August 2, 2007 (JB’s birthday! Today my favorite provider of both affection and dutch ovens turns 34. Rejoice!)

After reading through the comments from the more sadistic of you motherfuckers fellow sinus-sufferers in the crowd who recommended “NeilMed Sinus Rinse”, I decided to give it a shot. What the hell, I thought. Can anything be worse than feeling as though a manatee has been lodged in each of my nostrils?

(Ha ha ha ha HAAAAAAAAAAyes.)

I found the kit at a local Walgreen’s, and the first thing I noticed is that the NeilMed comes in a disturbingly large box—disturbing when you consider its purpose, that is. If something is meant to go up my nose, I would prefer it come in some dainty, Hello-Kitty-sized packaging, you know? That sends a nice little message about the relative ease with which it will likely be inserted (excepting bathtub crank, live Texas fire ants, hunks of wasabi, etc), and in comparison a sinus kit the size of a shoebox doesn’t just sit there on the drugstore shelf, it looms.

After clearing my social calendar for the evening, I retreated to the bathroom and opened the kit, which included a largeish plastic bottle, a bunch of saline mix packets, and a fold-out set of instructions. I decided to skip the lengthy how-to in favor of the small laminated quick sheet, which opened with the following:

We strongly advise against the use of our kit for adults who have reduced comprehension.

So I immediately closed the kit and repeatedly attempted to flush it down the toilet, sobbing with frustration when the box refused to be suctioned down the drain.

Not really, but I did re-consider my decision to skip the longer instructions, and scanned through the helpful pamphlet to make sure I wasn’t missing anything crucial, like CONTENTS MAY EXPLODE IF INSERTED IN NOSTRIL.

As it turns out, the process is fairly basic: you fill the bottle with warm water, add the saline mix, shake it don’t stir it, and then it’s party time. Assuming you consider hosing out your snoot with warm salty water a party, and hey, who doesn’t?

Now, I don’t want to say that deliberately putting water in my nose is my, ha ha, worst nightmare or anything, but let me just say this: I have never once been able to jump into a pool without firmly pinching my nostrils shut. In fact, I can’t even dunk my head without holding my nose. Because water . . . in the nose . . . ohgodohgodohgod nooooooo. Okay, so it would be my worst nightmare if I were also speaking in public and being attacked by a grizzly who wasn’t really hungry enough to kill me right away, but rather slowly gnawed me over an hour or so.

Luckily, there were no bears or podiums nearby to contend with, so eventually, after a lot of hyperventilating and clabbering feebly at the bathroom door, I summoned the courage to lean over the sink and squeeze the bottle in one nostril.

Let me give you a piece of advice about the NeilMed Sinus Rinse Kit: if you decide to give it a try and you find yourself in the same virginal situation of feeling water warmly filling up your sinus cavity, resist the (nearly overpowering) urge to fling the bottle aside and scream “HOLY SHIT I AM DROWNING! IT’S JUST LIKE IT WAS DESCRIBED IN THE PERFECT STORM! OH MY GOD I AM HEADING INTO A DARK TUNNEL! HELP! HELP! HELP!” into your comically dripping mirrored reflection.

Yes, there is the slightest hint of a panicky drowning sort of feeling, but if you can wait a second or two, something even more horrible happens! The water that is being pumped into one of your nose-holes . . . will start to trickle out of your other nose-hole! And out of your mouth, a little!

Have you ever barfed so hard that the contents of your stomach came out your nose, and maybe also your eyesockets? Then you know the extreme wrongness that is the sensation of a nasal rinse, although I will concede that the saline mix isn’t burny in the least and is only intolerable if you accidentally swallow a big glurt of it.

It was a singularly unpleasant experience, yet in the name of science I repeated my self-flaggellation on the other nostril. Immediately afterwards I blew my nose—and half my brains came out. And oh my god, the sheer bliss of a productive nose-blow. I can’t even tell you. No, I really can’t, because I’m missing a good chunk of my cerebral cortex now, but I’m pretty sure it was nice.

Despite my reduced comprehension, I did the rinse again this morning. It doesn’t wholly solve the problem of what I think must be swollen nasal passages (thanks, increased blood flow during pregnancy!), but it truly does clear the head. I mean, literally.

Plus, now I can look back on those years of being the only kid in swimming lessons with nose-clips and feel no shame, for I have faced my nightmare, yea, and shoved it right the hell up my nose.

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Kizz
15 years ago

Once you get the hang of it it does feel less like the latter half of A Perfect Storm. But, yeah, those first couple of times, bleargh.

