Nasal spray is an acquired taste. And apparently an acquired skill, too.
Until recently, I have had very little experience with nasal spray medications, and I was hoping to keep it that way. To me it’s just always seemed a little unnatural to intentionally squirt anything up your nose even if it’s supposed to be for a good cause.
Although I have known people who use nasal decongestants, like my husband, for instance, who reaches for his Afrin religiously at the first sign of a sniffle. And my grandfather frequently added his favorite brand of saline spray to his weekly grocery list. And how could I forget my best friend in junior high whose dresser drawers were lined with tiny plastic bottles of the contraband, or her frequent snorts of nasal passage ecstacy in the dark when I would spend the night at her house.
“I just can’t sleep without my nasal spray,” she would confess while shoving the tip of the bottle into her nostril and inhaling deeply.
“Sally Ann, you’re not using that nasal spray, are you?” her mother’s voice would reprove from across the hall.
“No, mom,” Sally would lie, then, giggling, quickly hide the bottle under her pillow. But not before delivering another quick fix into the remaining stuffy nostril.
It’s tragic stories like these that gave me a healthy respect for the pitfalls of nasal spray.
Two other nasal-related incidents come to mind from my childhood. One happened to my youngest sister who, when she was about two years old, stuck a penny up her nose. No one knew until she developed a nosebleed one day and our babysitter reached up into her nostril and, lo and behold, yanked out a penny.
Another unfortunate nasal incident happened to my step-brother when we were teenagers who, for some unknown reason, perhaps it was even on a dare from me, decided to shove a leftover pea up his nose after dinner. He was sure he could quickly snort the pea back out but, snort as he might, it never reappeared. He became quite upset afterward, and for all we know it could be lodged in his frontal lobe by now.
But funny how a sudden, searing upper nostril tickle, watery eyes, incessant sneezing and a drippy nose can change your opinion about inserting something up your olfactory. In fact, just yesterday a Roto Rooter up my left nostril was starting to sound good to me.
So, with puffy eyes and a box of lotioned tissues, I headed to the pharmacy to see what was new in nasal spray this century. Although the irritation in my nostril caused my left eye to slam shut and the other to water profusely, I somehow managed to find my salvation on the bottom shelf. I grabbed the first one I saw with the key words “nose itch” printed on the label and considered tearing it open with my teeth right there and shooting the entire contents up my schnoz in an attempt to drown the dust mite colony which had apparently taken up residence in my nasal cavity and set up an oil drilling rig.
After waiting for what seemed like an eternity to pay for the tiny eight-dollar bottle, I ran to the car, tore open the package, shredded the protective wrap, removed the “safety ring” (sadly, they didn’t have those in Sally’s day), grasped the pump (they didn’t have those back then, either) and while breathing in through my nostrils firmly squirted a generous dose directly into my right eye and all over my eyeglasses.
You know, would it kill these people to put this stuff in the shape of a pea?