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Kidney stones caused by lack of water, so use Stanleys

Whether you’re Team Ovala or Team Hydro Flask, it should go without saying that bottles don’t matter as long as you don’t actually drink water from them.

And that goes for all those charming young TikTokers who have made Stanley Cups such a hot accessory that people storm Target the moment a new color comes out.

Despite our alleged dependence on hydration, one of the most painful conditions related to low hydration is on the rise in numbers and demographics. Once considered the affliction of older, obese white men, kidney stones are now becoming more common among children and black and brown communities.

Women too. According to a 2018 Mayo Clinic report, women are now four times more likely to get kidney stones than they were 40 years ago.

If you don’t think this is an alarming trend, then you’ve never had a kidney stone.

I have, despite the fact that I own enough insulated water bottles to line up an entire football team and myself feel like I’m always sipping from one of them.

But feelings are not facts, as I found out when I ended up in the emergency room asking for very strong drugs or, failing that, a quick death.

My previous knowledge of kidney stones was vague and second-hand. I remember my father having them many years ago and I knew they were painful. But I’m healthy, eat sensibly (for a carnivore), exercise daily and (I thought) drink lots of water – why would I care about such things?

Because those pointy little suckers happen out of nowhere, apparently like miscarriages and seizures in a certain percentage of the population. Consisting of minerals and salts, they often hang in the kidneys or carelessly pass through the urinary tract without bothering anyone.

But some of them will take you all the way down.

Kidney stone survivors will no doubt recognize my story. I had just met my daughter for a short walk with our dog when I felt a slight cramp. A block later, the cramp progressed to a «strange pain.» After about a block I told my daughter I couldn’t go any further. We turned and got about 50 yards before I leaned against the obedient fence. “I’m going to puke,” I said as I dropped to my knees. «I’ll get a car,» she replied.

We took two cars, so she drove me to mine and I convinced her and myself—because on some level I couldn’t believe this was happening—that I could go home. I was sure I would feel better if I sat down and drank some water. She followed me with the dog. But as I drove the pain got worse and I realized I had to pull over. When I saw the sign for our local emergency room, I thought maybe I should stop by.

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As I got out of the car the pain clouded my vision and I thought it wise to lay down between my car and his neighbor. When my daughter saw her mother on the tarmac, she called for help and a nice paramedic helped me into a wheelchair and took me to the emergency room. There, convinced I was going to pass out, I lay down again. On the floor of the waiting room.

I know.

All the while, one part of my fractured mind was racing to put what was happening into some reasonable context. It was like something exploded, but on the left side, so it couldn’t be my appendix. Ovary? It went all the way to the back, so maybe a kidney? Accidentally ruptured kidneys? Or was I just having a hallucinatory episode? After all, I was out for a walk 20 minutes ago.

Yet there I was, lying on the floor of the waiting room, so something was definitely wrong. Over the course of my adult life, I’ve experienced significant abdominal pain—period cramps that left me bedridden and panting, an excruciating miscarriage, two prolonged labors, a C-section recovery, not to mention a dislocated knee cap and a torn meniscus.

Everything hurt like hell, but never enough to knock me to the floor.

Nicer people helped me back into my wheelchair and wheeled me to the emergency room while I sat with my legs cut off trying to describe the nature of the pain—like a spear had been driven into my stomach and back—and apologizing intermittently. for drama. I felt vaguely ashamed that there was no spear or blood and shattered bones – surely this level of agony should include obvious and indisputable physical evidence.

My husband arrived as I was being helped onto a gurney in the lobby. The next six hours were a blur. When the pain subsided briefly, I regretted my decision to come to the hospital for what could have turned out to be gas or something equally mundane and embarrassing. When it came back, I wondered, sometimes audibly, what I had done to deserve to die in a gurney in the hallway and still on my feet. I was given an NSAID IV which helped until it didn’t. By the time the scan confirmed that the stone was blocking my kidney and causing renal colic, I was a churning pool of agony, hysterically demanding that my husband do a Shirley Maclaine in «Terms of Endearment» and go get me stronger medication.

