Draining … Drained

I Felt Hurled Back into Childhood

When I was a child, I suffered intensely from allergies. My nose was frequently blocked, so that I had to breathe through my mouth, making me feel as if I had ingested a bucket of fine sand. My mother would boil up a big pot of water and add salt to it. She had me cover my head with a towel and bend forward to inhale the salty steam. Not that it did me any good.

For decades now, I have not had the experience of having my nasal air passages totally blocked … until this last week. I got a cold which in itself was not that bad, but as soon as I climbed into bed, my nasal passages shut down a la my youth. My doctor recommended something akin to my mother’s remedy: Shoot distilled water up my nose that contains powdered salt with sodium bicarbonate. This actually works, and I am finally able to sleep in bed again.

My cold was not that bad, but the long recovery is a pain. It seems as if I fill endless handkerchiefs with mucus that has the gluey texture of rubber cement. At the same time my cold began, my eyes started to water and itch again. I have spent the better part of a week draining in various ways—and that has tired me out big time. I attribute this illness to a cold snap that has hit Southern California right after I returned from Guatemala. It seems that the temperature has not climbed up to 70º Fahrenheit (21º Celsius) since the start of the month.

Eventually the temperature will rise and I will have drained out the last cubic centimeter of mucus as well as whatever is discharging from my eyes. Until that time I will just have to be patient.