Due to the chaos of the Holiday season—what with shopping, baking, cleaning (ugh), and watching all those Christmas movies, I managed to catch up on fellow bloggers’ posts. One of the blogs I enjoy, Kaboodlemum posted about her “Winter Blues” And while reading her post, not only did I find myself wishing I could go to her house and fix her a nice, stiff Hot Toddy and bring her some soup, but I found myself focused on two words as I read them: “Nasal Sprays”.
These words brought to mind my obsession, overuse, addiction to this wonderful form of over-the-counter medicine from years ago. I’ve been “clean” for over twenty years now.
I gift you with yet, another one of my stories.
I was that kid who would constantly get into trouble for the trail of used tissues that would follow me wherever I went. These snot-ridden nuggets of soft paper would escape from their hidden prison of shirtsleeves and fall behind me.
My mother would have to repeat loads of laundry due to the tissues she missed in my pockets. Have you ever seen what a tissue in the laundry does to the rest of the clothing?
…actually, my mother’s reaction was more like running after me with a wooden spoon–and I still managed to leave a trail of tissues…..
I’ll tell you, Felix Unger simply cannot hold a candle to the way I clear MY sinuses.
Yes. I’m even worse than Felix. We could have a sinus clearing competition and I would win!
My left upper arm, as well as my right upper arm had bruises from both my grandmother and my mother poking me when I cleared my sinuses during Sunday Mass. They should have just prayed for me instead.
Most of my life was spent with one clogged nostril. In the summer my nose ran faster than an Olympic sprinter. In the winter, my nose dried up so that I couldn’t even breathe through it. I think that’s what made my “Lawn Eyelind” accent even more annoying.
I’ve been told on MANY occasions that I have a particularly heavy accent. A large part is due to sinus issues!
Every now and then my mother would give me a dose of Neosynephrine nose drops but the drops were not strong enough to break through the clogging. She gave me a little Vicks inhaler to carry around during the day.
One for each nostril. I’ll tell you, I looked pretty darn weird! No wonder I wasn’t one of the “popular” kids!
In the evening she would place a dab of “Vicks Vapo-Rub” under my nose, and for good measure, she would place a bit of this glop on a spoon and make me swallow it. (Which could explain the GERD I now suffer from).
I don’t know how making me swallow this would help unclog my nose. Guess what? It didn’t!
All for naught. I still suffered from a stuffed up nose.
Then I reached adulthood and discovered Afrin Nasal Spray! My nasal passages opened up like the parting of the Red Sea. Afrin was my Moses!
Moses supposes he really helped my noses! Yes. Afrin parted the red sea of clogged nasal passages!
Never again would I suffer from a stuffed nose! I had little spray bottles of Afrin in the kitchen cabinets, in the bathroom, in my bedroom AND one in each of my purses.
Some women collect jewelry. I collected Afrin. Side effects? I did not know there would be any!
If I ever ran out, I would immediately replace. Sometimes, I would be in a place where Afrin Nasal Spray was all sold out or not sold at all–and I would have to use dupes. I became a connoisseur of brands nasal sprays.
Can I just tell you that the “Pathmark” brand was the next best thing? And far less expensive! Alas Pathmark is no longer around. What a shame because their nasal spray was excellent!
The Pathmark brand of nasal spray was just as good as Afrin and a lot less expensive. It’s too bad Pathmark is no longer in business!
Yes. I was addicted. And kind of not in a good way. I would freak out if that last bit of Afrin that I had hidden in the glove compartment was gone.
Basically, I turned into THIS when I ran out of my beloved Afrin!
My boys were late for school on more than one many occasions because I had to stop at an Upper East Side Pharmacy for my nasal contraband.
After years and years of shoving this controlled substance up my nose, it came to an end.
It was winter. Just after Christmas. I had a horrific cold. My nose was stuffed. My nose was flowing like beer out of a tap. Stuffed. Flowing. Stuffed. Flowing…
More and more Afrin.
And then. I felt a flow coming from the roof of my mouth. It was salty but not phlegmy. I opened my big mouth and blood oozed spewed out.
Naturally, being a drama queen, I completely freaked out and figured I was about to die.
Instead, I called my girlfriend Jeannie. The most logical person I knew. Jeannie also worked at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital at the time. Luckily for me, I have friends in high places because she was able to snag an appointment for me with an eye, ear and nose specialist that afternoon.
Thinking I had a tumor or worse, I never, ever, expected the diagnosis I was given.
The good doctor told me that my nasal passages were worse than a cocaine addict’s. In fact, he asked me if I regularly used cocaine! I told him the only things I placed up my nose were my fingers and nasal spray. I never even used snuff!
The thought of putting THIS up my nose is scary. Ewwww. Only nasal spray and my fingers for MY precious schnoz!
The nasal spray caused incredible damage to the tissue lining my nasal cavity. NOT the tissues that were falling on the doctor’s floor. I couldn’t believe my ears. I was more concerned with saying good bye to Afrin more than the damage the stuff caused.
When I asked him why nasal spray was allowed to be sold to people when it does that much damage, he looked at me and sternly replied that when used properly, for short-term use, as directed, it was a great help. He also went on to say that “Type A personalities, such as you, young lady” should be kept far away from any OTC drug. (Did he know that I swallowed 4 Tylenol at a time too?).
Get dirty thoughts out of your mind. He looked like this when he saw my NASAL cavity. OK?
He then told me that I was no longer allowed to use any nasal spray except for the prescription he wrote out for me. It was a steroid that I would spray into my nose to help heal the tissue.
STERIOD? ME? Screw that shit! I’m not turning into a man! It’s bad enough people have mistaken me for a guy when I’m out and about WITHOUT cosmetics! Don’t Call Me Sir–OK?
No thank you. I may be out of shape, but I don’t want to look like these guys (and lady at the end)!
I thanked him profusely and ran out of his office. And no. I did NOT take the steroid. It’s bad enough that I am mistaken for a man when I’m out and about with no makeup. Do you honestly think I would take a steroid? Forcrissakes no!
That day I stopped taking nasal spray cold turkey. I’m not gonna lie. It’s been a struggle at times.
I still live with a stuffed nostril. I still drop a trail of tissues, but luckily Chippy gets to them before Bonaparte sees them and freaks out.
As I write this, my left nostril is clogged. But I focus on the positive and being ever-optimistic, my right nostril is breathing just fine!
And when I enter a pharmacy, I wax sentimental over the aisle selling nasal sprays. I look longingly at the packaging, and I can close my eyes and envision my shoving that spray as far up my nose as I can.
But…I would rather have my nasal passages in tact!
So that’s my story. If you have a cold, don’t overdo the nasal spray! OK? I realize that addiction isn’t a laughing matter but even so, I have to look back at this with a laugh because I was silly to allow myself become so dependent on this little spray! XOXOXOXOXO!!!
As I continue to listen to Neil Diamond’s Christmas CD, I’m reminded of the one song that made me love him. “Cherry, Cherry” 1967. I was eleven!