When Sinuses Attack, or Neti Pot 101

20 Mar

I'm supposed to stick this where?

Earlier this week, I seriously debated whether I’d be willing to give up part of my little finger (either one, I don’t think the right is more essential than the left, do you?) if I could only have my breathing back.  I know, you’re thinking, what are you talking about?  What do you mean, your breathing?  To which I say, your breathing, that inconsequential thing that happens without you even noticing.  The gentle rise and fall of your chest cavity.  The instinctual filling of your lungs.  The totally-taken-for-granted movement of air from outside your body into your body and then back out again.  That breathing.

Sometime between Saturday and Sunday, I lost that.  Or rather, I lost the ease of it, the dependability, the shear pleasure of something happening without me even thinking about it.  What happened is that my sinuses when kerfluey, kaput, kaboom.  What really bugs me, still, to this breathing-mercifully-restored-to-normal day, is I don’t know why.  But one day (Friday), I was fine, eating breakfast, sipping coffee, trekking to Trader Joe’s for addictive goat’s milk yogurt and sprouted wheat bread, and the next, my nasal passages were closing, shrinking, killing off my link to pure, free oxygen.

The curious thing is that even as my congestion increased, to the point on Wednesday night where I began to think about making a deal with the devil with my pinkie finger, the drippage did not.  I went through three boxes of Kleenex between Saturday evening and Thursday morning.  THREE boxes, people.  CityBoy was both alarmed and disgusted by the litter of crushed white tissue that sprouted anywhere I settled for more than five minutes.

I tried cold medications, allergy meds, more vitamins, chamomile tea, Vicks VapoRub (my mother’s all-time go-to drug), cold compresses, opening the windows, closing the windows, drinking lots of fluids.  Then, just before I sold my pinkie, a hero arrived, a knight in bright armor, a white-hatted savior I call…Neti Pot.

(And here, let me digress for a few lines on the wonders of Facebook.  Yes, you heard me.  Facebook.  Because this is how my shining rescuer revealed himself (herself? itself?), through the generous postings of fellow sinus sufferers, all true humanitarians, each and every one of them.  God bless ’em and god bless Facebook.)

Anyway, back to the Neti Pot.  In case you haven’t heard, this is both the most wondrous weapon against hay fever (or allergic rhinitis, for you fancy folks) and possibly the grossest thing you’d be willing to do to yourself.  The Pot is literally a little teapot shaped thing that you fill with lukewarm water and a little salt, and then pour, head tilted just so, into one nostril until the stream exits the other nostril.  Gross, huh?  Just thinking about it makes me gag a little.

But it works, at least as long as you don’t drown yourself.  (And yes, for those of you shaking your heads and saying, oh, Jho, you can’t drown yourself with the Neti Pot, I say, yes, yes you can.  Or okay, maybe you can’t “drown,” but you sure as hell could choke to death, as I almost did.)  This woman is a Neti Pot master.

My technique leaves much to be desired (somehow I’m unable to find that calm, relaxed oasis in the midst of pouring liquid into my nose).  But I’m happy to report that my $3 Neti Pot (75% off at my local CVS – woo hoo!) has managed to restore that beautiful thing called my breathing.  I don’t know that I’m ever going to be comfortable enough to incorporate it into my daily or even weekly routine (the pamphlet in the box says some people use it every day, like their toothbrush or floss!!  Crazy masochists!), I’m glad to know that sometimes shooting things from your nose can be a good thing.

All hail the Neti Pot,



2 Responses to “When Sinuses Attack, or Neti Pot 101”

  1. Josephine April 4, 2010 at 8:49 pm #

    hi jho!

    i use a neti pot too! and i am a dedicated disciple. my roommate is a recent convert too.

    i am your fan. and guess what? i am your cousin. and if you don’t mind. i admire you from afar!

    happy easter! for christians, easter is every day!


    josephine aberia-fernandez

    • jhointhecity April 5, 2010 at 1:17 pm #

      Josephine, it’s nice to hear from you. I’m glad you’ve had success with the neti pot. I haven’t used mine since my attack, but it’s ever-ready.
      I hope you continue to enjoy the posts. I’m hoping to be a little more active now the spring is here and the weather in NYC is more pleasant for exploring.
      Take care, cousin. All the best, Jho

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