“Daddy must be cooking again…

In my household, our children can tell who’s doing the cooking long before they’ve entered the kitchen or tasted the food.  Why?  Because they heard the smoke detector.  I am notorious for using high heat and causing ousmoke-detector1r smoke detector to send a high pitch scream throughout the house.  This can be very inconvenient, like today, Feb 14th, when I planned on letting my Valentine catch up on some much needed sleep and attempted to make the kids some breakfast.  Instead of the sweet aromas of my well prepared breakfast causing my bride to gently levitate  from her fully charged rest, she was catapulted from a deep sleep by a monstrous screeching pitch.

And this got me to thinking… After I shut off the life disturbing, I mean life saving device, I took a minute to ponder its existence.  I looked around the room and saw no smoke whatsoever.  I couldn’t even smell smoke.  There was no evidence of which I could detect that something might be amiss.  And this caused me to feel grateful.  Wasn’t that indeed the reason why we bought this new smoke detector a month ago?  I want it to detect that something is happening long before it gets to be a bigger issue.  I want the earliest detection possible.  The problem is not with the smoke alarm.  it is doing the exact job I want it to do.  It is telling me when there is smoke in the air- even if it is just a little.  It wouldn’t make any sense to unplug it or take out the batteries.  I installed it in the house because of its valuable function.

Our body has many different signals to tells us something is amiss.   Simple fatigue, slight discoloration of our skin, a small krink in the back, inability to sleep through the night, loss of focus, numbness in the arm and hands, or slow digestion are all symptoms of some other cause.  they are like little alarms going off to let us know something is up.  Pain is usually the last and loudest alarm to get our attention.  Sometimes, people may choose to turn off the alarm because they don’t like the alarm.  They  chose to take painblockers, sleeping pills, or some other chemical agent in order to “trick” the body into thinking everything is fine.  This is equivalent to turning off the detector.  I’m not saying that these things don’t have their place, I believe they can be very helpful.  But it might be more prudent to look to see if there is a fire before shutting off the alarm.   It is kind of like handing out earplugs to your family when the smoke alarm goes off.

I appreciate having a sensitive smoke alarm.  The detector is working just fine.  It is my cooking that needs a little help.

-Dr. Gould

p.s. Happy Valentine’s Day Molly.  Maybe tomorrow you’ll get that sleep.