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Didn't mean to leave people feeling sorry for me (due to my previous entry, about being sick) over the weekend. I'm still a little sick, but each of the last four nights I've managed to get somewhere around 5 to 6 hours' sleep, which has made a huge difference. (I wrote most of this entry on Monday, when I was feeling almost well; Tuesday morning the sore throat is worse again, alas.)

The Afrin didn't appear to have much effect at first (on Friday afternoon and night), but Saturday morning my nose appeared to be completely unclogged. I thought that I was just getting better, but then Saturday afternoon (twelve hours after the Afrin dose, just like it says on the package), the nose reclogged. So the Afrin actually helped quite a lot; thanks, charmingbillie!

(I've now used it for three days, which is the limit, so couldn't use it last night, but my nose seems to have largely unclogged.)

I didn't try the Neti Pot (per se) that Susan recommended, but I had already been trying a saline nasal mist spray thingy, and various medical sites discussed the idea of washing out your nose with salt water in various ways (with or without a Neti Pot), so I asked Bhadrika about it when she arrived on Saturday morning. She's a trained medical professional; I should've asked her sooner. Turned out she's sick, too, with some variant on the same thing I've got. We eventually went to the drugstore and got a NeilMed Sinus Rinse kit. Using it was an interesting experience; I don't think I've ever intentionally squeezed water into my nose before. (And I'm always a little weirded out when I'm reminded that the two nostrils and the mouth are connected on the inside.) I'm not sure whether it helped much or not, but it did seem to clear things up a little, at least for a while.

Anyway. We spent most of Saturday lazing about. I had forgotten that Bhadrika and Kam have known each other for years (Kam was even present at the birth of Bhadrika's son), so we ended up hanging out with Kam, playing Puerto Rico, that evening.

Sunday we went to Coyote Point. But first we tried to visit a game store to pick up a copy of Ingenious. I was amazed to discover that there don't seem to be any game stores near me any more--I guess Gamescape closed? We ended up going to Gator Games in San Mateo, which seemed to be a nice enough store but they told me on the phone that they had Ingenious, and then they turned out to have only the small travel set for two players, which wasn't what Bhadrika was looking for. Oh, well; it wasn't too far out of our way. And I knew there were two different editions, so I should've asked explicitly for the right one. (On Monday, Bhadrika picked up the full-size version at the game store in Santa Cruz.)

Coyote Point was a little disappointing; most of the animals were asleep or hiding, including Alex's fox and the otters. We did get to see the golden eagles and the ravens, though. One of the ravens buried a mouse, then hopped across the enclosure and dug up another mouse, moved it six inches, and buried it again; fascinating.

We also saw the wildlife show there, showing off various generally-considered-bad animals and explaining their beneficial side. Rats, a tarantula, a boa constrictor, a ferret, a hissing cockroach, etc. Aimed at kids; there were maybe a dozen kids in the audience, and a couple dozen associated adults.

Mostly the show was neat and fun, but there was a kid (maybe 10 or 12?) who showed up just after the opening explanation of the rules (in particular the part about sitting quietly and raising your hand and waiting to be called on) and stood in front and asked loudly, "Is this the wildlife show?" The presenter said yes, and the kid said, "Did you just make an announcement?" Bhadrika and I both guessed pretty quickly that the kid was somewhere in the autism spectrum, so it was forgiveable, but he did kind of made a pest of himself for the subsequent 10 minutes or so, shouting out very long and complicated answers (like explaining in detail all of the regions of the world where the tarantula can be found) every time the presenter asked a question or even provided a momentary opening that he could jump into. But before his comments could get too disruptive, a parental type (or possibly some other kind of relative or guardian) showed up and sat down behind the kid and started shushing him every time he started to speak up.

Later on Sunday, we went to the Evil AMC Mercado and watched Jumper--the first time I've ever had an enjoyable movie experience at that theatre. The movie itself was fun, with some great visuals, but there were various things that were handled badly or confusingly or just didn't make much sense; I think I'm gonna read the book, 'cause I suspect it handles those things much better.

Then we went and had dinner with Kam and Naomi and Dave S and Monica.

Monday I actually went to work, after spending most of last week home sick and/or working at home. Today, though, I'm feeling worse again, so I think I'll work at home.


I simply cannot squelch my desire to proselytize for the neti pot. It makes such a tremendous difference, and while it's vaguely weird, you don't have to squeeze anything and you just let gravity do all the work. When you do it with warm water, it's oddly comforting.

Glad the Afrin worked for you. I thought it was amazing. And, yes, the directions were kind of scary and if I hadn't been desperate for relief myself I might not have used it. I console myself though by remembering that so many people abuse the labeled instructions that the label for over the counter stuff is usually way below the problematic dosage.

Let me also weigh in on the neti pot. I have never used one before, but I did stay at the Holiday Inn last night. I also know how to write at length on topics about which I know nothing.

Seriously, Jed, Peter used his own version of the neti pot for many years and "swore by it." I think he essentially half-snorted, half-poured warm salt water out of a tiny dish. Separately, there was recently a big article on neti pots in the WSJ or the NYT (sorry, I forget which one) in which a Whole Foods manager was raving about the popularity of the pots and said they could barely keep them in stock.

Thanks, all.

I don't have any particular objection to the neti pot, btw; I was just more interested in the sinus rinse kit. In case this wasn't clear, as far as I can tell it's essentially the same thing, except (a) a different shape, and (b) with the rinse kit, you squeeze the plastic bottle and it projects the water up into your sinuses, rather than having to bend your head at such an angle that gravity will do it for you. In both cases, unless I'm misunderstanding what the neti pot is, you're propelling water (usually warm and/or salt water) through one nostril, through your sinuses, and out the other nostril. (Or, if the other nostril is too clogged, out your mouth.)

Had no idea Peter had a neti pot; interesting.

Yech about the cold and congestion! Hope it clears up soon, yep, indeedy.

A couple doctors recommended the NeilMed kit for sinus congestion. It relieves nasal dryness, but I remain skeptical about its benefit for reducing congestion —at least for myself. Usually over the course of 2 to 4 hours after flushing, water continues to drip out. (Messy, especially when bending over to pick something off the ground!) And I still feel, well, more or less cloggy. A simpler saline pump spray is less messy (often cheaper) and usually just as moisturizing.

I also found occasional Afrin use helpful, especially at night when a nasty cold gets in the way of breathing and sleeping. But after using it two or three days (or nights) in row, it does lose effectiveness. Ah rebound congestion.

Btw, Hi to Bhadrika!

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