The Dead Pool (Health)

Elixir of Life

Water bottles

Water – so annoying and yet so very necessary. Without it, you shrivel into a prune and develop massive health problems. With it, you have to confront the necessity of stepping away from your computer for bathroom breaks. Kind of a catch-22, but I’m going to assure you the former is the better option.


Because you can only lose 75% of your kidney function before you have to face the reality of dialysis and needing a kidney transplant. That REALLY cuts into writing time. So drinking your 64 ounces (at least) a day of water is important. Your kidneys will thank you, and so will your body.

Now, I used to struggle with meeting that goal. It was just plain impossible – not only from a practical standpoint (my previous job made it impossible on a lot of levels) but from the fact that I just plain didn’t want to guzzle that much fluid. Have you ever measured out 64 ounces? It’s insane! Even broken down over 15 hours, it was too much. Well, I convinced myself it was too much. Plus, it was water. Water was BORING.

Then I got a kidney stone.

I cannot accurately describe the level of pain a kidney stone produces. That 1-10 scale they ask in the ER? I gasped out a 13 and meant it (okay, I meant a 236, but they rolled their eyes at my 13). After the stone was analyzed, coffee and tea fell off the list of things I was allowed to have (a lot fell off that list, but we’re discussing fluids). Do you know what it’s like to be a writer and be deprived of coffee?! (Side note: soda was already off my list due to other health issues – being me is fun!)

Water became my new best friend. And it turned out water wasn’t so bad after all. Kidney stones don’t like acid, so I added a touch of cranberry juice or lemonade to my water for flavor. Now the struggle was meeting that 64-ounce goal each day. It still felt like an insane amount to achieve during my waking hours. I mean, remembering to eat was difficult enough – now I needed to drink, too?

Parents to the rescue!

My parents bought me that big blue water bottle you see in the picture. It holds 64 ounces, so I didn’t have to keep track of glasses each day. (Yes, I tried that – it didn’t work) I fill it each morning, and it sits beside me on my desk while I work. That shade of blue is in the corner of my eye while I work – a nice subtle reminder. When I need to run errands or when I hit the gym, it’s a bit bulky. So I have my trusty Child water bottle for those times. That water bottle holds 20 oz. I either fill it from the big bottle or fill it separately and go for more than 64 oz. for the day.

Yes, drinking regularly means peeing regularly. I’ve made my peace with that fact (seriously – is it THAT much time out of your day?). Mostly because I’ve noticed other benefits from meeting my water intake each day:

  • My skin looks amazing
  • My hair isn’t falling out or breaking anymore
  • My lips don’t chap as much
  • My weight stays on an even keel
  • I don’t wake up parched
  • The blue bottle has some heft to it, so I get an arm workout every day

It’s your call, really: stay healthy enough to continue your writing, or sacrifice your health and lose time you could be writing. Personally, I hate hospitals, so I do everything I can to avoid them. If that means I have to step away from the keyboard a few times a day, I’m willing to accept that.

Besides, no way in hell am I going through another kidney stone!

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