Hot Flashes as Alternative Energy

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Dan Zenka
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 44
   Posted 5/11/2011 1:25 PM (GMT -6)   

A bit of humor and some calculations reveal the potential of harnessing the power of hot flashes.

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Imagine 80,000 hot-flashing men standing around an enclosed tower similar to this...

Over the weekend, I was exchanging emails with Craig Pynn, a reader of this blog and a fellow passenger on this journey with prostate cancer. I first met Craig via this forum and had the pleasure of meeting him and his wife in person at a conference this past summer. Our cases and ensuing treatments are similar. Our senses of humor also seem to run in parallel. As a patient, I believe we all either develop or expand our capacity for humor as a coping mechanism. I also believe Craig and I have expanded what must have been already been a robust love of laughter, or at least the ability to see things a bit differently. I share with you our Saturday morning musings…

Craig wrote (in response to my post on Friday):  I knew you were a creative, exuberant guy, but you’ve achieved wonderful new heights (so to speak)! The image of you dancing in the lav will stay with me for a long time–and I’m pretty sure I’ll no longer ever use the airborne facility without thinking of your terpsichorean joy in that tiny space. Hooray for oddness let loose. Congrats, too, on undetectable PSA. BTW, a drug like Detrol (I’m using Vesicare) really works wonders on the urgency issue. Get that script filled!

I replied over my first cup of morning coffee: Glad I could elevate your thoughts about those lavatories!  I really had to think twice about sharing this one lest I be locked up.   My testosterone is at 5… My oncologist says the norm in treatment is around 20. Guess that explains the level of my side effects.

Craig: I can’t tell you how much I appreciated your post.  It was humor that I sorely needed and even if I’m the only guy on the planet who laughed out loud, it was worth the trouble (risk?) you took to post it.  My Dad died on Tuesday.  Even though he was 88, and his passing was not unexpected, as his eldest son, I’ve been through the emotional wringer–amplified, I’d say, by low T (mine’s 16).  This I know: (1) it’s easier to cry (that’s good, I think); (2) crying leads to unbelievable hot flashes. Thanks again for your gift of humor.  Will we ever get to see you on Dancing With the Stars?

I responded: I’ll stick with dancing in the bars when I can muster the energy!

I am sorry to hear about your loss.  I hope you are comforted by many wonderful memories. Knowing I was able to make you laugh tells me it was worth posting. Your family is in my prayers.

Now here’s where Lupron-influenced minds begin to wander… I added: P.S… I wonder if we put all of America’s hot-flashing men in one place, would we have nuclear-style meltdown or would be be able to produce enough thermal energy to light a medium sized city? Of course, I suppose we would all need to sync our flashes…

Little did I know at this point that I was talking with an electrical engineer who had probably started his morning coffee two time zones earlier. Craig replied: I think you’re on to something.  There may be a post for you in this. I haven’t done the math  (I may have never taken calculus, but the following certainly seemed like math to me…), but let’s assume that somewhere around 20% of the men who are treated for PCa end up on ADT for, say, two years on average.  OK, @ 200,000 men diagnosed per year, 20% is 40,000 men per year times two years = 80,000 flashing guys in the general population at any given moment.  (It’s actually a bit less, since only about 80% of guys on ADT actually have flashes, but let’s assume 100% for simplicity.) I’m guessing that each flash generates, oh, let’s say, 10 watts for a period of about 30 seconds.  That works out to 0.0833 watt-hours. I don’t know about you, but on any average day I have about 5 flashes (including a couple of big ones at night).  Let’s assume I’m average. That would be 0.4167 watt-hours per day per guy times 80,000 guys or 33,333 watt-hours, which equals 33.3 Kilowatt-hours per day.

Kilowatt-hours is the unit used to measure electricity consumption; e.g. a 100 watt bulb lit for 10 hours = 1 kilowatt-hour. So a simple way of visualizing the power generated by the US population of hot- flashing guys–assuming you could get them to synchronize their flashes–is the equivalent to lighting about thirty-three 100 watt bulbs for 10 hours each day, or running the central air in your house (~3 KWatts per hour) for about 10 hours.

 Nuclear-style meltdown? Happily, not. Light a medium-size city? Alas, no. But you could cool your house in Southern California for free if you could harness all the hot-flashing energy that is otherwise simply warming the atmosphere. I guess I should also note that this number, unhappily, will only increase as increasing numbers of boomers like you and I are diagnosed with this darned disease… Sorry about the foregoing. I’m an electrical engineer. I cannot control this sort of behavior, and I’m unaware of an Engineers Anonymous organization that could help me control this bizarre addiction.

Best, Craig

There you have it… the world’s first theory on harnessing the power of hot flashes. Of course, there are practical complications… First, I doubt we could convince our employers to provide paid Hot Flash Leave so we could collectively power the world and, second, I guess we have to admit, we’re just not that hot.  It looks like Craig and I won’t be heading to Stockholm anytime soon to pick up our Nobel Peace Prizes. But, I wonder…what would we achieve if we added our sisters in hot flashes?

Bless you and your family, Craig. And, thank you for the laugh returned!

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