Man seeking cure for rare after effect of COVID-19

By J.D. Miles

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    DALLAS (KTVT) -- You may have noticed that COVID-19 cases are dropping.

But there are North Texans still experiencing strange after effects long after they should have recovered.

Few of those lingering issues are more rare than what a Dallas man has been going through since last summer.

Rob Mills can’t stroll past a restaurant, fill up his car with gas or walk through almost any type of store without feeling miserable.

“It’s just a foul, somethings rotting kind of smell,” says Mills.

He suffers from what’s known as parosmia.

It’s when the brain is unable to identify an odor correctly.

What may smell pleasant to everyone else smells awful to Mills.

“It’s kind of hard to believe that an egg and an onion and a cup of coffee can have the same exact horrible smell when they’re nothing alike,” he says.

Mills had a mild case of COVID-19 over the summer.

While many people temporarily lose their sense of taste and smell, this 54-year-old Army veteran developed a rare condition that medical experts warn may never go away.

“I don’t want to get used to it,” says Mills, “but I’m trying to live some kind of a life.”

He constantly carries an over the counter vapor inhaler to numb his nose, and for his mental health.

“Some days really defeated, really confused because I go to the doctor and they don’t know,” he says.

Mills has been trying smell therapy to retrain his brain.

He’s lost nearly 30 pounds and the desire to eat anything.

“I love food. Certain foods I love, Italian food, Mexican, Chinese. I haven’t had a taco since July. A lot of Taco Tuesday’s I’ve missed out on,” says Mills.

He is sharing his story with the hope of finding others who can relate to his condition or even help him find a cure.

“Early on I was angry but I guess it’s getting used to it,” says Mills. “I know it’ll go away eventually. But just the not knowing part is really difficult.”

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