You can use a traditional neti pot. Or you can use a turkey baster. Some experts apparently can even snuff it up off a spoon.
We're not talking about a recreational drug of choice here.
We're talking about cleaning out your sinuses by the primal method of pouring water up your nose, letting it slosh around a bit and then run out the other side.
The image I had in my mind initially was misleading. I pictured a beautiful Indian woman, wrapped in an elegant sari, with long dark hair, holding aloft her neti pot. With poise and composure, she tips the tiny spout ever so delicately into a nostril. Then a few seconds later, as she sheds not a tear, emits not a groan, a slender trickle of water slips discreetly from her other nostril.
Serenity intact, she repeats the purification ritual on the other side.
This is lavage, cloaked in an aura of mysterious, arcane, sophistication. But let's call it what it is.
It's as charming as it sounds.
I am not genteel in this enterprise. I need a towel across my shoulders, covering the front of my shirt, and handy for wiping spurts of liquid from assorted areas of my face.
The water should ideally not be tap water, though if that is the only water you have access to, I'd go for it anyway. A bit of sea salt or baking soda are said to help with any irritation or pain. These never helped me in any noticeable way, but I mention it in case they might help someone else.
My weapon of choice is a common garden variety turkey baster. Cheap, and easy to find in a small town.
Put the baster up the nose, head tipped to the side, the better to enable water to jettison out the other side. Ah yes. Gotta love the style in all of this.
Squeeze the bulb of the baster -- just a bit for the novices out there, there's alot of sensation to get used to. Water goes up your nose. Feels just about like you remember it feeling when you got a snootful at the pool or in the lake.
You learn that your sinuses fill a much bigger area in your head than you realized. Makes my eyes water. Makes me gag and choke. Some goes down my throat. Some is spat out in the sink.
Are you sold yet?
The trick is to get the stream to trickle out of the other nostril. That tells you there's a clear path, and unwelcome foreign matter is hopefully being ushered out. Then, you want to do it to the other side. Okay, you don't want to. But ... you will. At least, you will if you are determined to give this a good old try.
Be sure to keep an ample supply of tissues on hand for the spill-over from all this eddying about.
Why on earth would I do this to myself, you may be wondering. Well, it might help get rid of my last vestiges of vertigo. My tendency to earaches and swollen glands. The tendency for my ears to congest and trigger head fog whenever stressors build.
It might help kill off any remaining viruses or toxins or God knows what all still entrenched inside my head. And it just might remove the last layer of CFS from my life.
So, up the baster goes, salvo at the ready.
I gave this up a year ago because I hated it so much. But even all that hate couldn't hide the fact that in the month that I had been doing this ... my vertigo had shrunk. The hate won out at the time however. The baster lay gathering dust. Till I got a ferocious cold a few weeks ago.
I was pleased that it didn't disappear after the first 24 hours. Seem strange? I look at it like this. For years my colds wouldn't last till sunset because there was something out of whack in my immune system. Some parts were overactive and some were underactive. This has caused a variety of health problems.
Now I get real colds. I guess this means I am getting better. Or so I've been telling myself while I've been blowing my brains out, leaving piles of used and crumpled tissues in my wake. Still, my pleasure in this normalcy began to wear a bit thin. This cold has been a brute and I'm tired of it.
My naturopath Dr. Kelly Upcott suggested sinus irrigation would be helpful. Though greatly chagrined, I knew this could be true. It was time to step up and be courageous.
The turkey baster came out of storage, and I am suffering through the water torture every day now.
Still have a cold. Still get supremely irritated sinuses from pouring water up in there. Raw sensation in my throat. My ears.
If pressed I will confess that these noxious repercussions pass after awhile. And I will also confess that I may be feeling some of the ... residual effects beginning to ... move ... give way... shrink.
I remind myself this is a highly-respected ancient tradition that I am participating in.
I've broken out my turkey baster, and a pile of towels and I'm shooting up water once again.
I hate it. But I think maybe it works.
Sinus irrigation. Always extraordinary. Maybe a cure.