Wednesday, November 09, 2005

More Total Anesthesia

Saw the guy yesterday and he showed me a picture of my big old kidney stone, which is indeed a big old stone -- about as big as the end joint of my thumb -- and he says they're going to bust it up for me (yes, this is how doctors in Arkansas talk, but trust me, it's charming) on Monday, while I'm under yet another session of total anesthesia. My brother says when he had this done they did not knock him out. Or for when they had a look up there to see what was wrong, a tumor or a stone -- he was awake for that one, too. Apparently in Louisiana they do not go giving total anesthesia for every little whip-stitch of a procedure.

Or maybe it's because I'm a girl and the doctors are afraid I might cry?

I don't know. Don't care, either. I love total anesthesia.

Anyway, this all reminded me of the conversation I overheard as I was waking up from the anesthesia last time, between one of the docs and all of the nurses in the recovery room. The doctor was insisting that one should neither cook nor make coffee with water from the hot water tap. One of the nurses was objecting to this rule most vehemently. Other nurses were chiming in on various sides.

The doctor's argument was that the hot water tank did not ever empty out all the way. And, it was hot. But not hot enough to kill bacteria. In fact, just hot enough to grow bacteria. So, therefore, if one cooks or makes coffee with water from that source, one is using bacteria-infested water.

The nurse argued it is water one cooks with, or runs through a coffee-maker, and that the heat would then kill the bacteria. But even I, half-woozy, could see the flaw there. Not enough time being heated, I argued in my head. One must boil water 20 minutes to kill bacteria -- or is it 25? But anyway, much longer than one usually boils things one is cooking, and certainly longer than it takes to make coffee...and so the doctor argued.

On the other hand: what sort of bacteria would likely be in a hot water tank? Assuming any bacteria at all are in there? I lay, muddled, loopy, trying to think. How would they get in the tank? What would they live on? Has this doctor any evidence that bacteria live in hot water tanks? Or is he talking out his hat?

I know my home ec teacher, back in Kansas, told us never to cook with water from the hot water tap. But I always figured that was more crap from Kansas.

What do y'all think?


CB said...

oh my gosh! thats icky. I don't know if I can ever have mac and cheese again! Actually, no, really, we need a certain amount of bacteria in our system to take care of other bacteria, wastes, etc. In any case though, if bacteria are in the hot water tank, they are at least providing us with immunity to their toxins. I mean think about it-- how many times have you been sick (and I don't mean consuming too much water too quickly) from water?

zelda1 said...

I agree with the doctor about the cold water making better coffee. The hot water does have bacteria, and while it isn't enough to really do harm, if you are like me, you can't afford the risk. Plus, hot water heaters keep mineral and rust accumulations which make the water taste different.

When I woke up from my hysterectomy, the doctor was standing over me, and the anesthesiologists, and they, both females, were talking about shoes. A pair on sale, and how they both wanted that pair of shoes. I opened my eyes, the breathing tube still in, gagging, and they stopped their conversation and both said cough. I coughed up the tube, they ask me to deep breathe, and then back to the shoes. When I went in for my post operative check up, I asked her if she bought the shoes and she laughed and said, no, the anesthesiologist got them. So, there you go, water, shoes, whatever the normalacies of life go on even when we are all broken and comatose.

You will feel so much better once the stone is gone. At least your back won't hurt so much and your head might ease up too.

Bardiac said...

Hope they fix you up FAST!

I've never heard about bacteria in hot water; isn't most potable water in the US chlorinated somewhat? And in a closed system? My water company sends out reports on water quality every so often, so you could check the basics, anyway?

I've heard the cooking with hot water thing, too, but the reason given was that hot water holds more disolved minerals from the heater and pipes, and that the minerals tend to make things taste less tasty.