My shower drain got backed up this week which is not the most exciting way I’ve ever started a column, but it got me thinking about Drano.
Most of the time, a clogged drain is full of hair. Drano, then, is designed, mostly, to break down human tissue. They keep Sudafed behind the counter and you have to show ID to buy NyQuil, but Drano, A PRODUCT DESIGNED TO DESTROY YOU ON A MOLECULAR LEVEL? You can get that for $3.99 at Target. Or $2.99 with instant coupon.
I sent a text to Pajiba resident medical expert and full-time trauma nurse NurseEagerBeaverBaby to find out just what Drano, an alkaline corrosive, would do if one swallowed it. She’s my go-to source on such matters, especially at 3:30 a.m. when I tend to get weird.
“You’d melt,” she said. “Drano is an uncoupler and would dissolve the fat bonds in your flesh. Seen it a couple of times. Very nasty shit.”
She always has the best stories. And a great ass.
As a tip for the suicidal and particularly masochistic among you, our spectacularly jaded friend recommends swallowing dry Drano, then chasing it with water.
“If you swallow liquid Drano, you’ll just vomit and wind up melting your face and upper esophagus.”
So you think your life has gone to hell and things can’t get any worse? Imagine how much worse it would be if you were in unfathomable pain, horribly disfigured AND suicidal. Things can ALWAYS get worse.
What you’re doing is giving yourself third degree chemical burns IN YOUR MOUTH AND THROAT. Then vomit - great, frothy plumes of toxic semi-solids - will come spewing out of you with shocking violence. And you’re not just vomiting blood, my friend. Oh, no. That would be just too easy. You’re vomiting out black chunks of your stomach with great force and furious anger. And that caustic vomit? That’s doing further damage to your mouth, throat and probably your nose.
Assuming you survive and (surprise!) you probably will, you can forget about eating like a normal person anytime soon. Not only is your stomach wrecked (and likely sizzling on the floor), you’ve burned your lips, teeth, tongue and throat. Surgery? Buddy, you’re going to get reconstructive surgery like it’s a job.
Not even the sweet release of death will provide you succor. Check this out:
“Very few people who ingest caustics die,” said Howard McKinney, PharmD, a pharmacologist with the San Francisco Poison Control Center who answers telephone inquiries and consults with emergency room staff. “If they do die, it’s days, weeks or even months later, of infection. I’m pretty immune to most gore, but the draw the line at the burn unit.”
Caustics scar the mouth and tongue, puncture holes in the esophagus, burn the chest from the inside and block the gastrointestinal tract with scar tissue. Even the process of treating inner burns is painful; surgeons drop an endoscope, or fiber-optic camera, down the person’s throat, unavoidably scraping it against the raw nerves there, to see what the damage is. Repairing an inner burn can take 15 or 20 years worth of surgical operations, plus fluid therapy and antibiotics to keep infections from growing. Swallowing can be painful for the rest of a person’s life and some survivors of such attempts have to be fed intravenously for years afterward.
Cigarettes will kill you in 40-to-60 years and you have to be 18 to buy them. You have to be 21 to buy alcohol and, short of DUI and/or hilarious chainsaw-related mishap, you’ll have to spend decades as a hardcore alcoholic to die from whiskey. You can send a 12-year-old to buy a several gallons of Drano, a machete, a plastic tarp, two shovels, a sledgehammer and six rolls of duct tape at any hardware store in the country.
… Um, for example.
DON’T YOU JUDGE ME.
Jason Harris and NurseEagerBeaverBaby live in Philadelphia and have no idea what happened to those missing people, detective.