No, this isn't the test for the swine flu.
But it might as well be.

I was just telling somebody that it was my intention for the time being
not to do any new posts until the end of the month. But after running
into Angeliki's continuing problems with her sinuses, and after having
had my own bout with sinus stuff in December, I thought that it might be
good to post this information. In some way or another. Just be forewarned
that this might be the grossest post I've ever done.

After being admitted to the hospital during my recent stay, somebody got
some bee in their bonnet that the symptoms of pneumonia were very much
like swine flu so that maybe I had the swine flu. Well evidently the one
method they have for testing for swine flu is to do what they call a "nasal
swab" but which should really be called something like "method of medieval
torture." The swabs used are nothing like Q-tips — nice cardboard sticks
with cotton on them. The swine flu swabs are long, thin plastic straws,
sort of like swizzle sticks to stir drinks with in bars. The sticks are
then inserted into your nose, one for each nostril, and slid up into the
sinuses and then (seemingly) into your brain.

Well as a result of this test my upper sinuses began dumping. You
wouldn't believe the stuff I blew out of my nose. Not just the normal
runny snot stuff. Not just the thick dense mucus that you get with a
head cold. But stuff that resembled one-inch long sections of fish guts.
This all began about 2 hours after the test and was to continue even
when I got back home. A box of Kleenex has been my constant companion
over the past week.

It was a shocking and freaky experience. I had always thought of the
human sinuses as being like a series of interconnected caves. And that
while there was some mucus to keep them moist that they were more or
less empty unless a person had a sinus cold or infection. Well as it
turns out particulate matter enters into the sinuses as we breathe. And
while most of it gets dumped out through the lower sinuses, evidently
some quantity gets dumped in the remote sinuses. As a result, these
passages accumulate all sorts of particulate matter over the years. I
swear the stuff that was coming out of my sinuses had been up there
since like 1987. The cells in our body may in fact renew themselves
every 7 years, making us new people. But the crap we breathe in is
stuck there forever. My feeling after all of this was that it is a wonder
that anybody can breathe through their nose at all past about age 35.

As disgusting as the whole process was, especially the fish gut thing, I
actually found myself hoping that my sinuses would stay open for a while
and get rid of all that crap. As it was my upper sinuses seemed to close up
again after about five days. Talking to one of my doctors in the hospital
about the whole thing he recommended that if I wanted to keep my sinuses
open I might try using a nadi — basically a bowl of boiling water that you stick
your head over and breath in the steam. If you've ever seen Crocodile Dundee
you are more than likely laughing at the thought of that already. In one
scene Mich walks into the bathroom at a swanky New York party and finds a
guy doing lines of cocaine. Thinking that the guy is taking some sort of
medicine for his sinuses, he shows him a "better way to do it" by dumping
the expensive coke into a bowl of hot water, putting the guy's head over
the bowl, and placing a towel over his head. "That'll fix ya up!" he says
to the bloke.

Anyway, that's a nadi.