+
upworthy
Health

Woman breaks down in tears at being able to smell coffee after long COVID treatment

She hasn't been able to smell anything since she contracted COVID-19 two years ago.

coffee smell long covid

Jennifer Henderson smells coffee for the first time in two years.

When we think about how hard it would be to lose one of our senses, we usually imagine losing our sight or our hearing. But what about losing our sense of smell?

Being able to smell may not seem as important as being able to see or hear, but that doesn't mean it's not a big deal if you can't. Our sense of smell functions as an early-warning safety alert system, for one thing, so losing it can put us at risk. But smell is also one of our biggest memory triggers; a familiar scent can transport us to a specific time and place in the past in an instant. Pleasant smells can also evoke joy, whether we're inhaling the fragrance of our favorite flower or basking in the mouth-watering scent of our mom's cookies.

One of the most beloved scents in the world, even for people who don't like the taste of it, is the smell of coffee. So when 54-year-old Jennifer Henderson got to experience her first whiff of coffee after two years of not being able to smell anything at all, her reaction was understandably emotional.


Henderson has been dealing with "long COVID," a term referring to new or lingering symptoms long after an initial acute COVID-19 infection wanes, since she contracted the virus two years ago. Long COVID can manifest in many ways, one of which is the senses of smell and taste going awry. For Henderson, long COVID has resulted in bananas tasting like metal, garlic tasting like gasoline and her sense of smell being nonexistent for two years, according to WOIO News.

However, Cleveland Clinic anesthesiologist and pain medicine specialists Christina Shin, M.D. and Jijun Xu, M.D., Ph.D. have found that a common pain medication treatment seems to help many COVID long haulers regain their sense of smell and taste. The doctors told WOIO they don't really konw why it works, but it does offer hope for many who are suffering with long COVID like Henderson.

"You feel like you're in this box," Henderson said in a video shared by CBS. "For two years, two senses are gone, completely gone. And now I just feel like I'm getting my life back. I'm getting back to normal."

Watch the moment she realizes she can smell the coffee:

People struggling with long COVID often feel forgotten as the world increasingly moves away from focusing on the pandemic. It doesn't help that there's still so much we don't know. As can be expected in a novel viral pandemic, data has taken time to collect and analyze, and even defining long COVID has been a challenge as researchers learn in real-time about the long-term effects of COVID infection.

The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that as of January 2023, the estimated workforce numbers affected by long COVID range from fewer than 500,000 to as many as 4 million. A study published in Nature in January 2023 estimated that long COVID occurs in at least 10% of acute SARS-CoV-2 infections, with more than 200 symptoms impacting multiple organ systems being identified with the condition.

Thankfully, breakthroughs like the one from the Cleveland Clinic do offer hope for people who have had far more questions than answers about their symptoms. Hopefully, we will see more people get relief like Henderson did as doctors and scientists keep working to decipher the long COVID puzzle.

Sponsored

From political science to joining the fight against cancer: How one woman found her passion

An unexpected pivot to project management expanded Krystal Brady's idea of what it means to make a positive impact.

Krystal Brady/PMI

Krystal Brady utilizes her project management skills to help advance cancer research and advocacy.

True

Cancer impacts nearly everyone’s life in one way or another, and thankfully, we’re learning more about treatment and prevention every day. Individuals and organizations dedicated to fighting cancer and promising research from scientists are often front and center, but we don’t always see the people working behind the scenes to make the fight possible.

People like Krystal Brady.

While studying political science in college, Brady envisioned her future self in public office. She never dreamed she’d build a successful career in the world of oncology, helping cancer researchers, doctors and advocates continue battling cancer, but more efficiently.

Brady’s journey to oncology began with a seasonal job at a small publishing company, which helped pay for college and awakened her love for managing projects. Now, 15 years later, she’s serving as director of digital experience and strategy at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), which she describes as “the perfect place to pair my love of project management and desire to make positive change in the world.”

As a project manager, Brady helps make big ideas for the improvement of diagnosing and treating cancer a reality. She is responsible for driving the critical projects that impact the lives of cancer researchers, doctors, and patients.

“I tell people that my job is part toolbox, part glue,” says Brady. “Being a project manager means being responsible for understanding the details of a project, knowing what tools or resources you need to execute the project, and facilitating the flow of that work to the best outcome possible. That means promoting communication, partnership, and ownership among the team for the project.”

At its heart, Brady’s project management work is about helping people. One of the big projects Brady is currently working on is ASCO’s digital transformation, which includes upgrading systems and applications to help streamline and personalize oncologists’ online experience so they can access the right resources more quickly. Whether you are managing humans or machines, there’s an extraordinary need for workers with the skillset to harness new technology and solve problems.

The digital transformation project also includes preparing for the use of emerging technologies such as generative AI to help them in their research and practices.

