When Denis walked into my office one winter afternoon and sat down across from me, I could hardly make out what he was saying. He sounded muffled as if he had been holding his nose.
After brief introductions, all became clear. Denis explained that he had been experiencing dreadful sinus problems for quite some time. He came to see me because he heard that I may be able to help him get rid of his congestion so he could speak normally again.
After a bit more questioning, I began to suspect several allergies, so I organised the appropriate tests for him.
A couple of weeks later I called him in to discuss the results. Denis was allergic to milk, wheat and foods with mould and yeast. I explained that he would need to eliminate bread, milk, cheese, wine and beer, along with a few other things. His face fell at breakneck speed and he looked very concerned.
“I love these foods, and I eat them often!” he said.
“I am sure you do, but for many people who are prone to food allergies, these foods are the main culprits, and I am sure you will feel much better once you eliminate them from your diet,” I explained.
Denis looked doubtful but agreed to give it a try.
A couple of weeks later, I received a frantic call from him. “I don’t know what has happened, but I suspect it is something terrible!” He was nearly in tears. “I have intense pain in my face! It is sharp, shooting and excruciating! You must do something!” He shouted.
As a fairly new practitioner, my first reaction was to panic and think along the lines of “Oh golly, what have I done?” My second thought was to calm down, think professionally and be open to what I could learn through this situation.
Once I regained focus, I tried to reassure Denis and suggested he come into my office as soon as possible. The great thing about practising in Sydney, a city of about two million, was that all of my clients were within about an hour from my office.
The first thing I noticed when Denis arrived was the clarity of his speech. This was just as well considering he was rubbing his hands over his face so fast I was in fear that his nose might fall off!
“How has your sinus problem been?” I asked. We had to start here.
“Oh, it’s fine, I can breathe freely now, I talk more clearly, and the sinus pain has gone.”
We continued to talk about his problem for a while until I had a clearer picture of what was going on and then I asked the obvious question.
“How long has it been since you could breathe through your nose?” I asked.
Oh, years, since I was at school, and that was about thirty years ago!” he explained.
“So in fact, what you could be feeling is the air passing in and out of your nose for the first time in thirty years?”
“Y-e-s,” he said doubtfully.
“Look, it is the middle of winter, and the temperature is down to about 10 degrees C, so the air is quite cold. For the past thirty years, the lining of your sinuses has been a warm and moist place with very little air flowing through so I suspect that what you are experiencing now is simply the normal respiration that most people enjoy daily!”
And that is what it turned out to be. Denis soon adjusted to this and enjoyed the new sensations.
So, imagine my surprise, when less than a year later I met Denis socially and heard the original voice of the totally congested sinuses once again!
“What happened?” I asked. “I thought we had solved your problem.”
“Well, you had.” He said. “But I couldn’t live without bread, cheese and wine. My social life is centred around the ‘barbie’ with loads of beer and wine and bread in all forms, along with cheese to nibble on! I decided that I could live with blocked sinuses and it seems my friends can too! Just as long as I keep throwing the parties and laying out the typically Ozzy-Barbie Food and wine!”