For as long as I can remember I have suffered with sinus problems, (began no dating profile ever.) My daily experience is a continuous pressure headache. Bending forward is a problem. Whenever I need to talk for long periods of time, (causing me to breathe through my ill-equipped nose), I automatically factor in lying-the-fuck-down time afterwards. It’s been the background radiation of my life for so long that I only realised how ridiculous it had become once tuning it out became a full-time endeavour. So for the last 5 months I have been embroiled in the medical business of Sorting This Shit Out.
It currently accounts for 6 doses of medication a day. My head feels worse than ever because I’m eschewing the decongestants and painkillers I overused to manage it, and because I don’t LOOK ill I feel like a neurotic stereotype every time I bring it up. This is compounded by the generally unimpressed response I receive to it, but as a migraine sufferer I’m used to that. The scepticism of others, (bosses in particular), bleeds through in language; if someone believes you they say you have a migraine, if they don’t then you have one of your migraines. It’s like a form of medical gas lighting, implying ownership over something inherently neutral, and like the pain in my sinuses I’m keen for it to stop.
Enter, quite literally, the Nosebuddy.
4 months into the cycle of fluctuating medications my doctor suggested I try a, ‘nasal douche.’ I have never, in all my life, felt more adult than when I heard this suggestion without laughing. She recommended I try using a 20ml syringe filled with saline solution to, ‘flush,’ my sinuses. She added that a lot of people are put off by the name, but I was suffering. I was ready to try anything.
Do not flush your nose with a syringe. It’s near impossible to use, and 20ml syringes are so hard to find that the third pharmacist I tried suggested I try the local pet shop. I did just that, but I didn’t find any because BUNNEHS.
Once I acquired a syringe I began the practice once a day, but instead of improving with time I actively got worse. Remember when Peter forgot how to sit down? Yeah, like that. The basic process is to pour saline solution through one nostril and let it flow out of the other like some kind of Victorian magic trick, but in practice I achieved this maybe 20% of the time and only ever through one nostril. So I turned to YouTube to help me through it, and thanks to this lovely gentleman I, ‘powered through’.
Look at his face. THAT is the face you make when nasal douching. (Heh, ‘nasal douching.’ ) It is exactly like the feeling you get when you jump into a swimming pool without closing your nose.
After my 14th time getting saline solution all over my shirt it became clear that the problem wasn’t my technique, it was the tools. So I did some Interneting on the subject and found the neti pot; a container specifically designed to clear the sinuses as part of yogic practice. (Incidentally, yoga is one those things made difficult by blocked sinuses. It’s not the only reason I can’t do headstands by any means, but it is a factor.)
There are different types of neti pot, and I think this is the more traditional kind. I really wanted one of these. It looks so civilised. But in my heart of hearts I knew.
I would end up with the dick pot.
Look at it. Pretend I never mentioned that it resembled a dick. Do this, and tell me if you can see anything but an erect, springy penis attached to a jug.
It had the best reviews. They mentioned things like durability, and ease of use. There were other options but in nose flushing, as in life, I was drawn to the dick.
The big, (ahem), day arrived. According to the woman on the packaging, I was going to enjoy this encounter. Enjoy it, or plot someone’s murder by the looks of it.
The NoseDick has a line to indicate how far you should fill it. It holds approximately 568ml. That’s 28 times more volume than the 20ml I’d been struggling with. You are meant to boil the water and let it cool before filling the NoseDick but I put it in too hot, so to speed up the cooling process I poured the water out of the NoseDick and into a larger container. What I didn’t realise was that the spout design causes the water to thrust out in an upward stream like so.
It spilled everywhere. It missed my laptop by a splatter, and all the while I tried valiantly to deny the dick. It was like there were two of me; an adult with a sinus problem, and an adult who kept looking around to see if anyone else would mention the enormous pink dick in the room.
