For the past eight days I have been suffering a common cold. Therefore, I have been feeling rather lackluster. At first, I was in denial of the obvious that I was falling ill. The first signs of my oncoming illness were nasal congestion and sneezing, that I initially experienced in a screening room last week. I assumed that I was sitting near someone with a cat, since I am deathly allergic to kitties, and this is a normal reaction I have to cat people. My brother, Axel, is a bonafide cat-man. Whenever I’m in his presence, I sneeze frequently. Oddly, though, when Lola and I saw the play Grey Gardens at the Walter Kerr Theater three years ago, I had a sneezing fit when several cats were projected on a screen at the rear of the stage. Lola handled my distress with her usual compassion. She bellowed in a loud whisper, “You’re looking at pictures of cats! Stop sneezing!”
What I have now is definitely a cold for I am in my very own no cat zone sanctum sanctorum sneezing thunderously as snow falls at a steady clip outside my window. This has been a very snow-packed winter. It is definitely not one of those years where we’ve only had a pathetic dusting and we’re all saying knowledgably to one another, “Global warming.” As I look out my window, I’m seeing vivid proof of global cooling, as well as major roof shoveling. Mounds of snow are flying off my roof and landing with loud thuds. One of the guys who maintains my building is shoveling snow off the roof, proving that there are worse jobs out there than being the sap who cleans out the Ricola horn.
My friend, Roz, who has just recovered from a cold, emails me: try a neti pot – i hear they are great. i have one but have never used it.
I email her back: They make me nervous. I fear all the crap I’ll try to flush out will somehow slide down my throat instead of out the other nostril and I’ll gag endlessly.
Roz responds: I understand about the neti pot – I bought it 2 years ago and have been afraid to use it. I take it out and look at it periodically. I took it out this morning and put it on the counter. It’s still in its box, though.
The superhero in me is now challenged.
I am on a mission to conquer the neti pot, but first I have to figure out where to get one. Roz lives in New Jersey, so she either got hers there or maybe ordered it on line. I want an immediate neti pot. I approach Elsbeth, my boss, who is sitting at her desk eating a salad.
Me: Hey Elsbeth, do you know anything about where to get a neti pot?
Elsbeth puts down her fork, rises from her chair, digs into her massive satchel, removes an 800 page manual on neti pots, and hands it to me.
Elsbeth: You can get one at Rite-Aid.
Since we have a Duane Reade down the block from our office, I decide to try there first. I make a beeline to the blow-hole section of the store, snag the cheaper Duane Reade brand neti pot, and hightail it back to work. As much as I would like to resume breathing at my earliest convenience, I refrain from trying out my neti pot in the Tile department restroom. I wait until I am in the privacy of my own abode where I can indulge in obnoxiously disgusting behavior guilt-free.
I read the neti pot instructions three times. It is recommended starting with a half bag of solution mixed in warm water. My proboscis is the most D cup aspect of my person, and it occurs to me that I probably require two bags of solution per nostril. Therefore, I commence with one bag. It might be more to my benefit to use a neti kettle, but for now this appears to be a one size fits all noses product.
I diligently prepare the solution per directions, and insert the spout into my right nostril, tilt my head accordingly, and as I wait for something to happen, on cue, I sneeze voluminously and the sink, mirror and me are all immersed in neti pot solution.
I change my shirt, dry off my bathroom, and mix a second pot of solution, when the phone rings. The caller is my friend, Rhonda, who asks, “How are you feeling?” I tell her I don’t have time to talk, but we’re on the phone for half an hour.
For a third time, I mix a pot of solution, insert the spout into my right nostril, tilt my head, and fluid starts raining out of my face. Finally, neti pot success! I then repeat the process with my left nostril, and encounter a second victorious deployment. I can shout from my snow-cleared rooftop that I have conquered the neti pot. I can email my friends and family about this achievement. I can even blog about it lamely since my imagination is essentially in mothballs right now.
Only drawback to trendy nasal irrigation, it’s not very magical, and I do not feel much different.