Emily
15 years ago

I wore nose clips, too. And the only liquid I’ve ever been able to snork up my nose is Afrin, so I heartily congratulate you on the saline. I feel the need to blow my nose and be extremely grateful for dry heat right about now.

Oh, and happy birthday, JB!

LauraH
15 years ago

Oh the images! Let’s say I’m glad I used the restroom before reading this post. hehehehehe

Elissa
Elissa
15 years ago

Something perhaps just a tad worse? My hubby does nasal irrigation using a specific attachment on the water pik thingy (“dental water jet”). So imagine doing the flush with pulsating water that keeps going and going and going. It works for him WHEN he actually will use it – I think it’s been about 16 months since he has worked up the courage!

eileen
eileen
15 years ago

Have you tried aromatherapy products?

When I first moved to the PNW, I was overcome with sinus infections for the first time in my life. Nothing helped until, on whim I walked into a Saje (www.saje.ca) outlet in the town I lived in at the time. The manager set me up with a product called “Allergy Release”. I kid you not, within a matter of 15 minutes of applying this stuff around my eye area I started to sneeze everything out. And, for the first time in more than 2 weeks my, seemingly, endless headache started to end. By the next AM, all of it was just a memory.

I’m on the East Coast now (for a few more weeks) and look forward to getting back West and laying in another supply of this stuff.

(I do not work for this company at all. All I know is this particular product works like a charm and is worth the $20 or so dollars for a five year supply.)

eileen

Operation Pink Herring
15 years ago

Over the winter, I was forced to try Afrin for the first time after many sleepless nights of propping myself up on a pillow palace just to try to breathe some damn air. I was so scared, I thought I might cry. It’s just so against human nature to actively snort something up the nose. But it was such a wonderfully magical feeling to breathe unobstructed sweet, sweet oxygen that I soon became addicted to my dear Afrin, and now I know how people get hooked on coke.

breckgirl
breckgirl
15 years ago

Yay, Linda! There probably aren’t many people who would take great pleasure in reading that post but I did because – yeah, I just went through this whole thing, too. It’s gross but you know what? You might come toa actually look forward to it. My husband has one of his “colds” and says he is going to try it out tonight. I told him we could do it together – like a date. Romance… Glad you gave it a go and I hope it help you out.

Dawna
Dawna
15 years ago

It’s estrogen. No, seriously. A few months or so after you’ve given birth have your hormones tested. You may need to take a little progesterone to balance out your estrogen levels.

I’m (hopefully) ending a 5 + year journey of depression caused by what I now know to be hormone problems. They’ve been really bad recently, and for the last year or so I’ve had major sinus and nasal issues. I just started taking a progesterone supplement under the guidance of a naturopath, and I woke up this morning and I could breathe! Miracle of all miracles!

But, my regular doctors knew nothing about this and would not even test my hormones. The naturopath wanted to do that first thing. See one :)

Anyway, yes. Nasal and sinus issues blow. Heh. Heh heh.

Shana
Shana
15 years ago

Why didn’t you try a Neti Pot?

Pete
Pete
15 years ago

Another thing added to my list of “Things not to do”

Pete
Pete
15 years ago

BTW, Happy Birthday JB

Ashley
15 years ago

So I am fairly certain you are a master Yogi now. This is ancient shit right here, it sounds like someone just repackaged the Neti Pot. And you tell that bad ass husband of yours HAPPY MOTHERFUCKING BIRTHDAY!

karamarie
15 years ago

Are you going to buy a Neti Pot now? Often, during sinus infections, I’ve wished I was brave enough to try this. Maybe I will next time. It seems to make more since than snuffling chemicals, at any rate. Hooray for your bravery!

Quiana
15 years ago

I have the same stuffy nose/headache issue and if I use a neti pot everyday for a few days, it usually clears up.
I’m especially prone to sinus infections and the neti pot really help.
The creepy drowning sensation is much less scary once you are used to it.

I waited years before working up the nerve to try it (recommended by my dippy yoga instructor), and I really wish I had just balled up and tried it then.

serror
serror
15 years ago

Shana-
In many of yesterdays comments people suggested the Neilmed over Neti pots. It is the same idea as a neti pot, but a little easier to use, in my opinion.

GO LINDA! Not the most pleasant experience but worth the results!

Swistle
15 years ago

Happy birthday, JB!

Erica
15 years ago

I have been trying to get my husband – who has severe allergies year round – to try usung a Neti pot (which sounds pretty similar, but more gentle), but he refuses. I don’t think I’ll let him read about your experience, despite its success.

Also, happy birthday, JB! (My birthday is tomorrow!)

