Thursday, March 08, 2007

Up My Nose with a Salt Water Hose

This will surely tempt the fates or some higher power to cast a pox down upon me, but I've been very fortunate in avoiding sickness this winter. (Pardon me briefly while I find a piece of wood to knock on and brush my entire body with a rabbit's foot.) I think it's worth noting because colds and flus usually find me, and over the past few years have taken me down hard. But in my case, I don't think it's clean living so much as recent anti-social tendencies. (Hey, I'm sorry if I haven't been around to see you, but man, my sinuses have felt great this winter!)

I'd like to credit my near-obsessive hand washing, an acceptance of hand sanitizer (the smell of which previously turned me off, and seemed like some product of voodoo chemistry to me - no soap, no water, and it cleans my hands?), and general flirtation with germophobia, but I'm sure my good fortune is due more to a freakish avoidance (and disdain) of anyone who even sniffles near me.

Yesterday at Whole Foods, for example, I was waiting in line at the deli behind a mother whose child was coughing right onto the glass. The kid didn't even try to cover his mouth, and his mother was more worried about the clerk giving her too much potato salad than her brat's lack of hygiene. After the fifth or sixth cough, I had to clench my teeth together to prevent from saying something. And I shouldn't have. I should've yelled at the kid to cover his #@$%ing mouth, go stand on the other side of the aisle, or wait in the car. And I should've smashed the mother over her head with the jar of peanut butter I was holding. I'm digressing, aren't I? Let's get back on track.

In past years when I caught a cold, Mis Hooz has suggested the use of a neti pot to clear out my nasal passages. If you're not familiar with the practice, it's basically pouring salt water through one nostril and out the other.

Initially, I feared years of yoga and a lack of animal protein had finally taken a toll on Mis Hooz's cognitive function, but she lives much healthier than me and I really should listen to her more, so I kept my concerns that this idea must be from the planet Mars to myself. But eventually, one of the characters on Six Feet Under used a neti pot, and anything's legit if you see it on TV . So even if I wanted to react like Ruth Fisher ("You do that in my house?!?"), I became a believer.

Well, to a point. That episode of Six Feet Under was broadcast three years ago and I'd caught plenty of colds since then. Still, I couldn't bring myself to pour salt water through my nostrils. My excuse was that I didn't know where to buy one. I probably wrote that in an e-mail to Mis Hooz while ordering a book from Amazon. On a previous visit to the aforementioned Whole Foods, however, I noticed a bunch of neti pots sitting on a display and decided I'd give this thing a try. I still haven't used it, though. Why? Because I'm not sick.

But yesterday, I woke up with the sniffles and spent much of the morning blowing my nose. Uh-oh. Time to take that thing out of the box and see how it works. Not last night, though. I was too tired, and the Pistons had a big game. But tonight - tonight could be the night. There's no chance I'll choke myself on that salt water, is there? I'm actually feeling okay right now. This "Boy in the Bubble" lifestyle has been working for me...