I went back to work yesterday after a few days off (see previous post for all the fun), and was so happy to be back there, not just because I love my job, but because of the people I work with.  I love being surrounded by people who are good at what they do and are passionate about it.  And the fact that they’re all so much better cooks than I am gives me something to work toward.

But it’s not just that, either.

It’s this….

I still felt tired when I went back to work.  My head still felt kind of fuzzy…not dizzy any more, but like something was still…off.  Not bad enough to stay  home, but enough to make me feel run down.

And apparently I sounded “nasally.”  I couldn’t hear it, because my own voice always sounds horrible to my own ears (which is why Bill records the message on our answering machine), but this is what I was told.  And that led to a lengthy and wonderful discussion at work about sinuses and neti pots.

Had I ever tried using a neti pot?  Well no, I hadn’t…Bill did once or twice some time ago, but I hadn’t.  Yet.  Maybe I should….

(And yes, that’s what we talk about in professional kitchens, people.  Neti pots, Eustachian tubes, mucus, and ear wax.  Not every day, mind you.  Just when situations call for it.  And not the whole day.  Just here and there.  In between and in and around everything else.)

I love getting advice from women in the know.

Anyway, with all that encouragement, I had to try it.

So I did. 

I watched a video on youtube (rather disturbing, the calm expression on the woman’s face as she shoves the spout of the neti pot in one nostril and, unblinking and without changing expression one iota, tilts her head and water drains from her other nostril, like she’s just turned the handle of an internal faucet), read some instructions online and in the instruction booklet, and, with words of wisdom from work lingering in my mind too (“it’s weird…but cool!”), I embarked.

Some advice I was given – the water should be body temperature.  Makes sense – less shocking to the system, I figured.  And the water needs to be distilled or sanitized, according to instruction booklet.  We have distilled water (Bill uses it in the airlocks when he’s making beer.) but I didn’t want to use that up, so I boiled some and then let it cool to about 97F.

No more delays.  Time to face the saline.

I poured my sterilized and cooled water into the blue plastic pot, added the little pre-mixed packet of saline and baking soda (the baking soda is supposed to further soften the mixture, so your nose doesn’t sting), made sure the bathroom door was locked and the loud ceiling fan was on (I don’t like audiences), I positioned the spout in my right nostril and tried to tilt my head like that woman in the video. 

It felt weird.  I can’t even explain it.  It just felt weird.  I’m not a person who ordinarily puts anything UP my nose, particularly liquid anything, so the sensation of the water flowing around in there was…well…weird.

As I was warned, my eyes watered.  I mentally checked that off the list as well.

Weird feeling – check!

Watery eyes – check!

And then…it worked.  Water came running out of my left nostril.

I had to tilt my head ever so slightly this way and that at times, because sometimes the water would run down the back of my throat, or elsewhere in the labyrinth of sinus passages in my head, and I’d feel a tiny sense of panic.  I had to spit or snort water out once or twice as I found my way, but that’s to be expected.  I’m new at this.

It was weird.  But it was cool.

So, when I thought (incorrectly, it turns out) that I’d used about half the water (8 oz.), I switched nostrils.

I had more difficulty on the left side, perhaps because I’m right-handed.  But I managed to get things flowing properly, though  not consistently.  There was more snorting and spluttering and spitting.

But still.

I did it!

After you do each nostril you’re supposed to “gently expel” the water and any accompanying mucus from your nose by basically blowing your nose into the sink.  Gently.  And wipe with a tissue.  (Your nose.) 

Then it’s time to wash out the neti pot and let it air dry. 

And that was it!  Pretty simple (despite my snorting and spitting) and pretty quick. 

And best of all…I felt…cleaned out.  It was like the breathing space in my head had expanded.  I don’t know how else to describe the feeling.  That’s pretty much it.  And I didn’t feel fuzzy-headed either!

This morning I did it again.

This time around I didn’t immediately feel that breathing space expansion.  Instead, I’ve been sneezing occasionally – great big loud sneezes – and my nose is occasionally runny.  But no pressure in my head.  And I think whatever was causing the pressure (fluid build-up in my sinuses somewhere in my head, I’m assuming) is draining out (probably frightened by all that snorting and spitting I’ve started doing).

I did a lot of reading about the use of the neti pot (and looked at lot of them online – so tempting to buy handmade ceramic neti pots on Etsy for the whole family – yay, a reason to shop!) and – next step in my typical jumping-in-with-both-feet enthusiastic behavior – talked to Alex about using one.  He’s got allergies – not food, but probably dust, perhaps the cats – and is constantly – despite allergy meds – suffering from a stuffy and sniffely nose. 

I think this could help him.

I told him about it and even (perhaps this wasn’t the best idea) showed him the video of the expressionless woman using the neti pot.  He reacted – predictably – with horror at that, but I also found and showed him video clips of little kids using the neti pot as well.  He didn’t really want to see any more (really, Alex?  You don’t want to watch people pouring water in one nostril and out the other?  It’s a magic show!) but he didn’t seem completely against the idea either.  I think he would be totally thrilled to not be stuffed up all the time, no matter what he had to do to accomplish this.

So, after I dropped the kids off at school, I went right over to CVS and bought two more neti pots.  Yes, I’m going to teach Julia, too. 

I’m on a mission now.  But a gentle mission.  A mission of health.  And of being able to breath through our noses.

I have a feeling Bill will join the fun, too. 

We’ll be a four-neti-pot home!

We’ll be weird.  But cool.

5 thoughts on “Irrigation

  1. I’ve heard such great things about neti pots but have never had the courage to try one myself. I may consider it the next time I’m stuffed up (although maybe that’s not the best time to learn?)

  2. Hi Kat!

    Well, the main video I was talking about is

    but if you read the comments, a lot of people are concerned about the person using tap water, after, I think, two people died after using unsafe tap water in Louisiana. I boiled my tap water, but not everyone does. Or you can use distilled. The video I showed to Alex wasnt actually with a kid using a neti pot, she was using a sinus rinse bottle, but its a cute video –

    and then theres also this little boy –

    again with the tube. I just found this one, and its
    my favorite of all of them –

  3. ummm…..your readers want to see the usual set of progressive photos that usually accompany your posts….(grin).

  4. Heh… a Neti was recommended to me, and I tried and I tried to get it to work right… until I went to an ENT doc, who took one look up my nose and said there was no way, no how that I should Neti. Apparently I am (or my nose is) too delicate.

    I am sort of disappointed… I was looking for the great sinus relief. Boo.

Leave a Reply