Burnt Out

I woke yesterday, or maybe the day before, and heard the Radio Doctor (as in, the physician who is often interviewed on radio, and not the person who repairs ailing radios. Not that there’s anything wrong with the latter; radio repair is a noble profession. It’s just that in this instance, it was the physician who…oh look what you’ve done. You’ve got me stream-of-consciousness rambling again. Clever you!) talking about seasonal allergies and how to deal with them. Apparently May and June are, as Bumblebutt the Dog would say, “tarebubble” for pollen, and, in Saskatchewan, snow mold.

A hand reaches for a bottle of tablets marked "allergy" that sits on a round, patterned tabletop. Used tissues appear slightly out of focus in the foreground.
Photo by cottonbro: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-holding-allergy-medicine-bottle-6865181/

Now, I never used to have allergies. Or if I did, they were so mild as to be nearly completely unnoticeable (other than the allergy to peppers that made my throat close up at a night of beer and nachos. I noticed that.). Then I got pregnant. Now, I have allergies. I don’t know what I’m allergic to, other than dust (dust is a jerk; I remember the exact moment in my pregnancy when I developed a dust allergy). I assumed I’d “get over” my allergies once I “got over” my pregnancy. I also thought my feet would go back to their normal size, my boobs would deflate, and my memory would go back to normal.

To sum up: none of that happened. After The Captain was born, I remained an absentminded, Goddess-shaped sneezer with gigantic feet. After The Nipper was born, my boobs had their own gravitational pull, I developed allergies to snow mold and *something else*, and my hips acquired their own postal code. Note: I am fine with all of this – do not let the terrors that pregnancy inflicts bar you from acquiring your own children if you so desire. Nothing wrong with adoption, either.

Anyway, the point of this post isn’t actually “I Had Two Babies And You Won’t Believe What Happened” clickbait. The point of this post is about nasal lavage.

“Oh good,” you say. “That sounds completely revolting. Why, cenobyte? Why.”

Back to the Radio Doctor. He said that rinsing out your sinuses during allergy season will help alieviate your symptoms. As I had been dealing with Horrible Pressure Headaches and flonky eyes and the whole nine yards, I thought, hey, yeah, I do neti pot stuff periodically! I should fill up my skull holes with saline and then snork it all out into a clear bowl so I can examine the crud that accumulates in there and then disgust everyone in my immediate “vinicity”, as the CFL Refs say, as a “sinus and nasal detritus raconteur”. It’s the job Mom always wanted me to have.

So, I mixed up my saline per the instructions on WebMD, boiled my water and let it cool, mixed everything together, and confidently burned out my nasal and sinus passages by using FAR too strong a saline solution. Turns out there must have been a typo on that page because holy fuck do human sinuses not like 3tsp of non-iodised salt + 1tsp of baking soda per cup of water. I remember thinking “that seems like an AWFUL lot of salt”. YES SIREE. Boy howdy that was uncomfortable.

Here’s the thing, dear reader: I HAVE DONE EXACTLY THE SAME THING BEFORE.

Now, before you go on with helpful suggestions like “you know you can buy pre-mixed packets of saline solute”, WHICH I ALREADY KNOW, let me assure you I have SEVERAL of those little packets in a VERY SAFE PLACE (re: I looked for them for three quarters of an hour). The point here is that when you rinse out your face holes with suuuuuuper salty water, your eyes run and you drool and you gag and everything that might have thought about living in your sinuses just immediately dries up and dies. I now have snot liches. SNOTLICHES.

After I recovered somewhat from the burning, I added what was left of the SUPER STRONG SALT SOLUTION to nearly a litre of water, and redid the rinse and that saline solution was like flushing my sinuses with roses and satin. Only there was a problem.

Photo by Pixabay: https://www.pexels.com/photo/close-up-photo-of-rodent-and-person-160411/

I couldn’t smell anything. I completely burned out my olfactory factory. Which sent me into an immediate panic. Friend, the depths of my lizard hind-brain were convinced I had somehow, in the half-hour it had taken to sear the innards of my sinuses, given myself COVID. I couldn’t smell, I couldn’t taste, I couldn’t see, and I was coughing up ropey drool. FUN.

Rest assured, dear reader, after the second flush (with solution more akin to tears rather than to the Dead Sea), I began to feel better. Last night, I had a lovely, snore-free sleep. This morning I flushed again (with the tears solution, not the Dead Sea solution). Today, aside from slightly watery eyes (which, admiteddly, could very well be the result of FILLING MY SINUS CAVITY WITH PURE SALT, an activity even the ancient Egyptians do not recommend, rather than due to seasonal pollens and molds), I feel great! My nose is clear, not runny at all; I can breathe; I can smell; I can taste, and my chronic throat-clearing/coughing is much tamed.

The moral of this story is: don’t believe everything you read on the Internet.


6 responses to “Burnt Out”

  1. DerKaptin Avatar

    Thanks so much for your fulsome, colourful description. I now have no need/desire for several lunches. Of all the things I’ve put up my nose in my life, salt was the least favourite. Followed closely by pencil lead, rapid-test swabs, etc.

    1. cenobyte Avatar

      I might be the only person on earth who doesn’t mind nasal rapid-test swabs. I don’t LOVE them, but if I had to compare them to, say, pap smears? I’ll go with rapid-test swabs.

      Also, you’re welcome!

  2. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Avatar

    I have a Neti pot – but it wouldn’t have occurred to me to use it for allergies. Huh. Great idea (maybe you should have searched the internet for more than one salt-proportions recipe?).

    Glad it worked on the second try, and you didn’t damage anything permanently.

    1. cenobyte Avatar

      Oh, I DID search the Internet for more than one saline solution recipe. I chose to go with the WebMD one because WebMD is USUALLY pretty good.

      I think I had the EXACT SAME THOUGHT the LAST time I burnt out my nasal cavity.

  3. Alice Avatar

    Hello – my dentist recommends rinsing with several MILD salt water solutions a day for throat, nose, and mouth infections or simple skin irritations. She says that nothing in her arsenal of tools works as well or without ANY side effects. Glad you are feeling better.

    1. cenobyte Avatar

      Great advice!

      I think the most important thing is to use distilled or well-boiled water and the proper saline solution recipe.

      MILD indeed.

i make squee noises when you tell me stuff.

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