Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Of Neti pots and disappearing husbands

Having cheerfully informed me that I am “a human Petri dish,” my pulmonologist recently recommended that I use a Neti pot at least five times a day. Rinsing out my sinuses has now become a second career. I write a paragraph or two, then heat water in the microwave and retire to the bathroom. Write and rinse; repeat.

This is the kind of thing that makes me cranky.

The onset of middle age has coincided with a distinct increase in the number of hours I spend attempting to maintain or improve my health. When I add up the hours spent jogging, weight training, bicycling, visiting doctors, rinsing out my sinuses, and performing Buteyko breathing exercises (designed to decrease the frequency of asthma attacks), I arrive at an alarming figure. (And no, I can’t fudge the numbers by claiming that the bicycling is really just for fun. It is fun, sort of, in the sense that it’s better than running lukewarm water into my nose, but in my world fun involves either lying down or chocolate and as such, cycling doesn’t qualify.)

It takes me aback, all this attention to self. In the old days (like, when I was thirty), I took my effortless good health for granted. I did nothing to nurture or replenish it; I simply assumed it would always be there. I pretended it was a patient, virtuous, long-suffering husband who wanted only to please me, who seemed to ask for nothing in return (in this way distinguishing itself from my actual husband at the time). I callously took what I wanted; I gave nothing back.

Now, in my fifties, I see that this pretend husband was actually a calculating, passive-aggressive jerkwad. While feigning agreeableness, he was really storing up grievances and plotting revenge. Now he’s left me (probably for someone half my age), and I am stuck with my Neti pot and my inhalers and my regret.

It has taken me a long time to learn that you can’t take anything for granted.

Off to the microwave. I hate this. But when I’m finished, I’m going to have an Almond Joy and maybe a nap. As my mother says, So it shouldn’t be a total loss.


  1. "While feigning agreeableness, he was really storing up grievances and plotting revenge." This description of one's body in one's '50's is brilliant!

    I hope the Neti pot works and is not just the fad of the moment (like having half the world suddenly diagnosed as bi-polar or reading, once again, that Omega-3 really is the cure-all to all that ails our insides.

    Oh, no, am I sounding cynical? Don't mean to!

  2. I am afraid to put things in my eyes or nose. Like what if the water drips into your brain? Ack. Feh.