’Round Town


Wed, 12/29/2021 - 8:00am

Back in March when I turned in my old worn out knee for a new one, I eventually returned home to recover. A physical therapist came to the house and we made over the den into a bedroom for me so there were no stairs to climb, with the sprints to the bathroom substantially shortened. My “Chief of Staff” nurse wife was also more able to keep an eye on things as I gradually climbed my way back from being one wheel down. It worked out very well with one exception.

In our little den, and for most of the downstairs (excluding woodstove), our heat sources are gas heating units. We converted to these items a while back when it became mostly impossible to heat the house with our tired old Slantfin boiler. It was basically pooched with the baseboard hot water system used for many years failing rapidly. So, we decided to put these gas heaters in separate areas that could be heated as needed rather than trying to heat the whole house with stuck zone valves and broken down copper fittings.

The only problem with the heater in my new recovery room was there wasn't a way to add moisture to the room air. The bigger units have a water reservoir tray in the bottom over which warm air blows adding the much needed moisture to living spaces. The den was warm but the air was very dry making the inside of my nose feel like overcooked french fries. We needed to get a humidifier.

I went to my “go to” at Grover's, Gary Dickinson, for help. Gary and others at Grover's are always so helpful with my off-the-wall challenges. Together we have been able to come up with some solutions that most would shy away from, or disregard completely. This is partly due to the fact that many of my problems require interpretation of hand motions, sketches on the backs of discarded scraps of paper and words that lack professional authenticity. I did not want to spend a lot of money and a trip out of town for a humidifier.

I explained the idea I had to Gary and he dove right in, as always, to help me. I had an idea that if I could create a moisture-laden cloth in front of the heater, through which the warm, fan-driven air would pass, it would greatly improve the quality of the air I, and others, would breath upon entry to the recovery room. So, here's what we did. I purchased a plastic basin which could hold about two gallons of water. I needed to attach, somehow, something to the basin that would allow a cloth to hang about two feet, top to bottom, wicking up water. A toilet plunger fit the bill perfectly, just the right height. But I needed some way of spreading the cloth so its surface would hang across the front of the heater evenly. Gary went right for the PVC aisle and grabbed a half-inch “T” to which we inserted PVC arms out either side. We attached it to the plunger handle. Now there was something to hang the cloth on and clothespins could hold it in place.

I took our new invention home to set it up in front of the heater. I filled the basin with water, plunged the plunger to the bottom of the basin and added water. I found an old cloth diaper (not being used by me!) and hung it from the PVC “T” and watched as the water edged up the diaper, making a perfect screen of moisture-coated material. When I turned on the heater, the hot air passed through the wet diaper and my condition improved greatly.

Where there's a will, there's a way. Please see accompanying photo for detailed visual. This device is, in no way, FDA-approved or safe for children!