Raise your hand if this ever happens to you – you look at the watch and it’s been several hours, yet you’re uncannily not thirsty. Strange, right? This has been my reality my entire life. I was born a very un-thirsty person. So of course, after becoming someone with a spinal cord injury and a regular catheter-user, not liking water was the worst things I could possibly have a preference about.
My physiatrists, urologists and regular medical doctors have all pounded it into me too – you need to drink water constantly if you want any chance of living a comfortable life. Been dogged down with chronic UTI’s is no way to live, and unfortunately, this has been my reality the last 20 years. I’ve tried desperately to make palette fall in love with water, but still no love arrow has struck.
My first experiment was to try to drink cranberry juice as a replacement for water. I can actually stand that more than water itself. But of course I quickly found out that cranberry juice does not make a good bladder “flusher” so-to-speak. So I moved onto my next theory, which came about in college. I found out that drinking warm to even hot water, plain, made it go down easier.
Yup, hot water. I know that sounds extremely gross to a lot ofpeople, but to me it’s one of the most delicious things ever. Simple, hot reverse-osmosis water (which I get in refill jugs from the grocery store), heated up. And I’m not the only one who prefers drinking hot water either. In parts of Asia, notably Vietnam, it’s common for elderly people to drink warm water on a regular basis. Maybe I was Asian in the past life?
And later on in college I discovered another way to make hot water go down even better – Canarino, hot lemon bags from Italy, which I ordered online. Each bag is stuffed with dried lemon rinds that put into hot water to give it brighter flavor. I’ve always been a fan of lemons and limes in cold water on a hot day, but on average days, hot water with a lemon bag can’t be beat.
And after college I went through a rather long phase of trying to make water even more interesting by using Crystal Light packets. The hot water with lemon can only entertain you 24/7 for so long. A little variation is key. However…I quickly became addicted to the fruit punch flavor, and drank it on a constant basis for at least a 3 to 4 years.
Little did I know it was full of horrible chemicals that made my bladder situation even worse. Remember this folks – Crystal Lights is full of chemicals and other questionable ingredients. Always try to go natural, and this is not the way to do it. I quit drinking Crystal Light a few years ago, and I noticed a huge difference right away.
And since quitting Crystal Light cold turkey, I’ve been back on the plain old hot water band wagon adding nothing but good vibes to each cup when I heat it up in the microwave (a solid 1:30 minutes each time = perfection). And my go-to cup that makes my whole life easier, letting me fill it up on my own without any issues is my MiGo plastic cup, a great cup I scored at Target several years ago.
The cup comes with an easy-to-remove plastic top, which helps keep my water warm for much longer time. The cup is great, but when I’m on the go I run into hydration issues (I’m still waiting on the built-in microwave for powerchairs). Drinking cold water is no quite difficult.
As it stands, I’ve become resistant to about half of the antibiotics prescribed for chronic UTI situations, and I’m not getting any younger. Drinking enough water more than ever is critical to my long-term survival. I’ve now become old enough to realize it doesn’t need taste good. I need to just do it. I’ll never love water, and I’m ok with that. Being around here long enough is what really matters.
What tricks do you have to meet your daily water quota?