With heavy heart and heavy nose I came to use my new NoseDick. It’s.. powerful. More fit for purpose than the syringe certainly, but still difficult. You are supposed to use half of the solution for each nostril, but it’s hard to calculate when to stop since the solution you’re measuring is forcibly invading your nasal cavity.
It’s also just plain hard to concentrate with a stream of warm liquid gushing in your mouth.
I have never been more confused about where to look.
The initial entry and disengage resulted in a fair amount of spillage. It was definitely an improvement over the syringe, but so is just randomly throwing water at your face and tipping your head back.
The NoseDick comes with instructions to follow this ordeal with something called Bellows Breathing, which I can’t be doing right since not only did I feel worse afterwards, but it felt like I was inducing a panic attack. It also sounded like I was having vigorous sex, and given the overall phallic nature of the adventure so far I probably should have expected that. Yet in the same way I’ve never been so adult as I when I didn’t laugh at the phrase, ‘nasal douche,’ I’ve never been as naive as when I felt surprise at the sex sounds emanating from my nose.
This was all made more traumatic by the knowledge that I absolutely could not laugh while using the NoseDick. I came dangerously close when I realised that involuntary swallowing leads the stream to pause and then resume once you’re done, but swallowing is unavoidable since the process takes a fair amount of time, (AMIRITE). I once laughed during a family members funeral. Perhaps my second most naïve moment in life came when I thought that was as inappropriate as laughter could possibly get, but at least that only caused emotional suffering. Laughing with the NoseDick inside you would certainly lead to choking, and if a friend of mine was using it I would mock them mercilessly. But my friends all have clear sinuses so my brain had no choice but to turn on itself.
Part of the problem is the dry nature of the instructions. It’s quick to use words like simple and easy, and for obvious reasons, but it could be tempered by a few sentences reassuring you that it’s an odd feeling, it’s messy to start with, and not to worry if it goes in your mouth. (AMIRITE. AMI – I give up.) As a consumer, and indeed a person, I appreciate positivity but I appreciate being spoken to like an adult who probably doesn’t want to stick a dick up their nose even more. I’ve already bought the product, at least level with me.
It wouldn’t actually be so bad if the instructions acknowledged the dick. A kind of dick-sclaimer if you will.
‘Welcome to Nosebuddy! For the relief of congestion and an aide to better health, Nosebuddy makes a wonderful.. Look, it’s a dick, okay? We know it’s a dick. It’s okay. We know dick, we studied it. Just relax and let us do this.’
There does exist a book on using neti pots for better health, but on the Amazon page one helpful reviewer noted that the book and the practice were apparently best for already healthy people who want to be even more healthy. As the process was recommended by my doctor I think it is relevant to my condition, but I’m glad that reviewer mentioned it. Often things are advertised as devices that work for everyone, just as meditation is often suggested to help with anxiety and mood but actually shouldn’t be attempted during bouts of depression. When you feel desperate, it’s crushing to try the supposed magic cure and realise it doesn’t apply to you.
This is probably a little deep for a blog post that has used the word, ‘NoseDick’, 9 times at this point, but I’d like to live in a world where manufacturers recognise that the people most likely to search out their product are chronic sufferers/extreme cases and advertise this to guide people in the right direction, rather than either fail to mention it or only do so after purchase. It’s hard enough when you’re suffering from a painful condition, without getting your hopes up for something not designed to help you but instead designed for the healthy masses.
As for me, I’ll persevere with the NoseDick because it’s currently the best course of action. If you were looking into the neti pot to clear out city grime, (something I never considered until frequenting the London underground), or to enhance your breathing practice, or any of the other reasons people would choose to do this when they don’t have to then I’d steer clear of the NoseDick. Not because it’s a bad product, but because it can be accurately referred to as a NOSEDICK. Repeatedly. In a blog post inspired solely by the NoseDick-ishness of it all. Run. Save yourselves, and think of those less fortunate. Meanwhile I’ll be adding to my in-case-of-sudden-death contract with friends.