One beautiful sunny morning I am happily singing along in the kitchen to show tunes or something equally cheesy, cheerfully chopping veggies and spices for our crock-pot dinner so I won’t spend the gorgeous evening hours cooped inside cooking and yet my perfect little family will still have a fantastic home-cooked meal made by none other than me.
As lucky as I am to be blessed with such a loving and wonderful family, and home, and food, and summer (and any other crap you can add to the list) let’s not forget I am also lucky enough to be joyfully pregnant. And by pregnant, I, in this case, really mean immunosuppressed. ‘Cause that’s right folks, I’ve gotten every fuc*ing illness you can think of in the past 19 weeks, 6 days and 8 hours.
So I’m happily chopping away at a jalapeno or two, singing a show tune or two, when, not surprisingly at all, my nose begins to twitch. To quiver. To, maybe, just a little bit, run. My memory SWEARS to me I finished the chopping, tossed the jalapenos in the slow-cooker, rinsed my hands and grabbed a tissue from the bathroom.
But I’ve been known to suppress a memory or two.
Back in the kitchen, I move on to the green peppers. Chop, chop, chop. ABBA song lyric.
My nose twitches again. My first thought? A simple “stupid runny nose.” And then, the twitch became more of an itch…maybe a little bit of a sting. Maybe even a burn. And before I had time to wonder “What the FU*K?” My eyes were watering from the searing pain of what could only be a jalapeno acid burn.
Shit, shit, shit.
I rinse with water. Repeatedly. Soap. Up my nose. As much as I can get. No effect.
Finally, in desperation, and I could only ever admit something like this in a most desperate form of desperation, I yell to the Unsupportive Louse a demand for cures possibly including a burst of offensive language. Completely unlike me.
He suggests vinegar. Vinegar, he claims, neutralizes lye burns. Lye and jalapeno might, perhaps, maybe, possibly, be in the same category. Kinda. I hastily pour half a bottle of distilled vinegar up my nose. As if the Unsupportive Louse planned it, the burn instantly INTENSIFIES. Beyond belief.
I further swear at the louse and demand information from the internet, a clearly more reliable source. Google knows everything.
While I await his quite pointedly unhurried web search, I have an epiphany. Baking soda. Sodium bicarbonate. Used in undergraduate chemistry laboratories across the country to neutralize the pH of countless solutions before pouring the shit down the drain. This is a BRILLIANT idea.
I expeditiously make a paste through my pain. Shove it up my nose. Gag, snort, sneeze. And realize the burn has decreased NOT AT ALL.
“Most of these pages just say to avoid getting the oil on your skin to begin with.” My very, very, very helpful husband calls from the other room where he has yet to push his ass up out of his lazy-boy, not even to reach for his laptop. I feel the concern oozing from his every pore.
I’m quite certain I called him a name or two.
Unfazed, he patiently waits for my tirade to end before lackadaisically mentioning, “Wait, this one says to try milk. Maybe?”
There is just no easy way to pour a gallon jug of milk into your nose. With yet another Einstein-ian idea I fill a bowl full and dunk half my face in. I come up sputtering, dripping, gasping for breath. And still breathing fire.
My only hope is to inflict serious injury on the Unsupportive Louse in order to decrease my own pain. I swear it works. It’s kind of like voodoo.
So I storm to the living room imagining the various instruments I can torture him with, visualize myself dumping the whole crockpot on his head – imagine where the jalapenos might land! Because misery truly does love company.
Not even aware his very life is threatened, he barely saves himself with just one more suggestion. “This person swears by sour cream.”
At first, the thought of shoving sour cream up my nose only makes me want to cause him greater agony and torment. But you can only imagine someone else’s pain to decrease your own for so long and the very fibers of my nose were shouting, screaming, pleading to be helped. And so I did it. I tried one last thing. I thrust some sour cream up my nose.
Relief. Sweet, sweet, instantaneous relief.
And so, my friends, one day, when you have been negligent enough to chop a jalapeno pepper (or worse!) without wearing your rubber gloves…and if, by chance, you carelessly rub a more sensitive area of skin with the tiniest tip of a finger before you thoroughly wash away the oil, you, on that day, will thank me. On that day, you will never be happier to force sour cream up your nose.
I say in advance: You’re welcome.