June 6, 2019 5:46 PM
This week, I came down with a cold/virus/mother-of-all-creeping-crud. I literally went to bed healthy on Tuesday night and woke up sick on Wednesday. I should qualify that. I thought I woke up sick on Wednesday morning, but by Wednesday night it was painfully clear that Wednesday morning’s maladies were just a taste of what was to come. I’m talking severe chest congestion, coughing, sinus congestion, sore throat and dead tired. I would say it was the flu, but I didn’t have body aches or a fever. I did, however, have a lack of appetite, which for me, pretty much signals death must be imminent.
A friend recommended I try out something called a Salt Room to ease the chest and sinus congestion. There’s a new place that opened up a few minutes from my house. Today, after not being able to breath for thirty-six hours and not tasting the broth and crackers I managed to choke down all of yesterday so I could take my meds, I decided to give it a whirl and I booked an appointment.
What is a salt room? Here is a picture I took from the website (www.saltroomlakecountry.com).
The two images on the left are the salt rooms. The one on the right is a sauna that I did not try. As you can see, a salt room is a room entirely made of salt. There’s loose salt on the ground, pebble sized. There’s salt attached to the walls and ceiling. It looked a bit like the old popcorn drywall ceilings that were popular when I was a kid.
There are zero-gravity beach-type chairs and there’s a blanket to cover up with to minimize the amount of salt that gets on your clothes. It’s nice and warm inside the room and they dim lights, close the door and crank on the blowers — or whatever it is that moves the salt around the room.
My only instructions were to relax and breathe-in deeply at least twelve times in forty-five minutes. Right, I thought. I haven’t breathed-in deeply for the past thirty-six hours. I decided I’d breathe-in shallowly and hope for the best.
The nice salt-lady attendant closed the door and I was off. At first, it was a little claustrophobic, being in a small bedroom-sized room with no windows, but I started reading and I forgot about being closed in. After about seven or eight minutes, I noticed a tingling in my sinuses and my throat. Interesting.
After fifteen minutes, I put the book down and just enjoyed the feeling of the salty air trickling over my skin. It’s not like I could see the salt in the air, but it had a definite salty feel like being at the ocean (which is my favorite place). I even dug my socks into the pebbly salt, and it felt remarkably similar to laying on the beach, digging my toes into the sand. All I needed were the sound of waves to make the fantasy complete.
I closed my eyes and remembered happier, healthier days on the beach in Mexico with the salty sea air caressing my skin. I shrugged off the blanket to get more skin to salt ratio. I could even taste the hint of salt on my lips, just like being at the ocean.
Wait. I tasted salt. I haven’t tasted anything in thirty six hours. I took a deep breath. Ohmygod! I could breathe! Deep, wonderful breaths that filled my lungs. I even breathed through my nose, although not quite as deeply. Heaven. You never realize how much you miss the small things you take for granted in life. Like taking air into your lungs effortlessly.
Sitting there, breathing deeply, tasting the salt on my lips, I realized I was hungry for the first time in thirty-six hours. I like salt. I really, really like salt. Given the choice between a sweet treat or a salty treat, I’ll take the salty every time. Like potato chips. Popcorn. French fries. I felt a bit like a McDonald french fry, nestled in the warming bin with a thin layer of salt covering me.
These are the thoughts you have when you eat nothing but crackers and broth for thirty-six hours.
After forty-five minutes, the lights came up and the experience was over. I walked out breathing normally, much less congested and extremely thirsty. Lucky for me, the salt room is directly behind a McDonalds.
I drove up to order a large Diet Coke, my favorite. As I opened the car window to place my order a miraculous thing happened. I smelled french fries! Did that mean I could taste them, too, I wondered? I took a chance and ordered a small fries along with my Diet Coke.
After paying, I quickly parked, sensing my window of opportunity to taste could be closing fast. I dug into the bag, the salt on the fries covering my fingers that were already salty from the salt room. I raised the warm fry to my lips and I hoped for the best as I took a bite. And they were good! They were soooo good. I made it through two-thirds of the order before my congestion returned and I couldn’t taste them anymore.
When I returned home, I took a long, hot shower to clear off the salt residue that covered my skin and my hair. It felt exactly like showering off in Mexico after spending the day on the beach. I loved it! Then I took more cold meds and I’ve been able to breathe and taste, for the most part, for the rest of the day. I even had Culver’s for dinner.
Was it the salt room that allowed me the turn the corner on this creeping crud? I think it played a part. I did start antibiotics on Wednesday morning, so that could also be part of it. But I definitely feel better now, after being in the room, so much so, that I’m going to go back tomorrow for another treatment. And another chance to pretend I’m in Mexico. I may even research a few flights to Mexico tonight, just to see if it’s feasible for us to go this year. I have a feeling the forty-five minutes I spent in the salt room is going to end up costing us a lot more than the price of admission.
6:59 (took a break in writing this to devour a Culver’s cheeseburger)