The Barren Waste

One of the components of my daily Lyme regime is water. I’m always dry, not only as a result of Lyme itself, but also probably from all the meds and supplements I take. It was hard for me to add drinking as much water as possible for several reasons.

In the first place, I’m one of those people who dislikes water and actually chokes on it. Another reason is the memory I have of being in the hospital with Lyme hepatitis. (They diagnosed it as Hep A, but that was process of elimination done while in a state of ignorance about the possibility of Lyme hepatitis–one of the things I figured out later on when studying Lyme in general and my case in particular.)

I was admitted, the ER doctor told me, not only because of my symptoms, which had lasted more than a week at that point, and because of my unbelievable liver panel (they sent it out twice to different labs and told me later they had never seen such high numbers in a person who was not dying at Mad River Hospital in Arcata, before), but also because I was so dehydrated. The only treatment they gave me, other than heavy duty nausea medication, was IV saline to rehydrate me. They do this when they know you can’t possibly drink all the water it would take to rehydrate you enough.

I did not have to drink water, but I did have to get up every 15 minutes, in spite of the muscle and joint pain they didn’t really believe I had because it was not a hepatitis symptom, drag the IV with me past about 10 people there to visit my roommate to get to the bathroom, manage to pee knowing they are all listening just outside the door and then drag the IV back, painfully, get back into bed and repeat the whole thing 15 minutes later. All this while dealing with intermittent nausea, headache with low fever and brain fog so bad that when the doctor asked me if I had had a hysterectomy in my past, I said yes, confusing it with my tubal ligation. My daughter, then a nursing student, who had brought me to the ER, straightened that out. I scarcely remembered my name.  It was hell and if someone had come and told me I was dying I could easily have believed it.

So the point of that is that it impressed upon me how important water must be in general, it gave me a really good motivation to not relapse and it gave me a dandy visualization to whip myself with.

When I resolved to make drinking water part of my holistic plan, the first thing I did was go and buy a water filter. Lyme disease damages the organs that clear toxins from the body. Longtime Lymies should assume that those organs are not working at 100 percent and clear all the toxins they can before ingesting them. There is also some kind of connection between Lyme disease and mercury in the body, one that I don’t quite understand but other scientists do. Many Lyme clinics now routinely test for lead and mercury before proceeding with Lyme antibiotic treatment, in order to deal with that problem first should it present itself. Seems to me if your body is tending to produce or store mercury because of Lyme disease, you’d certainly want to filter it out of your water so that you don’t add any more. Because of this organ damage problem, as well as respiratory allergies exacerbated by Lyme disease, I also have an air filter and use it a lot, but I digress.

In addition to the toxic filtering, water just tastes a whole lot better, most places I’ve ever been, if its filtered. If you’re going to be drinking a lot of it, the better it tastes, the easier it will be to drink it.

Then, I made a new rule, based on the idea of drinking games. To make myself get over  hating to drink water, I started slowly. The rule is, every time you think of water or see water or hear someone say water, you must take a sip. It can be the tiniest sip you can manage, maybe just rinsing out the mouth, but you must take it each and every time. You must carry a water bottle with you at all times and keep it within reach so that you can do this immediately.

Furthermore, you must try to expand the sip, each and every time. Little sips, a big swallow, two big swallows. You don’t want to do it. Its going to make you have to go to the bathroom way more often and, depending on how much pain you are feeling on any given day, this can be a painful journey BUT (here’s my visualization) just pretend you are back in the hospital.

You did all that then, you can certainly do this much now, especially if its lowering the odds that you will have a relapse, get Lyme hep again and have to go back to the hospital.

If I really don’t want to drink water because I know it will increase journeys to the bathroom I just put myself back in the hospital in my head and that usually works. These days, I no longer need to play the drinking game or put myself back in the hospital in my head. I keep about a half-dozen drinking bottles, large and small, circulating, drinking them up and filling them up as I go. I keep one by the computer, one by the TV, one on my mobility scooter and the rest filled up in the fridge. (I’m from the south, I grew up on ice tea. My water has to start out cold, though it can be too cold when I first take it out–hurt my teeth.)

I only make myself play the drinking game when I’ve been slacking off on the water. I still have signs of dehydration all the time, such as the dent that stays on your fingertip if you pinch it, but I have to believe that drinking as much water as I can manage (I’m never going to be in danger of water intoxication, so I don’t worry about THAT too much) is better for me than not drinking as much water as I can.

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