Posted by: dougery | January 17, 2011

What’s Going to Kill Me Now: Dehydration

This week in “What’s Going to Kill Me Now” is something pretty innocuous all things considered. It isn’t some exotic disease or an attack from a ravenous wild animal or even the insane machinations of a psycho killah (Norman Bates). No, this week it is dehydration. Don’t laugh, sounds frivolous but this is serious business.

Since it got cold, which if I had to guess was about 10 or 12 years ago, give or take 140 months or so, there hasn’t been a whole lot of airborne moisture about. Combine this with the fact that our 3 bedroom farmhouse is heated by radiators which dry the atmosphere of our home out even further and you have a recipe for death by dehydration.

I am reminded of a scene toward the beginning of a quaint little film that scared the bajeezus out of Young Me (namely, Tremors) where a utility repair dude, or the withered corpse of the same, is found high atop a telephone or electrical poll far in the desert. The image of his brown shriveled raisin face is scorched forever into my brain, and the reason he allowed this to happen to himself is one of the movie’s opening mysteries. The reason, spoiler alert, is that giant sandworms are out and about the arid basin below and are devouring people from underneath as they walk about the ground. Rather than be eaten by a gruesome worm, this worker decided he would wait it out in the merciless sun until they left. Apparently they did not leave fast enough.

I can’t say that giant sandworms are the cause of my bouts of dehydration nor can I rule them completely. Realistically speaking, I just don’t drink enough water. Especially in the evening. Because after I go to sleep and 8 hours or so pass, I wake up and feel like I’ve been punched squarely in the face. It’s all… horrible and congested and dried up all at once. My dear friend Oline suggests a home remedy but I have not yet taken up her methods. I do not think I am that brave.

So I get up in the morning and promptly drink a giant glass of water. Just pound the thing. (Possible TMI ahead, you’ve been warned) And then after breakfast and a visit to the loo I witness the passing of water which is a disturbing color not found in nature, practically a radioactive yellow that suggests I see a doctor and fast. Since my family is full of practitioners, a phone call to my brother reveals that I do not have some sort of infection or urine disease but am simply dehydrated. The prescription is simple: I need to drink more water.

Ugh, more?

The problem is I do not like water. I like coffee and tea and diet dr pepper and beer or whiskey but mostly any imbibable liquid that is not dull, tasteless water (or milk, Lord do I dislike milk). Most if not all of these drinks actively remove what little water I’ve drank out of my system. So it’s a neverending battle I wage against my own body. It tells me to drink delicious tasting beverages and then later whines about me not drinking the non-delicious ones. Fickle bastard. Make up your non-mind.

I don’t really think I will die of dehydration. Not really. But thanks to a friend of mine, who moved to AZ a while back and then came back to regale us with his desert adventures, I am now morbidly terrified of what dehydration might lead to, namely: kidney stones. This is why I drink gallons of cranberry juice. Because I do not drink enough water and not having enough solution in ones body can and does lead to the formation of the crystals that after a time grow whole millimeters in diameter and then get lodged in ones urethra and that, friends, sounds like the worst thing in the world. Cranberry juice is supposedly an counter-aid.

My father had a kidney stone and I am told it is largely genetic, ones chance of getting a kidney stone. My father was also a professional world-class drinker, so that might have had some part to play in his malady, but boy howdy do I have the screaming fantods that I will follow in his footsteps and suffer what many have called ‘the worst pain imaginable.’ Yeah, that’s right ladies, worse than contractions. ‘Cause like, and I’m not taking anything away from the horrendous process you all endure giving birth, but you guys are sort of designed to stretch and give and accommodate the whole labor and delivery thing. And a kid ain’t exactly a sharp, spiky ball of calcified minerals of death. No, passing a kidney stone is perfectly unnatural while having a baby sort of has to happen in order to perpetuate the species.

Colicky, is what the pain of passing a kidney stone is called. That means it flares up periodically.  They say it last from 20 minutes to an hour and that the pain from a ureter freaking out and spasming all over the place radiates up into your lower belly, down between your legs, below and then up into your lower back and oh yeah, all this is accompanied by the sensation that you’ve been kicked in the nuts really really hard. Sign me up!

Apparently 85% of kidney stones are passed without anyone evening knowing it. Here’s hoping that I am one of the 85%. Because I am way too much of a wuss to survive such a thing. If I had been born XX instead of XY there is exactly zero chance I would reproduce—and that isn’t even as bad as passing a kidney stone, allegedly.

So yeah, tune in next week* to find out what’ll be killing me then. Until that time I’ll just be not drinking water and setting myself up for utter disaster.

*I won’t actually be updating this morbid featureevery week, it’s sort of just something one says, not to be taken literally, so don’t get all pouty and come whining to my corner of the interweb when I haven’t yet decided what’s killing me next week. Capiche? That, or might actually be dead. And you’d feel real bad then.

Watching: Dexter S1



  1. so i’m one of those people who thinks dehydration is pretty much the cause of every illness in the world. if you have a headache, drink water! if you feel dizzy, drink water! if you’re worrying, drink water! water is the key to EVERYTHING! now, if only they could make it taste good.

    (incidentally and in the vein of TMI- if you’re taking a multivitamin of any variety, that might also be giving you freakish pee, since you have to pee the excess iron out.)

  2. Back in November our radiators came on because it got cold and also because it got cold I started drinking more coffee tea and beer the combination of which along with the dryer air outside left me with bad headaches (wicked headaches, in the parlance of the hill people) every day which at first I hoped meant I was developing telekinesis but turns out I was just dehydrated. Boo.

    • So I’ve decided to trick myself. Now, when I am almost done with my morning OJ or Cranberry juice I leave an inch or so at the bottom and then fill the bottle up with water. Sure, it tastes like watered down fruit, but not like water.

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