Sometimes it takes me more than one time to learn a lesson. Usually it’s because you can have several causes that create the same effect. Like putting metal in the microwave. I put and aluminum tumbler, a clay figurine with metal wire, and a battery operated thermometer (don’t ask) into my microwave on three separate occasions, two of which ended in fire. Or staying hydrated. I love to forget that water is necessary for proper human function.
When I was about 13, I went on vacation with a friend of mine and her family. We went to Cedar Point, and we stayed in this super awesome hotel that had a small indoor water park and arcade in the basement. It was great. We spent all day at Cedar Point, which was my first big-kid adventure to an amusement park. The first ride me went on was this roller coaster called the praying mantis or something like that. It was the kind of ride where you sit down, but your feet are free to dangle, and the little handles up near your shoulders to hold onto. It was freaking terrifying. There were spins, and upside-downs, and many other terribly frightening things I can’t remember because I had my eyes closed the whole time. It was my first roller coaster ever, cut me some slack. I’ve gotten much better since then.
Anywho, for dinner we went to the Outback Steakhouse (I’ll spare you any Aussie-themed jokes), where they were serving my all-time favorite drink: raspberry iced tea. Before I knew it, I had downed 16 of those suckers. The waiter made a joke about cutting me off, but since I had yet to be introduced to alcohol-humor, this wasn’t funny, but instead terrifying. I was thirsty, dangit! Who was this yahoo to tell me how much I was allowed to drink?? It did occur to me that maybe I should switch to drinking water, but the iced tea was too darn good, and I couldn’t just throw away what we had!
When all was said and done and I got back home, I woke up and had to poop in the worst way (I know, TMI, but just keep reading). The only problem was that I couldn’t, as in I was physically incapable. After a very panicked phone call to my mother, we came to the conclusion that I was constipated due to dehydration, and I armed myself with a bottle of chocolax (disgusting stuff) and a glass of water. I’ll spare you the uncomfortable details and just say that it was a long day. I was very careful after that. I carried a water bottle with me everywhere (and still do), and I learned to always order a water in addition to whatever else I drink at restaurants. Case closed, right? Well…
A couple of summers ago, we had what I’ll call an Indian Winter; there were just a couple of days that were blissfully cool. It was nice weather to workout in, and I was kind of bummed when I had to go back to sweating bullets in the hot weather. It didn’t help when I woke up with the worst combination of flu-like symptoms (being any kind of sick when it’s hot outside is eight different kinds of uncomfortable). I stumbled from a visit to the porcelain gods straight to my mom’s room. Have you ever noticed that parents’ bed are so much more comfortable, than, well, anything? I spent the day sweating and shaking it out in front of the TV, taking a break to make an herbal concoction to try and quiet my stomach. I was quickly revisited by said concoction.
By the time my mom came home from work I wasn’t in good shape. I was curled up on her bed on top of the covers in a ball massive discomfort, since anything that was touching my skin felt like 80 grit sandpaper. I know that I couldn’t focus on anything, but I don’t remember if that was because I wasn’t wearing my glasses or I was doing that far off glassy-eyed stare of the mortally wounded and pathetically ill (guess which one I was). When I tried to get up to walk, I swayed backwards, blacked out, fell forward to my knees, and somewhere in all that threw up the orange popsicle I had just eaten. Because of the tilt of my house, the liquid nature of the vomit, and the fact that I was in motion while the whole thing was happening, that orange popsicle was spread over three rooms, which my mother told several people once we made it to the hospital.
As it turns out, it’s very common for people to get dehydrated when the temperature goes from cold to hot very quickly. Your body doesn’t need as much water when it’s cold out, and when it gets hot, you forget that you need more water, and BAM your cells get all dried up screaming for water like
It took three nurses (one of whom was a delightful but very hairy Scotsman) and a doctor to hook me up via IV to what I called my “Happy Bag of Fun,” administer an EKG (which involved completely exposing my boobs – always wear a bra to the emergency room, even if you’re experiencing hypersensitivity due to dehydration) and in various other ways putting me in various forms of discomfort to try treat me. The lady who tried to take blood from me wasn’t even trying to find the vain, I swear she was trying to break off that needle in my arm.
Since then I have been very careful about my water intake, trying to always stay slightly over-hydrated for emergencies (you never know, someone would spontaneously demand I run 5 miles…). However, several days ago my single-minded desire to run overshadowed any thoughts of water in any form other than sweat. So my first workout since I’ve been home for the summer was a 4 mile run. In 86 degree weather. With crazy humidity. Needless to say I woke up the next morning feeling more than a little cruddy. I call it the “Workout Hangover,” because honestly, that’s the best descriptor there is. Aches, headache, cottonmouth, I woke up thinking I had gone out for $2 margaritas the night before before I put the pieces together. Luckily, there was a Swamp People marathon on so I was able to park on the couch all day and watch “gatah” hunting while I slowly re-hydrated.
The bottom line is dehydration is one of the biggest pains in the rump and totally avoidable, I’m just hard-headed. Water is good for you, peeps. A bottle of ice-water with lemon is just as effective at waking you up as a cup of coffee, fun fact. So don’t neglect water, agua, H2O, or whatever you choose to call it, because water does not respond well to being neglected.