The phantom-osia is here, inside my mind

I am currently very nearly halfway through my final clinical dietetic placement, working in a hospital and helping patients get the right amount and type of nutrition to get them better.  However, I have also spent a large portion of the last week smelling the nostalgic aroma of a campfire. No, it isn't the NHS resorting to burning hospital furniture to save money on the heating, it's just yet another neurological quirk: Welcome to the bizarre world of olfactory hallucination . 

A few people who have migraine aura, including myself, occasionally get these phantom scents trapped up their nose for anything from minutes to days. As I am writing this now I can smell the distinctive fragrance of burning wood; a campfire, fireworks night, my parent's lounge in winter. I am, however, typing in my bedroom and nothing (as far as I am aware) is on fire. This is just my brain playing tricks on my nose. For me, it's one of my less unpleasant migraine symptoms, and it's thankfully so familiar now that I know longer spend ages trying to find "what is burning". Instead I see it as a welcome heads-up that a migraine is either on its way in, or (hopefully this week) on its way out. 

Some people are unlucky enough to have these "nasal hallucinations" with sour smells or other nasties like sewage or chemicals. I am fairly ambivalent about mine. The only problem is the effect it has on the taste of my foods. As I haven't been eating much this week thanks to my gastroparesis anyway, it really hasn't effected me that much. In fact I imagine it could greatly improve a spare rib or some pulled pork...

If you do have these symptoms and your GP doesn't know, you should go and speak to them - it can be a symptom of some quite serious illnesses. There is also more information from the NHS here