“High iron in the water can interact with the chlorine we just added, and turn the iron into particulates.” He says slowly. “They are such small particles that the carbon filter can’t filter them out, and they go through the equipment and into the pipes.”
My brow crinkles as I try to understand what he is saying. “Does that damage the equipment?” I ask.
He nods. “That’s why it’s really important to check your iron levels regularly, to make sure it doesn’t get too high.”
I wait, poised for the next logical bit of information, but it doesn’t come. “What’s too high?”
“Well, we like to see people at less than .3 ppm. Right now you’re at point 8, which is quite high.”
Another pause. Maybe it’s the end of a long, rough day for him. It must be. He was supposed to be here sometime between 9 am and noon. He didn’t arrive until 3:45 pm, and it’s pushing five now.
“Ooookay.” I say as we stand there and look at each other in my utility room. This still doesn’t make sense to me, and I need to figure it out. Not only is it my responsibility, I also need to understand well enough to explain it to Mary tonight. In a stroke of brilliant thinking, my brain susses out the information he has given me and comes up with the next logical, reasonable question. “So if the iron is too high, what should I do?”
He’s quiet for a minute, clearly thinking. “Well, there is another filtration tank out there. It’s half carbon filter, like you have now, and half ceramic filter. The ceramic is fine enough that it will take the iron particulates out of the water before it can bang through the rest of the equipment. If the iron stays high, we can come out and switch it for you.”
More silence, as I consider. At least this guy isn’t fast moving or fast talking. There’s time for me to think without being obviously slow. I appreciate that. The moment of space allows me to realize I’m filled with a sense of unease.
His plan leaves the ball in my court. In the world he envisions, I’m expected to take independent action regularly, make a judgment call, and then initiate an equipment switch if needed. That’s not good. There is no reality where it’s a good idea for me to have to take independent unplanned action, let alone make a judgment call.
We’ve had a drinking water problem for nine months. Do you know what I didn’t do during that time? Call the water treatment company to get the problem fixed. That takes initiative. That takes being able to articulate the problem and determine future action. That requires all the executive functioning skills – planning, initiation, decision-making – that became unavailable to me after my mTBIs. Mary eventually called them in May to set this meeting up.
I consider the facts, and the current situation starts to make sense. I feel surprise – that isn’t the norm in my world. What he’s saying isn’t logical, isn’t the best course of action. I’m sure of it. The feeling of confidence in my bones also surprises me. That’s new. He’s suggesting something that is going to be a hassle, so why do it? An alternative solution occurs to me and it feels good to have an answer. “If this is a known issue – we know there’s chlorine, we know it’s high in iron – why don’t we just go to the half carbon, half ceramic filter right now, to start with? Or is it a lot more expensive?”
He pulls out his phone and starts scrolling through it. Silence. I appreciate someone who doesn’t have to talk all the time, fill all the holes in the world with sound. I wait, comfortable, as five minutes pass. I spend it staring at the wall, quite contentedly. “It looks like it will be about another $150.”
“Okay” I say. More silence as my brain works through the issue. I hesitate before making a decision. I desperately want Mary to be there, to decide for me. Not only does she have a working brain, but she is also a decisive individual. I wasn’t decisive before I was injured, and now… well, it can be hard to make a decision. Today, though, my brain is working better. I’m healing. I still clearly have a habit, a tendency, to not trust myself. An impulse to follow someone else’s opinion or choice, instead of my own. A desire for someone else to be the adult, to be responsible, to take ownership of the decision.
I take a deep breath. This is my responsibility. My decision. My area of, if not expertise, then at least familiarity. “Let’s do it. Let’s go directly with the correct filter system.” A pause as he just looks at me, saying nothing. “Do you have one of that type with you today?” I prompt.
“No. I just brought the regular one to install today.” he says, still looking at me.
I raise my eyebrows. “Is what I’m saying making sense?” He is the expert, after all. “Does it make the most sense to go directly with the filter you just told me about, given that we know we have chlorine and high iron?”
More space as he stares at me, and I stare back, waiting. “Yes, actually, yes, that makes the most sense.”
“Then I won’t have to monitor the iron, right?”
“Yup, then you’ll be all set. All you’ll need to do is keep an eye on the chlorine pellet bottle like we talked about.”
“Good. Let’s do it.” I say decisively. I’m amazed at myself, that I can say it decisively. I check within. Yes, I know this is the wisest decision. Yes, I’m willing to deal with Mary questioning my decision or complaining about the extra money. I feel confident in my decision. It makes sense.
What a beautiful world it is, when things make sense. When I understand what is going on, and can make an informed decision. Thank you Universe for making that possible.
I feel like I’m still becoming an adult, again. Forget puberty and that wide swinging of hormones. Now, it is a matter of becoming aware that a choice, or a different choice, is possible. And realizing that I can change the situation, the path of my life, the world. Me. I can do that.