Wednesday, February 19, 2020

A Parroting Interlude

Have a singing and dancing Finnish parrot, Nakke:

My own current parroting/writing abilities are taking a vacation right now.  No joy in Snakepit Inc.

Nakke, by the way, appears to vocalize in a rather meaningful manner.  In the next video he drops a mug off the counter in the kitchen and then states "look."  When he drops the tea towel, he mutters "finished."

Sunday, February 16, 2020

My sensitivity To Tap Water

Last weekend I traveled to New York City and for various reasons, largely laziness, ended up drinking a lot of tap water and coffee and tea made out of tap water.  I then spent three days sick with stomach pains and extreme diarrhea.  My apologies for you having to read that. 

I cannot drink tap water now without getting sick.  If that sounds like something from the Twilight Zone, I understand.  I wouldn't believe me, either,  if I hadn't experienced this.

My problem began six years ago, two weeks after (as I found out later) my local water authority changed the way water is treated.  At that time not all areas had switched to the new water-treatment system, and for a few years I could drink tap water while traveling in areas which had not yet  made the switch.

Indeed, this was how I realized the connection to tap water, early on:

I had experienced some vague symptoms for about a week, when I went away for a week and all symptoms disappeared.  I returned home, and after two days the symptoms were back.

I had to make another week-long trip after another week or so, the symptoms disappeared again, only to return when I returned to the Snakepit Inc.   Clearly, then, whatever was affecting me was linked to my home.

I began testing foods  and thinking about any possible home-related stressors (I always react with my stomach to everything*, even to falling in love).  At some point I shifted to drinking bottled spring water and the symptoms, which by then had gotten worse, got better.  When I began making tea and coffee with spring water, too, the symptoms completely disappeared.

I then designed a set of tests and went through them, methodically, to see which types of water caused the symptoms, by spending three days drinking each type of water and then returning to a week of spring water drinking.  The results of these experiments were that tap water, boiled tap water, filtered tap water, and purified water all caused the symptoms**.  Only spring water did not.

Fast forward to the present, and I am perfectly fine as long as I drink only spring water.  I can use tap water in, say, boiling pasta, but I can't make coffee with it.  That boiling the water makes no difference suggests that I am not reacting to bacteria in the water but to something different.  The timing of this problem strongly suggests*** that it is linked to the use of ozone treatment in water purification, possibly a sensitivity to the residuals created by it, even when their total amount is below the legal upper limit.


*  When I was a child my family moved to newly built accommodations shared by several families, all getting water from the same new well.  We lived in those accommodations during the five-day work-week and went away for the weekends.  Every week I got a stomach complaint by Wednesday and every week I recovered by Sunday night.  A medical checkup found no reason for this.

The inspection of the new well had been delayed.  When it was finally inspected, it was found to be polluted with E. coli bacteria.  Many others had drunk the same water, including other children, but I was the only one who showed symptoms.

When it comes to the stomach, I am the princess from the Princess And The Pea story.

** I also had the house water tested and it tested fine.  As an aside, I found the same sensitivity to coffee and tea served in the local area cafes, which further supported the theory that the flaw wasn't about the plumbing at Snakepit Inc. but somewhere else.

***  I contacted a few experts at the water authority about it and this is as far as they came with their suggestions, when I finally managed to convince them that I wasn't a total Mad Hatter.  Sigh.  Now that was fun, that convincing.