“Most importantly, it lays the groundwork for us to make a meaningful impact at the point of care, giving the oncologist and patient the absolute latest recommendations or guidelines for care for that specific patient or case, allowing the doctor to spend more time with their patients and less time on paperwork,” Brady says.

In today’s fast-changing, quickly advancing world, project management is perhaps more valuable than ever. After discovering her love for it, Brady earned her Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification through Project Management Institute (PMI)—the premier professional organization for project managers with chapters all over the world—which she says gave her an edge over other candidates when she applied for her job at ASCO.

“The knowledge I gained in preparing for the PMP exam serves me every day in my role,” Brady says. “What I did not expect and have truly come to value is the PMI network as well – finding like-minded individuals, opportunities for continuous learning, and the ability to volunteer and give back.”

PMI’s growing community – including more than 300 chapters globally – serves as a place for project managers and individuals who use project management skills to learn and grow through events, online resources, and certification programs.

While people often think of project management in the context of corporate careers, all industries and organizations need project managers, making it a great career for those who want to elevate our world through non-profits or other service-oriented fields.

“Project management makes a difference by focusing on efficiency and outcomes, making us all a little better at what we do,” says Brady. “In almost every industry, understanding how to do our work more effectively and efficiently means more value to our customers, and the world at large, at an increased pace.”

Project management is also a stable career path in high demand as shown by PMI research, which found that the global economy will need 25 million more project managers by 2030 and that the median salary for project managers in the US has grown to $120K.

If you’d like to learn more about careers in project management, PMI has resources to help you get started or prove your proficiency, including its entry-level Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification program. For those interested in pursuing a project management career to make a difference, it could be your first step.

Brielle Asero lost her job after 2 months.

TikTokker Brielle Asero, 21, a recent college graduate, went viral on TikTok in October for her emotional reaction to the first day at a 9-to-5 job. The video, which received 3.4 million views, captured the public’s attention because it was like a cultural Rorschach test.

Some who saw the video thought that Asero came off as entitled and exemplified the younger generation’s lack of work ethic. In contrast, others sympathized with the young woman who is just beginning to understand how hard it is to find work-life balance in modern-day America.

“I’m so upset,” she says in the video. "I get on the train at 7:30 a.m., and I don't get home until 6:15 p.m. [at the] earliest. I don't have time to do anything!" Asero said in a video.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Mom's has epic response to a 'polite' phrase parents hear all the time

Judging by the overwhelming response to her post, she's not the only one who feels this way.

Canva

Yep. Relatable


Parents — especially those with multiple kids — know the phrase: "Oof, you must have your hands full!"

It's a common refrain from strangers who see us out and about.

Sometimes it even comes along with an "I feel sorry for you," if you're really lucky.

Keep ReadingShow less
via Taylor Skaff/Unsplash and Kenny Eliason/Unsplash

A Chevy Tahoe for $1? Not a bad deal at all.

The race to weave artificial intelligence into every aspect of our lives is on, and there are bound to be some hits and misses with the new technology, especially when some artificial intelligence apps are easily manipulated through a series of simple prompts.

A car dealership in Watsonville, California, just south of the Bay Area, added a chatbot to its website and learned the hard way that it should have done a bit more Q-A testing before launch.

It all started when Chris White, a musician and software engineer, went online to start looking for a new car. "I was looking at some Bolts on the Watsonville Chevy site, their little chat window came up, and I saw it was 'powered by ChatGPT,'" White told Business Insider.

ChatGPT is an AI language model that generates human-like text responses for diverse tasks, conversations and assistance. So, as a software engineer, he checked the chatbot’s limits to see how far he could get.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

X-rayed couples prove that love truly is blind

Love is blind, and it only takes a few creepy skeletons to prove it.

Photo from Ad Council/YouTube.

An audience watches an X-ray screen showing skeletons in love.

In this video from the Ad Council, they brilliantly use an X-ray screen to show couples as skeletons in love, but it's when they reveal the true identities of the people that they really pull at the old heartstrings.

Apparently love really is blind, and it only takes a few creepy bone people to prove it.

Keep ReadingShow less

Gerod Roth's racist Facebook post.


Gerod Roth posted a photo of himself with a coworker's child last month.

And while it might not be immediately obvious why this was such a mistake, well ... let me tell you.

The initial photo, screencapped and tweeted above by Twitter user Dr. X, is seemingly adorable. But the comments and Roth's intent soon turned rather ugly.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

A viral photo of a calm dad and a screaming toddler holds an important parenting lesson

He exemplified patient parenting when his daughter started having a meltdown at the store.

Actor Justin Baldoni exemplified patient parenting when his daughter had a meltdown at the store.


Young kids don't always pick the best times to have emotional meltdowns.

Just ask any parent.

Grocery stores, malls, and restaurants (or any place with lots of people around) in particular seem to bring out the worst in our little ones, prompting explosive tantrums that can make even the most stoic parent turn red-faced with embarrassment.

But why be embarrassed? It's just kids being kids, after all.

Keep ReadingShow less