Saturday, November 24, 2007

Snot funny

Unpleasant experience today. Far more stressful, even, then taking three high-strung children under the age of five to the mall on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. For lunch. With no real game plan, or even a restraining device.

No: that was leisurely when compared to my first attempt with a Neti pot.

Over an uninterrupted four-year span of either gestating, birthing or nursing babies, I developed this weird quirk: I eschew medication whenever possible.

Drives my mother bonkers. But that's not why I do it. No, that's just a fringe benefit.

I just figured, with my own warped logic, if it's of questionable risk to take these compounds and pills when I'm growing a kiddo, then how safe is it when it's just... me?

Now, I'm not completely consistent about this philosophy: when Trey came down with strep last year, I took note of what a miserable lump he was, and went running to my doctor the instant my throat felt a little scratchy. I knew he'd toss a z-pack my way without blinking, and he didn't disappoint.

A pretty hypocritical act from the same person who rages against the overuse of antibiotics, but there you have it.

And I do recognize the blessing, the luxury I have, of being able to forego medication most of the time. Because most of the time, I'm pretty healthy. [Knock on wood.] So most of the time [knock on wood], if I come down with a little bug [knock on wood], it's nothing that some extra sleep, better hydration and steamy showers can't cure. [Knock on wood.]

So that's my feeling about this current ick, which is why I spent most of Turkey Day thudded over, under the covers. And I do feel better, much better. But my sinuses: well, I'm really sick and tired of my sinuses, and I suspect they're not too happy with me.

I can breathe, but only from one nostril, and only when I'm hopping on my left foot. Or: I'm totally congested no matter what I do or say or think. Or: I sneeze once, then spend the next half-hour camped out with a box of kleenex. And always, always, my nose is noisy. Blech.

So today seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out the nifty Neti pot I saw at Whole Foods a few weeks ago. My friend trabilcobb had given the practice rave reviews, and I'd read the testimonies of total strangers: sold, I was sold. Excited, even.

Trey eyed the whole business with skepticism and a note of anxiety tinged with humor. What if you die? he asked. I seriously doubt this will kill me, I said, but why don't you stay close, just in case?

So I read the directions for the dozenth time, warmed up the water, stirred in the non-iodized salt, poured it into the small ceramic pot and... stared at it, a little petrified.

Oh, go on, said Trey. Nothing to be scared about. Look at the picture on the box: she's smiling. She's happy! This will be fun.

Fine. Nothing to lose, everything to gain. I took a deep breath, leaned over the sink, tilted my head, gently poured warm salty water into my right nostril, and immediately began hacking and coughing and gasping for air. Aw, this sucks, I said. I can't do it.

Sure, you can, Trey said. You just have to tilt your head a little more. See? See the picture? And it says you have to put your forehead in line with your chin. Are you putting your forehead in line with your chin? Although, really, isn't your forehead naturally in line with your chin? What the heck are they driving at here?

Of course, this gave me a case of the giggles, but I decided to give it another try while Trey offered support and advice.

No, he said, you're not forming a seal. You need to form a seal! A SEAL. You know: ark ark ark. At which point he began clapping his hands together.

That did it. Now I was laughing AND drowning in lukewarm salty water of my own making. Which is, really, more fun than should be allowed on a Saturday morning while the muppers sit in the happy thrall of another episode of Max & Ruby.

I gave it a few more attempts, but they only left me with burning nostrils and a deep-seated loathing of the happy woman on the Neti pot box. Dejected, I e-mailed trabilcobb and told her of my failure. Totally without her permission, I'm copying her reply here:

Oh, to have been a fly on the wall. The Neti pot, she is tricky even without laughing. But saltwater in the nose and giggling definitely do not mix. In fact, you are not supposed to make a seal (or to be one. I can't imagine a seal would need a pot to flush its sinuses.), at least if my yoga teacher was showing us right. I think if you do it right it is supposed to go in one nostril and out the other. (I just realized I don't think I ever in my life written out the word nostril.) I pour it in and try to swish it around the sinuses while leaving the whole facial cavity open. The more I type, the more I realize I will just have to bring mine when we come up to Dallas for a visit.

I just love her. How many friends do you have who will offer a demonstration of sinus irrigation for your illumination? Not many, I'll bet.

But just between you and me, I'm seriously considering a late-night run to Walgreens.


Blogger Nicole Polk said...

Hey Amy,
I love reading your blog from time to time and seeing how you and the family are doing. Here is a link to what my stepdad does for his sinuses. Similar, but maybe more effective?! Good luck

6:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love love love this.

