Saturday, 24 September 2011

Personal and Confidential

As mentioned earlier in this blog, my husband and I recently bought an old stone house in the country.  As is common with rural properties, it has a well and a septic system, and as is equally common we had the water tested as part of the purchase of the house.  Inside the house is a filter and UV lamp for water purification – I know a thing or two about water treatment and am fine with this as a purification system.

The seller’s agent had copies of recent water tests all showing that either the well is pristine or the UV lamp is working correctly.  The test results were perfect – just what a buyer wants to see.  But I wanted to know what was actually coming out of the well so my husband and our real estate agent arranged to go back to collect their own sample from outside the house and dropped that off at the local Public Health Office for testing.

Our real estate agent met with me later that day and gave me the card with the sample number on it that I would have to present to get the test results from the Ministry.  No problem – I waited 3 business days, then called the number, entered the sample number and received an automated recording indicating that the water sample was fine.  There was absolutely no E. coli and no coliform bacteria.  Excellent news.  Let the sale proceed.

Two days later, my husband left for an extended business trip overseas.  No problem.  While the trip wasn’t exactly planned, it was something we could work with.  I settled back into my urban life with my urban amenities and busied myself with getting my house ready to sell.

It was the next week that I received The Letter.

It was in a discreet brown envelope from the Province of Ontario’s Public Health Laboratories.  In big, bold, red letters across the front it said:
Personal & Confidential / Personnel et Confidentiel
It was addressed to my husband.

I was stunned.  One of our great strengths is our communication.  We talk often and make a point of ensuring the other person knows what is going on.  I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why he was getting personal and confidential test results from the Public Health Office.  He hadn’t been to the doctor recently (well, he had, but there had been no diagnostics ordered and that kind of test result is given during a return visit).  Normally, I don’t hesitate to open his mail when he is away but I was nervous about this one.  I didn’t know if I wanted to know the contents.  Why is he having tests done that I don’t know about?  Is he keeping something from me?  Do I need to be seeing the public health nurse soon?

I poured myself a drink and sat down with this envelope.  I took a deep breath......

It was the written copy of the water test results.  The well is pristine.

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