctor, since it's not something that can be dismissed as "oh she's got such a sense of humour, your mother", or "it's her age" (um she wasn't in her 70s, 30 years ago when I first noticed these things) or "everyone does that". Really? Does your mother do that? No. Uh huh, so it's not really everyone then is it?

She seems to have a multi-personality disorder, she goes from raging biatch to sweet little grey haired old lady in a heartbeat, but she can control which 'face' she has on (depending on her audience), very few people have seen her "evil" face and when they do they are shocked at how malicious she can be.

I've had a passing fancy more than once that she's blind, or has some very strange sight problem as she can't see what's right in front of her face. When she used to drive(!) she'd notice what every other driver on the road was doing "he's speeding" "he didn't indicate", "look at that one ..." etc etc etc. When I drive, there aren't any other cars on the road apparently, a lorry nearly slammed into the side of my car one time - she didn't see it, Even though the wheel rim was practically scraping off the passenger window. You didn't see that huge slow moving vehicle that I was overtaking?! No. I suggested she turn around and look out the back window, ah we live in a two dimensional world where there is no "behind you". How silly of me not to have noticed ...

Perhaps she's autistic? She certainly doesn't understand non verbal communication, if I nod, or shake my head she stares at me blankly, I have to say yes, or no. If I point at something she looks at my hand, or in the opposite direction to what I'm pointing at. She speaks to me when I'm eating or drinking and expects me to answer her with my mouth full. Seriously. Goes mad if I don't answer her. I try to point "got my mouth full here", oh that's right, she doesn't understand gestures. She only wants to know why I'm not answering her. Is it because I hate her? That's what it is, you won't talk to me because you hate me! Meanwhile I'm trying to Heimlich myself ...

If I'm on the phone, she thinks I'm talking to her.
"I'm on the phone"
"Why are you asking me _____ "
"I'm not asking you _____ I'm on the phone."
"Stop asking me ______ "
"I'm. On. The *bleeping* Phone!"
"Who do you want me to phone?"

*headdesk*

She has no ability to retain, or recall, information. Her 'favourite' habit is to stand behind me/in another room and ask "what's this?"
"what's what?"
"This"
"This ... what?"
"This"
"I can't see what you're looking at, could you describe it to me?"
Apparently no, she cannot describe, nor point at, the object. Having had this 'conversation' ten times in the last 3 hours, I loose my temper. She storms off in a strop. Five minutes later, I'm in the garden and what do I hear from the kitchen? Go on, guess ...

I cook dinner, the same way she cooked dinners, same pots and pans, same utensils. I boiled spuds and veg, roasted a chicken in the oven, as my father has coronary problems I don't use salt, pepper, or any other type of condiment/flavouring etc when I'm cooking, it's all cooked blank, don't even add gravy. She can't eat it - it's got too much salt in. I didn't even have a salt shaker on the table. Then I read something somewhere about people being asked at job interviews "does food taste salty to you?"
WTF?
They ask that because it's a sign of .... and I'm blanking on what it's a sign of. I've tried Googleing and searching every message board I can remember using. Nothing, zip. nada.

I must've been hallucinating.
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#8
Old 08-20-2008, 10:40 AM
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My taste changes greatly over short periods. One day I can eat something and like it. the next day I can't stand the taste. Related to that I also find that I have to eat unflavored things for a period, because the salt makes my tongue burn. Spices like on ranch Doritos or ketchup also burn my tongue. I had a perfectly fine set of taste buds until an illness, and now i have to ask if something tastes OK so I know if it's me and I should save it for a few days later.
#9
Old 08-20-2008, 12:38 PM
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Disclaimer: I am not a doctor.

Have you looked at the possibility of dementia? Your last post makes her sound very confused at times.

Actually, other than the taste thing, her behavior somewhat resembles the behavior of my mother at her worst. She's a diabetic and schizophrenic, and it can be very difficult to tell the difference between the effects of her mental illness and a bout of uncontrolled blood sugar - both can cause that sort of confusion. I once had a protracted arguement with her over whether half of $100 is $50 (me) or $75 (her).

Have you actually sat down and gave the doctor an exact list of what you've observed, or are you just mentioning the taste and smell thing on the way out the door? I would write down a specific list of everything odd you observe, and hand it to the doctor the next time she has to go in for an appointment. Then he'll have all of the information in front of him, and can check her out for himself if he thinks there's something of concern in there.
#10
Old 08-21-2008, 05:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Risha
Have you looked at the possibility of dementia? Your last post makes her sound very confused at times.
Have you actually sat down and gave the doctor an exact list of what you've observed, or are you just mentioning the taste and smell thing on the way out the door? I would write down a specific list of everything odd you observe, and hand it to the doctor the next time she has to go in for an appointment. Then he'll have all of the information in front of him, and can check her out for himself if he thinks there's something of concern in there.
Thanks for the input, and I'm glad you're not a doctor!

She's not confused at all, she seems to genuinely enjoy winding me (and occasionally other people) up to the point where they explode in a rage at her, then she puts on her whipped puppy look and whines for sympathy from a third party.

I have gone to great lengths, on several occasions, to more than one doctor to explain about her behaviour, one said "yes I can imagine she's a nightmare to live with" and another said "was she ever diagnosed with anything?" I wouldn't know about that, given that no one would have told me, and all her medical records are now gone as we've moved house several times. The other doctors have laughed in my face, or tried to force anti-depressants on me, as if I'm the one causing the problem cos they've met my mother and she's a lovely sweet little grey haired old lady. I was hoping the "that tastes too salty" was going to turn a light on in some doctor's head and they'd recognise it as an obscure symptom of something.

One of my brother's recently remarked "have you ever noticed when you talk to Mum she doesn't pay any attention?", my response was "why has it taken you so long to notice?"

I know she's seen a geriatrician about "dizzy turns" and he gave her a form of cognitive test, which she passed with flying colours. WTF?! One of the tests involved the doctor saying several words which she had to repeat back to him a few minutes later. Now how come I say "what do you want for breakfast?" 5 times and get no response, because she 'didn't hear me' but in a controlled situation she was able to recall everything the doctor said...? That suggests [to me] that there's a form of psychopathic disorder going on, but the doctor I suggested that to nearly fell off her chair laughing.

My father has dementia and his symptoms bear no relation to hers whatsoever, although I know it's not the same in every patient, there are common symptoms that make dementia 'easy' to spot. He started off being 'confused' about money, and progressed to other paranoid behaviours - recently he's been seeing a man in a top hat walking around the house.
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"Did I not just use the word 'puzzling'?"
#11
Old 08-21-2008, 06:17 AM
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I am not a medical professional either, but I googled this: 26 causes of taste symptoms
#12
Old 08-22-2008, 06:54 AM
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Thanks for that CD, I'll have a look in there
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"Did I not just use the word 'puzzling'?"
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