Thursday, June 7, 2012
The amazingly heroic heater
It was online. It was not pretty, but it was cheap, so I bought one. It came in a box the size you could have stowed an illegal immigrant in, but it was in pristine condition. Its sheer size was impressive.
I was amused, though faintly annoyed by the feeling that I'd been totally suckered, when I discovered that it had one tiny motor at the top pumping out the warmed air, from just one small portion of the generous vents at the top. The whole thing could have been redesigned into something the size of a grapefruit.
Never mind. I got what I paid for, and that wasn't much. It was placed in a very safe place in the bathroom far from any water. Turned on before a shower, it would slowly warm the room and disperse the humidity.
As it turned out, it had unexpected advantages relating to various portions of the body it could dry while I exercised at the same time, lifting feet alternately, all two of them, to dry the space betwixt the toes - and other bodily areas that aren't your business, but still need to be dry.
It was about five years ago when I got it. I can't complain. I've had my money's worth no matter what.
So it was last Thursday when I was standing towelling off and got caught by a savage seizure. The right leg, quickly paralysing after spasming, buckled. I, like a giant Redwood – oh all right then, like a small Bottle Tree – toppled to the right, scraped a paralysed right arm against the wall, and crashed to the tiled floor like ... well ... that little Baobab Tree. [Warning: not a flattering comparison with the human body.]
Simultaneously with my paralysed and bare right buttock striking the floor and my downward momentum cracking vertebrae like hazelnuts, my back struck the good old el cheapo convection heater. All I heard was a sound like the small cannon that went off in St James's Part on Remembrance Day in London, 1980. [St James's Part?? What an unfortunate typo. Even more unfortunate for St James. Let me correct that. "Park", not "Part".]
The heater, which I was now jammed up against, remained ON, pumping out its gentle stream of air away from my naked, wet, Adonis-like body. This was fortunate, as freezing tiles are amazingly cold against bare immovable buttocks. The front panel of the heater was reassuringly warm; not hot, thanks to the remarkable inefficiency of the original design.
With a lot of trouble, Tracey extracted me from this mess once I got a bit of power back to the right side of my body. But this isn't about me. This is about the heater.
I inspected it closely only last night, I'm afraid. Mostly everything's been about me since that event.
Only now do I realise what a grand sacrifice it made. The front was pushed in fairly badly where it had taken the lateral force of my back. That was obvious from the start.
But what wasn't obvious was the immense buckle the back panel had taken. Like those cars with crumple zones, it had absorbed much more of the sideways thrust of my fall than the front panel. Without its being there, bruising to my back would have been so severe against the unyielding surface behind the heater that any Avastin infusion would have been delayed god knows how long.
Even more significantly, had the heater not been in that exact place, the back of my head would have struck the front edge of a low solid pine shelf, and taken the full lateral shock of the fall. The entire damage to the heater shows what that was. I don't have to spell out the likely consequences of that with a brain tumour stuck in my head. Put it this way; I wouldn't have been writing this.
The heater prevented any head contact with any hard surface. I don't think my head even came into contact with the heater, but if so, its yielding front surface would only have acted as a cushion.
We turned the heater on again later, but its little heart had died. Obviously its noble final exertions as I rested against it were too much to bear. With no motor to push out the heated air, it would rapidly have seized up like a car engine with no oil. It had made the supreme sacrifice. RIP, heater.
So there you go. You never know who or what might turn out to be your saviour, do you?