Caley
15 years ago

Ohhh, how I wish I had known about the torture that is the NeilMed kit 8 weeks ago when I was at the HEIGHT of my own prenatal head-suffocating nasal stuffiness! It’s good to hear you have found a little relief.

warcrygirl
15 years ago

HAHAHAHAHA! I had the exact same thing happen during my second pregnancy, by my 6th month I was snoring so loudly Hubby had to sleep at the opposite end of the house…and I still kept him awake. I’m pretty sure if I had heard of this kit I would have tried it. Oh yeah, happy birthday JB!

Jennifer
Jennifer
15 years ago

I am a HUGE FAN of the NeilMed sinus rinse (didn’t get the chance to chime in on your previous post, so I’m glad you decided to get one). I really do look forward to using it. I bend over the sink far enough so that all of the “backwash” comes out of the opposite nostril, because then you can’t taste the saltwater like when some of it seeps down the back of your throat. Yeah the first time I hyperventilated and ended up getting saltwater all over the floor, but after you get the hang of it, it is SUCH a relief to have a productive nose-blow.

I hope it helps you through your 9 months of congestion. It’s handy to have around when you get a cold, too.

I want to know what kind of cake JB is getting for his birthday… some beautiful artistic creation? Photos please!

kb
kb
15 years ago

I have never laughed so hard in my life! This is such a classic post.

Jem
Jem
15 years ago

Happy Birthday, JB!

I too can’t handle the feeling of water in my nose. I always block my nose with my hand, and the only way I got past that was by breathing out through my nose while I dunked my head, and that is definately in second place. And I also have really bad sinuses ’cause of my extreme hayfever. The doctors once thought I had a brain tumour and made me have a CT scan when it was just my stupid sinus disease…I pretty much live with a constant cold – blocked sinuses, blowing my nose every ten seconds, swollen and itchy eyes, etc. I really want to try what you did but I’m terrified. but not having to blow my nose all day would be SO GOOD.

excuse me, I have to go blow my nose..not kidding

Mel
Mel
15 years ago

Reading that post made me feel guilty for using the saline solution on Ian. I mean, I already felt guilty because I would have to hold him down with my legs, pinning his hands under the backs of my needs as I sat straddling him. Ugh! I’m glad it helped, though, and I may have to consider such a thing as I just found we’re expecting ou second.

Happy birthday, JB. I hope it’s a good one.

Christina
15 years ago

O M G… tears running down my cheeks! Thanks!

Amber
15 years ago

Happy Birthday JB, and to Sundry I say, you paint a very vivid picture. I laughed, and laughed. At your expense, but I’m sure you understand. Goodluck with the nose treatments in the future!

Kimberly
Kimberly
15 years ago

I started with NeliMed (whatever it’s called) after having sinus surgery and it was wonderful in comparision to doing that syringe thing they say to do. When I use mine, I do it in the shower. I hold one nostril shut while I shoot into the open one. it works like charm for me. I call it Crack Cocaine for Allergy Sufferers.

Sara
15 years ago

Hee! Very funny. Also, happy birthday JB!

kristin
kristin
15 years ago

holy mother of god. I am sitting at work…screaming out in laughter. this is the funniest damn post…

jen
jen
15 years ago

haha you are very brave!

Ulli
Ulli
15 years ago

I am such a Sundry groupie…….uhm, so I tagged you. Not that you have time for that between blowing the nose and drowning, but if you are stop by. ;)

JennyM
JennyM
15 years ago

“Hosing out your snoot!”

“Reduced comprehension!”

I’ve been so afraid to try this or a neti pot, even though I have this nagging feeling that it’s exactly what I need to do to clear up the constant pressure and headaches. I, too, have a paralyzing fear of WATER in my NOSE ARRRGGGHH.

But I’m going to give it a shot, since you seem to have survived.

Tuesday
15 years ago

I have a neti pot which I guess is very similar. I love it and although very strange, I love it now.

Erica
15 years ago

On a totally unrelated note…. how’d your hair turn out? It’s not fair that you asked for advice on haircuts and we got a “before” photo, but no “after” photo!

So there!

Amy M.
Amy M.
15 years ago

Happy Birthday JB!

As a chronic allergy sufferer, I have been tempted to try a Neti pot based on countless recommendations. However, I’ve been too scared to use it becuase I, too, have a thing about water-up-the-nose. Maybe your post has given me the courage to try it! Perhaps my coworkers will stop looking for the sad walrus making the strange snuffling noises.

