Sunday, November 16, 2008

Not a good thing to eat...

I usually do posts about good things to eat, but here's a little story about something I ingested that was not very good at all.

When our roof leaked, the drywall in several of the walls got soaked. Since I have asthma and I need to avoid mold at all costs, we had someone come out to replace portions of the drywall. The contractor told us that bleach kills mold and that we should clean anything porous that got wet with bleach, several times. He recommended a bleach solution of 1 cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water. Since I am paranoid of mold, I made a big gallon jug of solution with 2 cups of bleach and water. Double the strength! Double the mold destroying power! I poured some of the bleach mixture into a regular 16 ounce bottled water bottle to make it easier to carry around and use it when I was cleaning. Sadly, I neglected to mark the water bottle in any way, indicating that it was not water, but a toxic bleach mixture.

Last week, being very thirsty, I grabbed a cold bottled water out of the fridge and took a huge drink-about half the bottle or 8 ounces. It was until I actually swallowed and then immediately felt really sick, that I realized I'd just ingested the bleach solution and not plain water. I guess Dave, thinking that it was just a regular water, stuck my bleach bottle in the fridge. I didn't really panic after drinking the bleach because I knew bleach isn't really corrosive, but I thought I should try and neutralize it to prevent as much stomach discomfort as possible. I love chemistry classes so it immediately popped into my head that bleach is a pretty strong base (has a high pH), and to counteract that I would need to drink something acidic (low pH). I frantically swung open the pantry door and grabbed a bottle of vinegar. I took a big swig of that, as much as I could tolerate before gagging. Then, I found a cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice in the fridge and I drank that. For anyone who is interested: The pH of pure water is 7, the pH of bleach is about 13, and the pH of both vinegar and lemon juice is about 2-3. On paper, my theory of neutralizing the bleach makes sense. In reality, the vinegar and lemon juice made my stomach hurt 100 times more. It felt like I'd been karate kicked in the gut by Chuck Norris. I think the smart thing to do would have been to drink lots of water just to dilute the bleach.

Anyway, I survived the bleach ingestion but I was so sick and I was unable to eat for three days. I also had a really sore mouth and throat from the acids. Dave felt really guilty for putting the bottle in the fridge, but it wasn't his fault. I should have marked the bottle.

There's no clever moral to this story besides avoiding drinking bleach. This is just a glimpse into life at the Striped Tail household.
Note- The photo above is of the bleach bottle AFTER Dave put some kind of cup holder thing on it to stop me from drinking from it a second time.


  1. Oh no! That's horrible. I'm so sorry that happened and am very glad that you are feeling better now. Yikes!

  2. Thanks! It wasn't too horrible, just a bad stomach ache. Now Dave and I laugh about it.

  3. Oh my gosh, that is terrible, you should have gone right to the emergency room. With all that is going on, that sure was something you didn't need. I hope you are all better now.