I first heard of a neti pot in 2012, when I took some courses at a holistic nutrition school here in Denver. The idea seemed like an actual nightmare. You take a phallic looking tea pot, shove it up against one nostril, and tip your head so that saline can run through your nasal passages and out the other side? For sure you could possibly drown.
The teacher, an intelligent naturopathic doctor, assured me that it wouldn’t cause anyone to drown (there’s a reason I never majored in anatomy). According to him, the only neti pot related deaths were due to bacteria being in the water which then would go to the brain. This information did not sooth me. So when the day came that Luke brought one home, I thought my partner had surely lost his bananas (or whatever fruit you lose when you're not thinking clearly).
Normally this is the kind of weird, hippie witchcraft that I get into - not him. Luke is not the carefullest of guys so clearly he was headed to Bacteria-town. This is why I don’t even want to have a partner and try to regularly break up with him. I don’t particularly like the potential for people to die on me. But no matter how much I protested it, the pot was here to stay. I thought about secretly throwing it out but in the end… he’d just go get a new one.
I wouldn’t touch the damn thing. That is until I came down with the last cold going around town. The cold itself wasn’t all that vicious but it produced a jack load of mucous - so much that it gave me a “face ache.” No air could go in or out of my nose and any blowings of it would not be had. The Mucinex-D (the kind for which you have to show your ID) was failing to do its job.
In my sleep deprived misery, I joked that I actually might consider using the neti Pot.
Luke perked up. “Really? Yeah! C’mon, let’s do it!”
“No no no no,” I tried to backpedal. “I wasn’t serious.” After having survived one of the world’s worst diseases, I’d be damned if I’d get taken down by something that looked like it belonged in a child’s tea set.
But Luke had already gotten up and started to gather his neti things. “I promise you… you won’t die and it really WILL make you feel better.”
The more I protested it, the more it meant to him that I actually give it a shot. And secretly, I started to fall weary of permanently becoming a total mouth breather (as if I wasn’t already). Whether I liked it or not, I had to overcome this angst.
Luke mixed up the saline with warm tap water inside the pot by covering it with his hand and shaking it vigorously. Water spilled everywhere and I’d later learn that you're supposed to only use sterile or cooled-boiled water. See my caution?
I put the spout up to my nose hole, tilted my head to the side, and gently lifted the pot so that gravity can do the work. The water tried to enter but the snot was determined to make it difficult. Eventually it busted through and began filling up my nasal passages.
Water started to drip out my other nostril before a small, steady stream formed. I took slow, steady breaths so that I wouldn’t choke and suddenly see a white light. Then it happened: the saline somehow went to the back of my throat and entered my mouth! I involuntarily spit/drooled it out and coughed in my panic.
“It’s okay!” Luke said. “That happens sometimes. Just relax. It won’t go down your throat. You won't choke.”
There’s no need to go into the gory details of all that hung from my mustache and beard after I pulled the pot away. I quickly wiped it all up hoping we had finished. However you apparently have to do both sides. Thus technically we only made it to the halfway point. Normally you'd just do half the saline water on each side. But seeing the severity of my situation, Luke opted for me to do a full pot for both nostrils.
When all was said and done, I could actually blow my nose and (mostly) breath again. It worked. But I’ll be honest: I didn’t “love” this process (as so many claim to). It felt just too fucking weird and invasive - like maybe a colonoscopy for your face (not that I’ve ever done that either).
While it did help my mucous, I decided that the whole experience was just too uncomfortable and I wouldn’t do any neti potting again for quite some time. That is until now, in a YouTube video, for everyone to see. After I finished the first time, I realized I missed a golden opportunity to film an actual event of me facing an actual fear. It would've been perfect for the blog.
“No,” my partner said when I mentioned this missed opportunity. “You seriously wouldn’t have wanted people to see what just came out of your face.”
Okay, he was probably right. As “real” as it would've been, it would have been fairly disgusting. Besides this is how you know you have a good partner - when they can see the things that come out of your face and they don’t immediately move out of the house, set your things on fire, and serve you divorce papers (exactly in that order).
Seeing as how people regard the neti pot as an added health benefit to their lives, I didn’t want to run away from it just because it seemed uncomfortable and scary. Therefore facing a second round of it on camera might as well be the next best thing. Plus doing it with a healthy nasal passage may reduce the chances of subjecting my audience to any snot-nosed violence. So check out the video and see if you think I overreacted or if it seems just as disturbing as I had previously thought.
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