I also eschew medicine whenever possible, but a neti pot is a bit too much even for my liberal hippie dippie sensibilities. I once went to a walk in clinic for a sinus infection, and had a young obviously-fresh-out-of-medical-school eager beaver intern try to sell me on the benefits of a neti pot. I listened politely, made some "oh really?" "hmmm" pseudo-interested conversation, and then took the script for antibiotics and ran.

And I heart Trey. I can totally picture him doing this.

8:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, dear, snot funny at all. Don't you remember Aunt Carrie helping Uncle Jim "irrigate his sinuses"? My bedroom in the Riverwood house backed up to the guest bathroom, and you would not believe the snorts and snuffs coming through the walls during that procedure. Sounded like Shamu in there - frightening. Go to the doctor - puh-leeze! Hope you feel better soon. Love, Ma

11:25 AM  
Blogger anniemcq said...

Alrighty - As a former neti pot user, I am coming to your rescue. There is something that you can use, that is similar to the neti pot, without all the tilting and burning of sinuses (sinusi?), AND with no medication that will dry you out like a raisin from the inside out, and you can get it at Walgreens. It's called NeilMed Sinus rinse, and it's got these great little packets of saline stuff you mix with water. Yes, yes, I know, saline is salt, but this stuff has taken out the "burns so bad it makes your eyeballs run screaming from their sockets" part, and just left the stuff that makes the water clean and sanitary. And cleansing. But before you use it, I suggest you steam with a bowl of boiling water to which you add four to five drops of tea tree oil, put a towel over your head and inhale. You will breathe this for approximately one minute, while stamping the floor like a horse, because it goes directly to your sinus cavities and scrapes them out with a metal brush. THEN you will do the sinus rinse. If you do it with them packed with gunk, it might go places it's not supposed to. But I promise that if you follow these directions, you will marvel wondrously at the amazing amount of goob that comes out, and if I were there, I would totally comment on the color and weight. Because I'm disgusting like that.

What can I say? I think we inherited out sinuses (sinusi?) from our mother. Feel better soon, sistah!

3:22 PM  
Anonymous trabilcobb said...

Goodness, had I known I was going to be quoted, I would have been wittier or worn make up.

Looking forward to our Neti party, even if you throw the thing away after.

6:04 PM  
Blogger Heroes for Children said...

OMG--I'm laughing hysterically at the visual of this!!

My FIL swears by the Neti Pot, but Andrew is adamant on not trying. Even though he is miserable with sinus issues all.the.time.

Hope you are starting to feel better!

6:24 PM  
Anonymous lreheiser said...

Anniemcq saved me from writing all about the Neilmed sinus rinse that I swear I just used without incident 5 minutes before reading your blog. Much better than the nettipot.

Sorry you are feeling poorly. I have come down with something myself and my sweet husband let me while away 3 hours in bed today!

6:27 PM  
Blogger I, Rodius said...

And now I will attempt to forever change your neti pot experience:

[sung to the tune of The Chordettes' "Lollipop"]

Neti pot, neti pot
Oh neti neti neti
Neti pot, neti pot

If you're like me, you will now sing that chorus quietly to yourself every time you reach for your neti pot. You're welcome!

9:13 AM  
Anonymous MarysMom said...

My medication of choice is Vicks Vaporub. Rub it on your chest, inhale the minty vapors and congestion clears up within 10 minutes. Really. I use this on me and on my 5-year-old daughter, oh, my husband loves it, too. My daughter would not take cough/cold medicine and I hate giving it to her as most of the time, she would throw up right after. Vicks helps a lot. Try it. (Though, sometimes, my daighter gets itchy on her chest, its still worth it--- then, she can breathe).

9:08 AM  
Blogger Franklin5 said...

Hey, marysmom! Another lifetime fan of Vicks here. When my father was a boy, he used to eat a spoonfull of the stuff whenever he was under the weather. Blurgh.

Thankfully, I was never subjected to this treatment, but a little smear of it on my chest when I'm congested? Aaaaahhh. That's good healing.

Only problem with Vaporub, really, is that it lacks a nice jingle, unlike my beloved (not really, but I'm trying) neti pot. Hey, Rodius: think you're up for the challenge?

12:04 PM  
Blogger Franklin5 said...

P.S. NICOLE POLK! No kidding, I was just thinking about you the other day. Probably because I was making that oh-my-God-what-have-I-gotten-myself-into face that you so perfectly captured on film when you were here. Remember the one? Running to e-mail you now...

12:06 PM  
Blogger I, Rodius said...

Uh, sure.

Vaporub, vaporub
Oh vapo vapo vapo
vaporub, vaporub

Hmm... Not quite the same pop to it.

7:01 PM  

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