My daughter has a stuffy nose. Every. Minute. Of. Every. Day. Sometimes she is even lucky enough to have some combination of stuffy and runny. And, last year, for a girl in the first grade, that meant she was up getting a tissue every 10 minutes. I kid you not. Her teacher even questioned me on it. Well, crap, of course I know about it! We are trying to figure out how to fix it. If she would only let me do a sinus rinse! I've been doing them on myself for years and have sold so many of my friends and family on it, I should make a commission. Alas, asking a little girl to squeeze water into one nostril in order to make "boogies" shoot out the other nostril was an exceptionally hard sell.
So we dealt with the recurring sinus infections, the red nose, the lack of smell, or the ability to chew with her mouth closed — because she literally couldn't breathe!
I took her to our pediatrician and our pediatric ENT and both suggested allergy medicine. Yep, I'd tried that ... doesn't seem to help. So the ENT put a scope up her nose (she got a nice toy after that visit) in order to get a good look at her tonsils and adenoids. Her tonsils were fine but her adenoids were enlarged, though only slightly. We tried a different allergy medicine and a nose spray. I hate nose sprays but took the mild one he gave us out of desperation.
Back at the ENT two weeks later, her stuffy nose seemed to get worse and her adenoids got bigger.
We scheduled surgery. The adenoids came out. It was a simple procedure, but seeing your child in a hospital gown is never something you would elect to do if you felt like you had another option. Six full weeks after surgery, we went back to the ENT and my girl could breathe! And she could smell! "Holy cow," I thought. "Success!"
Nope. Not so fast. The next effing day. The next day ... her nose went right back to where it had been before the surgery.
So that day I gave my 7-year-old a choice. She's always been good when given two options, even if she doesn't particularly like either one, she just likes knowing she's the one deciding. Hmmm ... that doesn't sound like anyone I know.
Her choice was this: Try a new allergy medicine for a week or do the dreaded sinus rinse.
You see, even though I thought the sinus rinse might help her, I simply couldn't force her to put a squeeze bottle to her nostril. It isn't the kind of treatment I could (or would want to) force upon someone. They have to be a willing participant. And this time she bought what I was selling. It helped that there is nothing she despises more than taking medicine.
The nasal rinse won!
When I finally squeezed that bottle of water up her left nostril, what shot out of the right nostril could possibly have been entered in the Guinness Book of World Records, if they recorded such things. Seriously, the amount of "boogies" that fell into the sink were unreal and couldn't have possibly come out of her small head. She was grossed out. I was secretly grossed out (but ecstatic!). And then it happened ... she took a deep breath in ... through her nose. Since that day in April we have done the sinus rinse well over 100 times, using it whenever she starts to get stuffy — and amazingly, not one sinus infection!
In fact, she now tells me when she needs it! It is a fantastic feeling to go from being completely stuffed to being clear — all in a matter of 60 seconds.
Mommy guilt did set in: Why didn't I push her more to try the rinse? Maybe she didn't need the the surgery after all? Could we have avoided many of those bottles of medicine we needed over the years?
But I try not to think about it too much because I can't change the past, and it felt better to direct some disappointment at my doctors who, while being wonderful and supportive, never once pushed me to try the rinse. Which turned out to be an amazing natural alternative to everything they threw my way.
In the meantime, I found this video of an adorable 5-year-old girl using the same sinus rinse squeeze bottle my daughter uses. I wish I'd found this a year ago!
Have you ever tried a sinus rinse, on either you or your child?
Image via YouTube