Sunday, 22 July 2012

Dishwasher Blues

This is by way of being AN AWFUL WARNING – at least it is if you are new to dishwashers, as we were.

Last summer we had our kitchen redone, and for the first time, found ourselves with a dishwasher. The Man of the House [TMH] was reluctant, as washing-up was his daily pleasure, watching people going past on the pavement outside each morning as he worked his way through the previous day’s detritus – and besides, it would use too much water…
A ‘slimline’ model, with A* ratings for energy and water use was given grudging approval, however, so about a year ago, when the workmen departed, we had to get used to our new ‘toy’. Naturally, for the first few days, everything went into it. Well, everything that wasn’t old and precious, anyway. And if it came through that OK, it went in next time…

And then I began to have terrible heartburn. TMH also got a touch of indigestion, but not as badly as I did. We thought it might be the olives – we have a wonderful Olive Man who comes to the local market, and we had got into the habit of eating a few – well, sometimes more than a few! – before dinner every evening, And it seemed I wasn’t getting such bad indigestion when we were away from home. So I stopped eating olives for a bit, but it didn’t really help…and then I looked at the dish we’d been serving the olives in, and realised that it was only glazed on the top, so that the terracotta back was probably absorbing the dishwasher water and holding it. So we started using a different dish for olives, and that sorted TMH out completely. But I was still suffering. Alerted by this, we stopped putting a few other items through the dishwasher, and incidentally changed the detergent we were using as well. The artificial lemon smell seemed to permeate everything, so we switched to an ‘ecologically friendly’ one which at least got rid of the smell.

By this time I was almost afraid to lie down at night, for as soon as I did the pain and the racing heart-beat would start, and I was losing sleep. I’d been put on omeprazole and was lined up for an endoscopy. And we went away again on holiday and I was fine. Two weeks before the endoscopy was due I stopped taking the omeprazole as instructed. Coincidentally, TMH had started hand-washing the dishes I have my morning porridge in, since as we only normally use the dishwasher on alternate days, and porridge is notorious for sticking when it dries, I was putting the dish into the sink to soak rather than straight into the dishwasher, and TMH was just dealing with it. After a week of no medication, no porridge bowls going through the dishwasher, and NO SYMPTOMS, I rang the GP. “I’m quite prepared to go through with the endoscopy if you think it will show anything useful,” I said, after I’d told her of the lack of symptoms, and the explanation I had come up with. She agreed it probably wouldn’t be necessary, and that if the symptoms returned I could always be put up for one again.

As a – rather painful! – experiment I used one of the porridge bowls that had last been put through the dishwasher rather than washed up by TMH. That night – heartburn. So all four porridge bowls have now been soaked in plain water, and then washed up by hand – and will not be put in the dishwasher again. We googled aluminium poisoning – some dishwasher detergent contains aluminium salts. Among the first things mentioned are increased heart rate, heartburn and indigestion.

So I am no longer poisoning myself. But it seems there are other irreversible consequences. I went for my annual sight test, and was telling the optometrist an abbreviated version of the tale as she was checking various things. Then she looked in my left eye.
“Ah, well, we’re in a whole different ball game now,” said she. "The cataract I saw just a tiny sign of last year has grown. No wonder you've lost two lines on the chart."

Later she was expressing surprise at the speed with which the cataract had developed, and then checked herself. Our eyes met, and in unison we said:

1 comment:

  1. Hmm, this gives one massively to think Abbey....

    No dishwasher in England, one here in the CR but it hasn't been working this year and I haven't sorted it yet but I have a feeling that my internal organs have been working better than usual. I shall keep a careful eye out when it's back in operation.....