Lessons I’ve Learned From My Neti Pot

I have a cold. A pretty bad one, at that. And I have had it for almost a couple of weeks – since Christmas Eve night, actually. I was fine all day Christmas Eve and then later that night – BOOM! It hit like Santa getting stuck halfway down the chimney.

It gets better and then it doesn’t. I am currently in a “doesn’t” phase, and it is manifesting itself, as colds do, in lots of sneezing, coughing, clogged sinuses and mucous. (My intent is not to gross you out, here, I’m just being honest.)

Probably the most bothersome thing about this particular cold is the sinus congestion. I hate not being able to breathe through my nose because it forces me to breathe through my mouth. That wouldn’t bother me too much except that breathing through my mouth makes it more difficult to chew, swallow and inhale at the same time. Yes, I realize that you cannot swallow and breathe through your nose at the same time, either, but there’s something special about not being able to do it through your mouth. At least, to me.

Additionally, I sound funny when I speak – like I have a clothespin on my nose. People who know what I really sound like have noticed. People who know how I sing say that I should always have my sinuses clogged. One person suggested permanently filling them with concrete and then try out for “The Voice”. 

This, astoundingly, is not an option.

I have been using a couple of nighttime and daytime concoctions to help me get through, and, I think, they have been helpful. To a point. 

The issue with these particular snake oils is that they have not really helped with the clogged sinuses so I continue to be a “mouth breather”.

And then, just about ninety minutes ago, I had a thought.

Neti Pot… I have a Neti Pot! Two of them, in fact! That’s one for each nostril! 

Now, I haven’t seen either of my Neti Pots since we moved into our new home. And, in fact, I haven’t used one in several years. And I have have never used one while I have had a cold. 

I got excited. 

I went hunting for them.

I found them in the laundry room, in a cabinet, in the back of a shelf, hidden in the middle of several aerosol cans and spray bottles. Specifically, I found them sitting next to a can of pet odor spray (for getting rid of pet odors, not causing them), a jar of disinfectant wipes and a spray bottle of a cleaning product named after my dog.

I got more excited. 

I brought them to the master bathroom.

I filled one of them with water and added a packet of the special saline powder to the warm water in the pot.

I put the lid on. 

I brought it up to my right nostril, just to the right of my left nostril.

I leaned my head over the sink.

This is when I learned the following lessons: 

  1. Always check for stuff that might be inside the Neti Pot before you fill it with warm water.
  2. Use warm water.
  3. Not hot water.
  4. Have some sort of paper facial tissue (snot rag) immediately available.
    1. Be prepared to keep your head held over the sink for a really long time if you forget the facial tissue. 
  5. If possible, have the water running in the sink while performing the Neti Pot procedure. 
  6. Don’t sneeze while performing the Neti Pot procedure. 
  7. If you sneeze, don’t be looking at the mirror.
  8. Or your wife.
  9. Especially your wife.
  10. Don’t use a Neti Pot if you have a bushy mustache.
    1. If you have a mustache, it may be more pleasant to stick one end of a drinking straw up your nose and the other end into your mouth and just suck real hard. 
    2. Or not, depending on just how bushy your mustache is.
  11. If you sneeze, don’t be looking at your wife.
  12. Especially your wife.