The Neti Pot

This is a story about the night I tried a Neti Pot for the first time.  

I have a cold, and I don't play with colds.

Earlier this week I stopped by Walgreens, stuck my arm out rigidly, and  marched down the cold & flu aisle, knocking one of everything into my basket, basically. I arrived at the counter with $37 worth of meds, and a Neti Pot.

Now, I have written before that I am not a Neti Pot user. Because KNOW THYSELF. Neti Pot zealots, save your breath. I understand why Neti Pots work. I believe in Neti Pots. I think that they are a wonderful concept. Great, in theory. Like kale. 

But desperate times call for Neti Pots, or something like that.

I got home, set the Neti Pot on the counter, and opened the instruction manual. The first thing of note was the SHOCKING LACK of direction included. I expected pages of warnings, red-lettered cautions, and medical diagrams of sinus cavities. 

Nada. It says, 

Tilt your head so that your right nostril is directly above your left nostril. Your forehead should be higher than your chin.

THAT'S IT.  Who signed off on this instructional booklet? What senior copywriter sat in a board room and shrugged his shoulders like, "Just tell 'em to pour the water up their noses? What could go wrong?

And apparently you can't use tap water to rinse your sinuses. Something about amoebas in the brain. I did not have distilled water, because I am a commoner, so I had to boil a pot. 

Then I had to cool the water back down to body temperature. There was nothing in the instructions about not pouring boiling water up your nose, BUT I FIGURED IT OUT. 

(If you ask me, the Neti-Pot people could learn a thing or two from the Pop-Tart people, whose boxes include detailed instructions on how to remove a Pop-Tart from its solar-blanket sleeve.) 

So there I stood: leaning over the kitchen sink, head cocked at a 90* angle, wishing I had a level with which to verify that my forehead was in fact higher than my chin. Then I had this moment. There was this moment when I thought, 

"Okay, I'm going to do it now.
No, now.


Okay, 1....2....3....
Wait, I need to collect myself."

It's like the moment after you've spread hot wax on your face and you're gripping the cloth strip, thinking, "Okay, I'm going to tear it off, now...aaaannnyyy minute now."

Because there is a survival mechanism inside of you saying, "DO NOT RIP THAT STRIP FULL OF HOT WAX OFF OF YOUR FACE. IT WILL HURT."

In order to wax your face, you have to momentarily suppress your will to live. The same is true of Neti Pot use. 

There is something inside of you saying, "Do not pour that teapot full of water up your nose. That is a bad idea." 

I stood frozen for a few minutes, 29 years of swimming experience working against me. They were saying "Do the OPPOSITE OF THIS. Whatever happens, do NOT dump 8 oz. of water directly into your sinus cavity."

But as a woman who's done her share of waxing, I am adept at momentarily suppressing my will to live. 

I started breathing through my mouth, lifted the pot, and poured.

I am here to tell you that exactly one eternity passed between the moment the water entered my right nostril and the moment it started flowing out of my left. I was sure that water would soon be leaking out of my eye sockets, and that this was how it all ended for me. Slumped over the kitchen sink, Neti Pot in hand. 

But then it worked! I was pouring water into a hole in my face, and watching it flow out of a different hole in my face, and I thought, 


And that is the moral of this story.  That the human body is a freaking rock star, common colds and all.