Plumbing Angina

My shower has “angina”.

This was my plumber’s diagnosis.

Like a human patient with this debilitating heart condition whose wheezing breath is slow and labored, my constricted pipes audibly moan as they struggle to deliver water every time I turn on my shower.  I was content to live with this condition until it worsened and needed emergency resuscitation.  Katie’s shower had no hot water, Jackie’s shower had no water at all, and my shower was painfully feeble.

It was time to call the plumber.  I dread interaction with servicemen in this country.  It is a frustrating, indirect, drawn-out process that offers very little actual “service”.

As always, the plumber’s first visit was to determine that there actually was a problem.  One month ago, my plumber diagnosed pipe angina One week later, he returned to apply band-aids, a ridiculously ineffective remedy for such a serious disease.   Katie could now get hot water only if she turned on the cold tap, waited 2 minutes, jiggled the hot tap handle, turned off the cold tap, and then prayed that warm water arrived via the hot tap.  Clearly, band-aids do not cure angina.

More serious medicine was required. In fact, a transplant was needed – a new plumbing system.

This operation was expensive, and my landlord needed to be consulted.  He is like the NHS (National Health System), looking for ways to spend the least and hope for the best.  No posh private practice for my plumbing. Perhaps we could just install a stent and not go through with the transplant? He had to be convinced that this procedure was definitely warranted, and another week was lost in negotiations.

Week Three of this ordeal brought an entourage of about seven workmen.  With their beards, bellies, and bumbling manner, I dubbed them the Seven Dwarfs.  They spent the day banging around in my basement, tramping mud through my kitchen, and creating general havoc in my house.  No one would mistake the Dwarfs for skilled surgeons, they were more like sleep-deprived interns.  Ever hopeful, I assumed that after all this commotion the pipes were cured.

I was wrong.

I am now in Week Four and the third consecutive day of the operation – I am hoping that my pipes do not die on the table.  My confidence waned this morning when one of the Dwarfs could not find the water main, literally the most basic artery!  There is banging, sawing, clanking, welding, and shouting in my basement.  There is no water in my house.

I showered at a friend’s house this morning and suggested she leave me a key as this may become common practice.

I am praying for a successful cure…and a hot shower!




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