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When I could think, I conjured up all those movie images of the hero still fighting or driving after being shot/stabbed/thrown off a cliff – if the filmmakers really wanted to show superhuman durability, they’d give their protagonists kidney stones. Except the villains would definitely get away or destroy the world because the hero would be too busy moaning «someone please help me» like I was.

When the kind nurse finally administered the morphine, all I could do was whimper, «What if it doesn’t work?» – perhaps it would be better to remove the whole kidney right in the hall. «It’s morphine,» he said. «It will work.»

And it happened, so suddenly and mercifully, that after thanking God and all the angels and saints, I went back to wondering if I had been hallucinating the whole thing. I wasn’t lying in a pool of my own blood and guts; I have not (thank goodness) been diagnosed with any life changing condition or disease. Nor did the alien force its way out of my stomach just to move around the hospital floor (although at certain points that outcome seemed not only possible, but likely).

After a few hours of monitoring, the doctor sent me home with some prescriptions. I felt OK. Wringed out like a rag, terrified the pain would return and deeply suspicious of my internal organs, but otherwise OK.

It didn’t make sense. How does one go from feeling fine to assuming death is near and then feeling fine again in a matter of hours?

Kidney stones.

Although some get through with minimal or no pain, between 500,000 and one million patients end up in the emergency room each year. If the stone is large enough (mine wasn’t), various medical procedures may be required — soccer icon Pelé had to undergo one in 2019 surgically removed.

As with miscarriage, you may not know that some of your nearest and dearest have gone through similar trials until you share yours. I mentioned my cousin and she immediately relayed a similar story (which immediately put my mind at ease since she’s in much better shape than I am).

We both agreed that this not uncommon but highly traumatic and potentially life-changing experience is strangely underrepresented in media of all types, especially given its increasing rate and connection to climate change.

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Yes, climate change. The incidence of kidney stones is already higher in areas with hot and dry summers; in certain circles, the southeastern United States is known as the kidney belt. As global warming sends heat waves to larger parts of the world, it will only get worse. According to the article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the percentage of «the US population living in high-risk zones for nephrolithiasis (kidney stones) will increase from 40% in 2000 to 56% by 2050 and to 70% by 2095.»

Seventy percent, people.

So some of us really need to stop hating water bottles and focus on how often we drink from them.

Google «kidney stones» and you’ll find all sorts of ways to prevent them: exercise more or less; increase or decrease calcium; get more vitamin C, but not in supplements; avoid foods high in oxalate, which include peanuts, spinach, chocolate, and rhubarb.

But everyone agrees on hydration.

Worried that my addiction to peanuts (and fondness for strawberry rhubarb jam) had gotten me into this mess, I asked my own doctor if I should stop eating certain things. He shook his head.

«Moderation in all things,» he said. “Except for water.

The general consensus is that women living in temperate climates should drink about 3.7 liters or 125 ounces of water per day. That’s almost eight 16-ounce servings, which is undeniably a lot of water. But you better believe I’m counting the ounces.

And not only from water. To make it more interesting, not everyone agrees good hydration best achieved with water that tends to flow right through you. Some studies suggest that orange juice, tea, or milk (all of which fit nicely into each insulated flask) are more effective.

Also, lemonade, which, like orange juice, has the added benefit of providing vitamin C in its natural state and may help prevent stone formation, research suggests.

As luck would have it, and living in SoCal, I have a lemon tree in my backyard. I’ve also rejected TikTok, choosing a large Yeti to hold my endless supply of homemade lemonade, and if I miss your call or text, it’s undoubtedly because I’m either squeezing lemons or in the bathroom.

When life gives you kidney stones, make lemonade. But be sure to drink it too.

#Kidney #stones #caused #lack #water #Stanleys

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