Wisconsin. Snow. Freezing rain. Intolerably cold. Indoor crowding, which of course means indoor smoking. Come July 2010, this will no longer be an issue in bars and restaurants. Definitely a step in the right direction, but unfortunately this means that certain members of DJC's family will just have to smoke that much more in their homes and cars. If that's possible. Cue one seriously stuffy nose...
Not sure when this happened, but I cannot STAND second-hand smoke. Funny, because I used to "smoke" (in quotes because no matter how many times I tried, I just couldn't get into it. At all. Yes, this begs the question, "Why did I keep trying to pick up a nasty habit like smoking in the first place?" The answer is because...well...who knows. I certainly don't.). Anyways, me and cigarettes don't get along so well. I used not to even notice. Now, I do. I really freaking do.
Our sleeping arrangements for the beginning of the trip involved staying in two houses that had been smoked in constantly for years. I don't care how many fans you turn on, that smell works its way into EVERYTHING, from carpets, to towels and most annoyingly, bedding. It doesn't help that I couldn't just open a window to get some fresh air. Too cold for that. The minute I walked into that house, my nose clogged up and made life pretty miserable.
You see, for more years than I care to admit, I've been addicted to nasal spray (for those of you who know me in real life, this should come as no surprise). About three weeks before our trip, I decided to give it up once and for all, and had been doing fairly well thanks to a genius product called Rhinostat. I was almost done with the system. And I was so happy about it. But once I was exposed to stale (and fresh) cigarette smoke, all of my progress went out the window. I couldn't breathe through my nose and I most certainly couldn't sleep. I was getting zero relief from my Rhinostat kit and it was only the first day of the trip! I cried. Seriously.
The second half of our trip involved staying in a house that has never been smoked in...nay, has never been so much as farted in. The air, despite the lack of moisture, was clean. And sure enough, I cleared right up and could breathe again. I got a good night's sleep, and I started to believe that I could really kick the habit once and for all.
Since returning to the heavenly moist air of sea level, I've been doing even better still. Its so funny how I always took breathing through my nose for granted. If I got stuffy, I could always fix it with my trusty bottle of Sinex. But no more. And as sensitive as my nose has always been, my sense of smell is even better these days. My blood pressure's down too.
The thing is that nasal spray addiction is a VERY common problem that happens to A LOT of people. Doctors rarely know how to help their patients who confide that they're hooked. Most people are too embarrassed to ask for help. I certainly was. Its not like an addiction to pain killers or other drugs. This is a weird one with very few treatment options other than giving it up cold turkey. As you can imagine, cold turkey isn't really an option at all. I'm thrilled to have found the Rhinostat system and can't say enough good things about how easy it is to use. The best part is that it works. It really works.
I'm close to being free of this crap. And it feels good. Fingers crossed that I don't come into contact with people who smoke indoors in the near future!