Neti Pot Virgin No More

The Oprah Show is where I saw Dr. Oz talking about the Neti Pot, or nose bidet as Oprah called it. If you’d like to reminisce here is a little Oprah nostalgia for you:

My first thought was -No way. There is no way that pouring water up their nose is making such a big difference for these people. Although I enjoyed the clip, I put it out of my mind. Over the years I’ve met others who have expressed their love of the Neti, including my own sister. They said it was the best thing they ever did, it changed their life, they can’t live without it. I started to think maybe my first reaction to the Neti Pot was wrong.

A couple of years ago I saw my doctor because I was sick for a couple of months with a head cold and cough. She informed me it was not a head cold, it was allergies causing nasal congestion, and post nasal drip was causing my cough. Allergies! I’m not allergic to anything. Or so I thought. I was sent for allergy testing and found out that I was indeed allergic to dogs and dust. At that time I had a severe sinus infection, it was so bad that I actually had to have a cat scan done to check the severity. It was my first cat scan, and I have to admit it was kind of fun. Being inside that machine, I could hear it whirling around, making a racket, and all I could think of was being beamed up to the enterprise. “Beam me up Scotty!”

The doctor showed me the picture of my sinuses, which looked something like this:

Cat scan of sinuses (not mine just some random picture on Google). www.radiologyinfo.org

Cat scan of sinuses (not mine just some random picture on Google). http://www.radiologyinfo.org

I learned that the sinuses on one side of my head are too small – and this is why I have trouble with rhinitis and sinus infections. They simply cannot drain properly.

The doctor asked if I had ever used a Neti Pot. Once again, this little pot came into my life. You’d think by this point I would have went and bought one. NOPE.

I thought that I wouldn’t be able to do it. For some reason I thought it would be hard. I didn’t think I could remain calm enough to let water go up my nose and back out again. I can’t even handle water getting in my nose when I’m swimming! Let alone put water up there on purpose. The idea seemed completely ludicrous.

I struggled with my sinuses many times over the past two years since my cat scan. My sister kept talking about her Neti Pot, I kept putting it off. It was all great fun, until,  a few weeks ago I ended up with a head cold. I had started working at the school part-time, and volunteering at the school frequently, so I knew getting sick was a possibility. Kids are gross, they wipe their nose, don’t wash their hands, and touch things. Ew.kids germs

I did everything I could to try and avoid the sickness: using hand sanitizer constantly, taking extra vitamins, going to bed at a decent hour, eating good food, drinking lots of water. I awoke one morning to a stuffy nose, pain in my face…CRAP. I immediately took one of my decongestants, and carried on with my day. For the first week I didn’t feel that bad. I kept taking my decongestant every day, my nose was runny, but it wasn’t all that bad.

Then one day, I opened my eyes, my throat was as dry as sand paper. I had been mouth breathing all night because my nose was 100% blocked. My ears hurt, the left ear was completely blocked. I was exhausted, muscles hurt, throat was killing me, and fever. Oh no. I’m sick.

When my sinuses get clogged that badly my vertigo acts up. Thankfully my husband was off, and he is the best. He cooked the entire Thanksgiving dinner. He did the cooking, a little bit of cleaning, and took care of me. After three days of feeling like death I made a visit to my family doctor, who thinks it may be tonsillitis or strep, but most definitely sinus congestion. She prescribes penicillin and off I go home.

After taking the penicillin for a few days the only thing that improved was my throat. My ears still hurt, and I couldn’t hear anything out of the left ear. My vertigo made me feel like I was walking on a boat during a storm. The clogged sinuses had to be the most frustrating though. I tried three different allergy medications, two different decongestants, I took a hot shower, I took a hot bath, I did cold compresses, I did warm compresses, I hung my head over a steamy sink. Finally, I decided, it was time to Neti.

I went to the pharmacy and bought a Neilmed NasaFlo Neti Pot. It came with the pot and 50 premixed packets of the sinus rinse.

neti potAccording to the box it is preservative free and says to use the Neti Pot for:

  • Nasal Allergies, dryness & hay fever
  • sinus pressure & nasal stuffiness
  • nasal symptoms from flu & cold
  • nasal irritation from dust, fumes, animal dander, grass, pollen, smoke, etc.
  • post nasal drip & nasal congestion

DO NOT USE TAP WATER! You need to use distilled, micro-filtered, commercially bottled or previously boiled water. (boiled for at least 5 minutes and cooled down).

USE WARM water. Cold water can give you a head rush.

