Marlene and I have recently been on another adventure together. This one not so much fun.
A few days ago we went for our weekly lunch. We usually talk about our weekend, what’s happening with our families, we plan adventures, solve all the worlds problems and we laugh a lot. We make the rounds of all the eating establishments in town and occasionally venture further afield. It was fish week at The Mill so we met there. Marlene said she didn’t have much of an appetite and just picked at her food while we chatted. She obviously was not feeling herself and soon became very pale, began to sweat, was weak and lightheaded. She said she felt like she was going to pass out and maybe throw up. Her skin felt cold and clammy and her lips turned blue.
I tried hard to stay calm and told her to sit still, sip water, while I got the car and drove her to the hospital, under protest, I might add.
“I’m OK,” she kept saying, but I thought it best have her checked out.
So we spent the rest of the day in emergency. It’s not the kind of adventure we usually like but seemed the right one at the time. It was only a short time before she was registered and with her symptoms she was wheeled into the emergency ward immediately where she got to lay down relieving some of the anxiety. Everything takes time but soon blood was taken and she was wired up to machines with her heart, blood pressure and all that monitored. Colour began to return to her face and panic was starting to wane.
When all tests were reviewed and she was examined it was determined she was suffering from dehydration. An IV was installed and she was flooded with fluids. After a time she was allowed to go home.
She won’t be totally pleased that I tell you all this, but I feel it is important for all of us to be reminded how dangerous dehydration is. It kind of sneaks up on you by depriving your body of the ability to conserve water and it stops us from feeling thirst. Dehydration, untreated, can cause severe seizures, kidney failure and death.
Dehydration means you are not taking in enough water to replace the output. You lose fluids through breathing, sweating and going to the bathroom. Dehydration can occur when one has flu-like symptoms like the runs or throwing up, profuse sweating through work or exercise, not drinking enough or eating properly or even just being outside on a really hot day. Symptoms include fatigue, lightheadedness, increased heart rate, headache, low blood pressure.
Seniors don’t always eat right or drink enough, especially if we live alone, so we have to make a concerted effort to pay attention to what and how much we eat and drink. Kids involved in outdoor summer sports are at risk as are those who work outside in very hot weather or who exercise with intensity. Drink lots of water and remember wine and beer don’t count, in fact, alcohol makes matters worse.
You don’t want to go through what we just did because it is really scary and so easily preventable. Like Marlene, you might think you are drinking enough, but drink a few extra glasses of water during the day anyway, just to make sure. Take care of yourself.