Hydration

Friday, 20 March 2015 | 10:59

Staying adequately hydrated seems to be a challenge, no matter where I live. I knew that even working in an office, I don’t drink enough, but here I need far more. The challenge comes when I don’t realize I’m dehydrated, particularly when I’m working outside. The constant wind during the day really helps to ease the heat, but that’s only because I’m sweating. Which means I’m losing water. A lot of it.

Typically, I’ve been drinking between 3 and 5 liters of water per day before dinner. Which generally seems to work fairly well, but I can tell that I’m still dehydrated.

Yesterday afternoon, I had the opportunity to tag along with one of the teachers to a village Bible study (there will be another post on that). The walk was about half an hour each way and very enjoyable. Nearing home, I started to feel lousy, but figured it was just the sun getting to me. So, I came inside to rest and drank a quart of diluted gatorade. I expected to recover fairly quickly, but instead felt worse and worse (cramping, fatigue, chills, poor circulation in my feet and arms, dizziness). Two hours later, it was off to the clinic to get tested for malaria. Tests came back negative, so it wasn’t that. So, back to the house and the wonderful regimen of ORS began. The main challenge is that when really dehydrated, the body doesn’t want to drink, since being nauseated is one of the symptoms. So you basically have to force yourself to drink, and the flavor isn’t exactly delicious.

After lying down for an hour to try to get my cramping to go away, with very limited success, one of the missionary associates brought me some crackers and conversation. It turns out that both are what I needed - the crackers for energy and conversation to get me to drink (believe it or not, it’s true, I drink more water when talking) and to lift my spirits. By a little after 2200, I was feeling well enough to head off to bed.

Today, I’m still drinking ORS instead of water, but the homemade version, which I find to be far more palatable (especially with the excellent cane sugar here, which has a better taste than the sugar back home). And, to give my body a chance to recover (I’m still not feeling back to normal), I’m taking the day off from work and staying in the shade.

So, here’s to hydration. Sometimes, you just can’t drink enough and need to get out of the heat.