When ranking physical attributes we’d hate to lose, most people put sense of smell at the bottom, on par with losing a big toe. But when Elizabeth Zierah lost hers—and thus her sense of taste—3 years ago after catching a cold, the ensuing string of scentless and flavorless days transformed her into "an observer watching the character of me," she writes in Slate.
For an estimated 2 million Americans, loss of appetite joins diminished sex drive, anxiety, depression, and fears of secretly stinking in the list of miserable side effects. For Zierah, apples turned into a crunchy pleasure, while past favorites like coconut curry registered as mushy and off-putting. Still searching for a cure, Zierah notes one upside: The ability to painlessly do "those things loved ones dread, like changing cat litter."