I’ve never been pepper sprayed, and I consider myself fortunate for never having that particular experience.
Today, however, I think I may have encountered the next best (worst?) thing. Regularly when I’m feeling a bit of crud coming on, I take a packet or two of Emergen-C with a spoonful of my homemade fire cider (here’s the recipe, if you dare!) and perhaps a dropper of one or more herbal tinctures, and mix them all with about 1/4 cup water in a small glass. Then I slam it down. Usually it’s a little firey but not altogether unpleasant, and the burn lasts about 15 seconds.
However, this afternoon the experience was slightly different. As I tipped my head back to drink, instead of swallowing for some reason the mixture decided to rapidly migrate up into my nasal cavity.
And at that point my head very nearly exploded.
It’s been a long damn time since I’ve felt that much pain and discomfort. Even though I spit out most of the mixture, the damage was done. I can’t really even describe the agony that comes from a mixture of a half-dozen dried peppers, garlic, ginger and vinegar rapidly flooding through your sinuses, but I can say this:
Do not try this at home!
Immediately my body tried to flush the irritants through a rush of tears and mucus. Blowing my nose the first time was painful, and left a red tissue that almost looked like blood. For the next, I don’t know, 15 minutes, I alternated between swigging milk to try to cool the burn in my throat and upper palate and blowing my nose. It took well over an hour, and a long bath, before all of the capsaicin and other assorted bits cleared my system, and even now I feel a bit funny.
I’m not sure what the lesson is here, other than to respect your own homemade remedies. Even the seemingly most benign herbal treatments can come back to bite you in the ass (or in my case, the nose) if you aren’t careful.