Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Nasal Time Machine

I recently had an ear infection for almost a month. It hurt for a while and I made an appointment with my doctor, but my HMO’s so backed up I had to wait a month. I almost rushed in to urgent care one day during that month because it started hurting so much, but I checked online first and because I read everywhere that a doctor won’t prescribe you anti-biotics for ear or throat pain these days and that you should try to take care of things first with homeopathic methods, I stayed home and experimented on myself for a few weeks. I asked friends and family for suggestions and made myself a guinea pig. I tried a few drops of vodka in my ear (my mom’s suggestion), over the counter chamomile ear drops (useless), an earwax candle (scary and useless), gargling hydrogen peroxide (old singer’s technique), and finally lemon juice in the ear (Zesty! But I think it dried out my ear and cause enough pain to have me resort to the chamomile drops again). The weirdest thing I tried was when a friend suggested snorting a saline/iodine mixture from a large bowl of water. You were supposed to snort in through both nostrils at the same time and breathe the water through your soft palate into your mouth. I couldn’t do it. Every time I sucked the water in, I felt like I was drowning and my body reacted like I was going under.

The week before I saw my doctor, I bought a nettie pot – my last attempt. But I started to feel better, and before I saw my doc, I returned it to the store – unused.

When I finally saw my doc, my ear was pretty much OK, but she still saw some fluid in my ears and recommended using a nasal saline flush to get red of the fluid. It’s like a nettie pot, but with a squishy bottle. It was made by the same company as the nettie pot I got – with the same saline/sodium bicarbonate packets to dissolve in the water. Compositionally very similar to the double barrel snort, but with this you blow the water up one nostril and it comes right back out the other. I don’t know if it’s working, but every time I do it (in the shower) I am generating one very specific sense memory. It feels not like I’m drowning, but like I’m 7 years old and I just accidentally snorted a bunch of water from the pool. It transports me back so quickly it’s amazing.

What transports you back to a childhood memory? A taste? A smell? What?

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