Monday 10 September 2012


I laughed quite hard last month when Tim Blair complained that his sinuses were blocked to the point where he could only breathe through his eyes.

ha ha.

I was quite amused by all the suggestions for sinus irrigation, which seemed to consist of squirting a large volume of salty water up each nostril.

More ha ha.

Then the bloody flu hit me last week. Like a hammer. I've spent most of the past week in bed suffering from the shakes, the chills, the sweats, the overwhelming desire to vomit and the most god-awful headaches that drugs don't even put a dent in. And to cap it off, there is snot production of the likes the world has never seen before. If I can breathe through my nose, it means it's dripping like a tap. If I can't breathe through my nose, it's blocked so tightly with dried snot that a session with an electric drill wouldn't make much impact. Breathing through the eyes is problematic because even they have been getting gummed up with some sort of dreadful goo. I have to soak it off my eyelids and eyelashes at 3 in the morning because it feels so awful, and again when I crawl out of bed a few hours later. If I manage to get out of bed.

So I succumbed to giving the nasal irrigation thing a go.

Take one old drink bottle that's you can squeeze in order to jet water up your nose.

Fill with water and add a teaspoon of salt and another of bicarb.


Tilt head over sink. Pick a nostril. Squirt.

It worked quite well. On my first attempt, clear water went up one nostril and then poured out the other. And it poured out green. I squirted half a litre of salty water up that nostril, and the water came out green from start to finish. So I refilled and kept going until the water ran clear.

Guess what? I could breathe.

For about half an hour. Then the whole works gummed up again. But it was a blessed relief for a while. I've since discovered that Chemists have shelves devoted to pre-mixed packets of nasal irrigation stuff.

And speaking of green.....the snot came out a bright iridescent green. The sort of green that suggests it would glow in the dark (if you were the sort of person who collected snot, put it under a lamp for a short period and then viewed it in a totally darkened room). All I could think of after viewing it is that it's the sort of stuff you'd see in a horror movie - a scientist in a lab coat would hold up a specimen to the camera, explaining that he'd just scraped it out of a pipe at Fukushima, and in the split second before the camera went black, you'd see the green stuff leaping off his scraping tool and dissolving his head.

I thought the worst was over on Saturday, so I went for a test ride. Just a short, one hour easy ride around the suburb. Nothing serious. Hills were taken gently. I didn't race any cars and I doubt my heart rate got anywhere near 80%. I felt good. Really good. The legs were fine, the lungs were clean. Even my eyeballs were free of goo.

All was good, until about 2 hours after I got home. Then I crashed something horrible. Back came the fatigue and the shakes and the headaches, and it was back to bed for me for the rest of the weekend.



Rob said...

Nasal irrigation is awesome, one word of warning, don't forget the salt, you will only ever do it once.

GeorgeL said...

Possibly too much detail

Anonymous said...

I survived a similar experience on lemsip, nasal spray drugs and one day of minimizing activity so it could exist on shallow breathing.

Hope you are good soon.


cav said...

You can get a cheap kit from the chemist that does the same thing and it has some powder in a satchel rather than using salt. I found it great for washing out my wax filled ears much to the disgust of my doctor.

Anyway I just wanted to let you know that I love reading this kind of stuff before breakfast, golly gosh!

DMS said...

Never exercise until you are 100% better from a flu (or at least 95% better ? ). I made the mistake of having a training session 3 weeks ago because I felt "basically OK", and was sicker again within 24h and only just recovered again. Flu this year is a shocker.

And yes cav, gross story first thing in the morning.

Skeeter said...

I have been using the saline wash for years and it is now my preferred first-defence against any sign of congestion. I also use it after working in dusty or pollen-laden air before the first symptoms of hay-fever appear.
And, although you have suffered some relapse, if you had not tried it when you did, you would almost certainly be dead by now.