Here is the instructional video made by the company who made this particular Neti Pot:

Day 1: The first time I use the Neti Pot nothing comes out of the other side. I was 100% blocked. I had my husband try it just to make sure it actually does work – and it worked for him. So I kept trying it every few hours. After 5 or 6 times, I finally started to see drips of water coming out the other nostril! Progress!

Day 2: More drips coming out. At one point I had a tiny stream coming out. And it feels AMAZING.

I am thoroughly impressed with how well this little pot unclogged my sinuses. IT DOES NOT HURT AT ALL. It actually feels refreshing! I will be continuing to use my Neti Pot every single day and hopefully this cold season will be better thanks to this little pot 🙂

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Review: The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr.

As a teen and young adult studying English, language, and literature classes in high school and University I never thought I would find myself 20 years later reading books to refresh my memory about grammar. After recently reading Stephen King’s On Writing, I tackled The Elements of Style second edition, by William Strunk, Jr., and E.B. White. Elements of Style is concise, only 78 pages, and yet I wrote 13 single-spaced pages of notes. It is a necessary tool for students in high school, college, or university; best friend to writers.

In Elements of Style you will learn about:
-7 Elementary Rules of Usage
– 11 Elementary Principles of Composition
– A Few Matters of Form
– Words and expressions to avoid
– 21 points concerning style

The two biggest points that will forever be stuck in my mind are:
1. Use definite, specific, concrete language
2. Omit needles words

Two simple rules, that will be going through my mind as I write, and edit.

I laughed to myself when Strunk adamantly announces to always avoid the phrase “the fact that”, because it is one I use often. His example effectively demonstrates how a sentence is better without this phrase:
Instead of “Owing to the fact that” use “since”.
Instead of “In spite of the fact that” use “though” or “although”.

Another phrase I am guilty of using is “who is”, such as: “His brother, who is a member of the same firm”. Strunks offers this solution: “His brother, a member of the same firm”. I was shocked to see the uselessness of “the fact that” and “who is”. It was truly an AHA! moment for me.

The same rule is applied to using “whether” instead of “as to whether”, and “yet” instead of “as yet”. OMIT needles words!

I use “but” too often, and was happy to learn of a simple solution: “A loose sentence using but can usually be converted into a sentence using although.”

Strunk gives a long list of words to avoid: each and every one, enthuse, factor, feature, finalize, hopefully (oopsy guilty of that one too), importantly, interesting, literal, literally, meaningful, personalize, possess, the truth is, the fact is, utilize  :[
Most of the words he says to avoid are words I use often. I’m sure they do have their proper time and place in writing, but would have to agree with Strunk that avoiding them often creates a stronger sentence, and more believable writing.

Some of my favorite quotes:

“Writing is, for most, laborious and slow. The mind travels faster than the pen; consequently, writing becomes a question of learning to make occasional wing shots, bringing down the bird of thought as it flashes by.”

Ideas are birds flying by. Such a beautiful thought. Fast and fleeting. One must scratch the idea down on paper before it soars away.

“The use of language begins with imitation. The infant imitates that sounds made by its parents; the child imitates first the spoken language, then the stuff in books.”

Our thoughts are what we know – inspiration comes from what we read, hear, see, taste, and touch. King and Strunk agree the first step to becoming a good writer is to be a good reader.

Many of the words and phrases that King and Strunk say to avoid are used by writers who doubt their skill, or doubt the reader’s intelligence. I have never thought of it that way before. As a writer who used those words and phrases often, I do see now how I used them due to lack of confidence.

I’ll leave you with this thought:

“If one is to write, one must believe – in the truth and worth of the scrawl, in the ability of the reader to receive and decode the message. No one can write decently who is distrustful of the reader’s intelligence, or whose attitude is patronizing.”

I believe Strunk has helped to improve my skills. Have you read this “little book”? What did you think of it? Have you learned anything from this blog post? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Eclipse #poem #TBT #ThrowBackThursday

A poem I wrote about 20 years ago (around 14 or 15 years old)

Eclipse

All that you touch
All that you see
All that you taste

All that you feel
All that you love
All that you hate

All you distrust
All that you save
All that you give
All that you deal
All that you buy
beg, borrow, or steal

All you create
All you destroy

All that you do
All that you say

All that you eat
Everyone you meet
All that you slight
Everyone you fight

All that is now
All that is gone
All that’s to come

And everything under the sun
Is in tune
While the sun is eclipsed
By the moon.