A few years ago, I had a subscription to a yoga magazine, Yoga + Joyful Living, which included articles about yoga asanas, living your yoga off the mat, explanations of yoga scriptures like Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, and recipes. I liked the magazine. Interspersed with stuff I liked were a few ads and stories about neti pots. They featured beautiful pictures of little ceramic pots, shaped like teapots, that they recommended we use to pour water through our nostrils to clean out the sinuses. I thought they were completely and totally nuts.
I’m someone who “never” gets sick. I might get some sniffles now and then, or feel a bit achey, but I almost never miss work for illness. Not this year. In the past 2 months, I’ve missed 4 days of work in 3 different weeks due to illness. This last bout was first a very sore throat, followed by several days of getting better, and then I got knocked over by a sinus infection that also wanted the skin on my face.
I called the doctor on Monday, and got an appointment for Thursday morning. I imagined I’d be better by then, and anticipated cancelling it. While I was back at work on Wednesday, I wasn’t better enough. I was constantly and unproductively honking into mountains of tissues. The right side of my face seemed completely stuffed with something that didn’t budge. At the advice of my sister, I’d taken to snorting warm saltwater. It was kind of gross drawing it through my nose and spitting it out, but I was desperate. The warmth and the moisture gave me at least a temporary relief. I didn’t want to go anywhere without my bowl, container of salt, and towel.
I was jubilant when I got to the doctor’s on Thursday, anticipating some antibiotics to clear the bacterial party in my head. The nurse practitioner prescribed me an antibiotic to clear up the infection. Then she recommended I wash with saline in the interim. I shared my newly found secret love of inhaling salt water. She recommended I purchase something to irrigate my sinuses more effectively, at least until the antibiotics kicked in.
I imagined some kind of squeeze bottle that propelled a gentle jet of water and clear out my sinuses. Inhaling water from a bowl pretty much got water everywhere. Maybe this magical device wouldn’t require me to clean the entire bathroom once I was done.
When I got to the pharmacy to fill the prescription, I asked the pharmacist where to find this wonderful device, and she took me down an aisle and pointed out a Sinu-Cleanse neti pot. There were other kinds, too, more like squeeze bottles, but the neti pot was the one she recommended. Since I was going to purchase the prescription from her, I didn’t want to pick out something other than what she’d recommended. I was trapped.
I took it home and tried it out. So much easier to use than the bowl and the bag of salt. For one thing, the water went out my other nostril, instead of getting sneezed everywhere or spit out. And the flow of water via gravity seemed to be more efficient and less destructive than snorting water (not a natural activity).
The antibiotics began their work, and now I’m feeling tired and slow, but better.
What’s amazing to me now is how good it feels just to be able to breathe on the right side of my head. A full breath in, a full breath out. Yup, now I’m one of those freaks with a neti pot.