Rehydration I

Some time back I was at a restaurant in Ruai with kin having a drink or two (hopefully ‘restaurant’ puts the type of drink into positive context). Our seats granted us ample view of the parking area.

As we regaled in catch-up chatter, a car whizzed into the parking lot and the raring driver brought it to a halt in a fashion that suggested he and Michael Schumacher are keen buddies: While still in gear and with the vehicle in motion, he shut down the engine and hopped out.

He then proceeded towards the right locality of the car park in a semi-sprinting, semi-walking mash-up with bloodshot, corrosive eyes directed toward his destination, a deep frown finishing up the determined look on his face.

We were already saying prayers for whoever dared to cross paths with this angel of death and was unfortunate enough to still be on earth, let alone this park. His passenger back in the car looked unfazed though. Hitler’s protégé?

Apparently not. The man was just hard-pressed and to the right of the car park was a lavatory. The bloodshot eyes were merely attesting to the presence of alcohol in them.

His huffed demeanor still begged further explanation. Short calls are generally urgent, but being adults we have some mastery over our bowel functions that make life less of a pain. So what would send a man who I assume had just left the premises rushing back as if his bladder had zombie-like control over him, but with a much more worthwhile speed and urgency?

It then occurred to me that more likely than not this was no ordinary visit to the gents, at least not according to the assessment of his body. This was a call to eliminate poison (read alcohol) and poison is given the honor it deserves. The honor of a skilled foe. It was to be discarded without delay. Seldom do we notice when our bodies are being gentle to us until we see the predicament of others.

Now that lavatory matters are a bit familiar, it is common knowledge that yellow urine is a sign of good health, or that at least everything is okay. If you don’t appreciate that color just know that we are all jealous because you have never been on medication or an ailment that practiced colorful sorcery on your pee, turning it red, orange, or even black, imposing thoughts of imminent death on you in the process.

Yet I would advocate for a better color. Yellow is fine, but yellow is concentrated. This means water in the body was gold, and only a little could be spared for use in dispensing waste. Tsk tsk. Not a good idea. Such an important undertaking, so few the resources available to carry it out.

Why not opt for clear (or colorless, if a physicist is not nearby)? It is yellow because it is concentrated with wastes such as urea and a host of excess salts.

We use water to eliminate waste, but since there is just enough water in the body, the kidneys have had to be conservative in their cleansing work and concentrate as much waste as they can filter from blood into little water so that you don’t end up dehydrated at the expense of waste disposal.

The end result is that less waste is dispatched and the kidneys, which rely on blood volume to work (directly related to how much water you drink) will not be working at full capacity.

The body is quick to eliminate these wastes because when they accumulate they can bring normal body functions to a halt, albeit gradually. Many diseases don’t just show up but are usually the culmination of several things going wrong over time.

It would therefore be prudent to stop them (the internet would be happy to furnish you with a long list of kidney and kidney-related ailments, including bad boys such as kidney stones and high blood pressure) before they occur. Long story short, it is easier to prevent than to treat. Those bad boys sometimes wait until old age to show up and make you pay for the mistakes of your youth.

Drinking water habitually is a good way of keeping the kidneys happy and your body so clean the bad boys will hate it. It is also easier said than done. Nevertheless, we should dare to dream.

The trick is not to try and gulp as much as possible in one sitting. That is taxing and brutal to the body. It is also dangerous. Haemodilution, they call it. A sip at a time is a good way to go. Spacing the intervals as evenly as possible during the day would maintain the body water at levels that don’t force the kidneys to be frugal.

Of course, the sips only apply to casual drinking and major thirst should be given the gallons it deserves, however, I will be exploring good habits of drinking water in another article, today I hope I have piqued your interest into hydrating more often.

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