Andrea
Andrea
15 years ago

Yeah, I heard the Neti Pot works WONDERS! Although the demo video is a little…..strange.

http://www.himalayaninstitute.org/Netipot/NetiPotGateway.aspx

victoria
victoria
15 years ago

“No, I really can’t, because I’m missing a good chunk of my cerebral cortex now, but I’m pretty sure it was nice.” Mwhahahaha. Hey, you now you’ve survived preeclapsia AND a nasal rinse!

Josh
Josh
15 years ago

Happy birthday JB. Have fun hiking, or leaping over fences, or going to sleep early. Whatever you do for fun. I am pretty sure it won’t be that nasal deuche thing Sundry just described in horrifying but hilarious detail. What kind of sick fucker came up with that idea? It will be a cold day in hell before I ever put another thing up my nose besides my finger. Sinuses be damned. But it was a great post. I would have enjoyed the laughing if it weren’t for the incredibly sore muscles in the gut area where my abs would be if I hadn’t liquified them yesterday. I guess you could say I enjoyed the spasms of pain.

And where can you score some of this neti pot everyone keeps raving about. I can only find the regular kind.

Leslie
Leslie
15 years ago

I was at a play Tuesday night, and a man in the audience kept loudly blowing his nose, and it was one of those blows of machine-gun-fire snot rockets rather than solid congestion, if you know what I mean. Part of me was horrified that he was doing it in public, while the other part knew how gooood that felt.

Junni
Junni
15 years ago

I know I’m a sadistic psycho for suggesting it, but it is a little drop of sinus relief heaven! I had chronic sinusitis so I used it for some relief and then used it after I had sinus surgery. It was GROSS (think red egg yolks) after surgery, but it was such a beautiful thing to be able to breathe and not hear snot rolling around.

On that note, HAPPY BIRTHDAY JB!!

Junni
Junni
15 years ago

And if you’re feeling really sadistic…watch THIS:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQm7YpxgOnA

Alex
15 years ago

Happy Birthday, JB!

TB
TB
15 years ago

Oh. My. God. Every bit of that post made me squirm and feel a little sick. Some people swear by neti pots though for use as an every day preventative. Not for me.

superblondgirl
15 years ago

You are a braver woman than I. Even nasal drops freak me the fuck out.

Angella
15 years ago

Awww…I had a stuffy nose with all three of my pregnancies. I slept on, like three pillows all propped up like a Queen. It helped, but I felt pretentious. I never thought of nasal drops, but I’m glad I didn’t :)

tanya
tanya
15 years ago

I am so proud of you! Way to face the demons!

Samantha jo campen
15 years ago

I am in awe. I’m too scared to try anything like that. Ich. And why do people snort coke? Crazee bastards!

thejunebug
15 years ago

Did I say Happy Birthday to JB yet? I can’t remember- it’s been a crazy few days. :) But Happy Birthday, JB!

Jay turned 34 this past March, and I absolutely can’t wait till next year when he hits 35. *plots evilly* So begins the slow slide to 40… which I can say with glee since I’m still in my 20s. ;)

Gentry
15 years ago

What about just snorting straight salt? I’m pretty sure I could do that.

I too, am a nose plug lover, and suffer from chronic sinusitis. I’m pretty sure if I went to my local pharmacy here in Paris, they would recommend a suppository (French people love suppositories…you heard it here first). If you get sick of your kit, will you mail it to me?

laughing mommy
15 years ago

I’m not sure if anybody has mentioned this to you yet or not, but this is what worked for me during both of my pregnancies where my nose was stuffed up 24/7. (Actually it was swollen nasal passages, not “stuffed up” but whatever!)

At bed time I would spray each nostril with saline nose spray (to keep it moist up there). Then I would put on a Breathe Right Nasal Strip. This helped me breath so much easier all night long. Unfortunately they look really really dorky on, otherwise I would have worn them all day long every day of both my pregnancies. The strip holds your nostrils open a little bit and makes extra breathing space I guess.

It is probably worth a try before you blow any more liquid up your nose. (?)

Good luck and my heartfelt sympathy.

Alley
Alley
15 years ago

First, Happy Birthday to JB! May he enjoy many a sausage or whatever kind of manly thing he’s decided on.

You are braver than I. I was suffering from sinusitis and refused to do any of those saline snort things beyond the misty bottle things you find by the Nasonex, so I just went to my doctor and she prescribed me some pill to take for three days along with the Super Speshul Mucinex that they keep behind the counters nowadays. Oh, and then Afrin for good luck. Worked fairly well but I learned that (1) Mucinex tastes like hell and they really need to make a gelcap out of that shit, and (2) hey, when the back of the Afrin bottle says not to use it for more than 3 days or your nasal passages will become clogged again, it’s totally not kidding! So, yeah, you have my sympathy and I hope breathing remains less manatee-like for you.