15 January 2007

Water, water, every where, / Nor any drop to drink. / The very deep did rot. . . .

Yesterday, a friend came to visit Noel, and then she drove south to Lafayette for a night with her parents. When Ashlie walked into the house, her mother informed her that she'd been thinking of me all day because she'd earlier heard of a Jennifer Strange who died in a "how much water can you drink without going to the bathroom" contest. So, Ashlie left me a voicemail to this effect and I later researched the facts.

The BBC version of the story indicates that this doppelganger was only a year younger than I, though with three kids and a desire for a Wii. Thus, she entered a radio contest offering a free Wii to the contestant who drank the most water without a visit to the WC.

I can hardly believe that this radio station had the idiocy to concoct such a contest. In a day when the dangers of drinking too much water are a standard component of anti-hazing Greek governance (frats had taken to replacing beer-guzzling with water-guzzling for their underage members, but that only made undergrads die from water toxication rather than alcohol poisoning) and marathon training programs (because when you sweat that much, you must replace not only water but also electrolytes), one would think that someone at that station would have better sense.

As I understand it, the chemistry lesson basically goes like this: the cells in our bodies have an amazing balance of electrolytes and water, but if you take in too much water at once, you throw that balance off and the cells swell. But your body doesn't like swollen cells, so it shuts down.

Now, that doesn't mean you shouldn't drink water. I, for one, drink lots of it every day because I enjoy the privilege of autothermoregulation and general hydration. We drink so many sodas and caffeinated beverages that we don't realize how thirsty we really are. But everything in a balance: we need salty foods too so that the water can stick to our bones (as it were).

Just because "wee" is a homophone with "wii" doesn't mean wit can compensate for good sense. Still a dumb idea, but better if they had been drinking Gatorade or beer or soda. That's what my teary-eyed husband suggested after hearing the story, just before he insisted I quit telling him about it because it was just too horrible.


Micah said...

this is a horrible story--good thing you stayed away from it--and your use of the word autothermoregulation almost made me forget really how bad all this is. if only you had thrown in the word hyponatremia and an educational link.

Lindsey said...

This is the first I'm hearing of this terrible story. Her poor family! I smell a lawsuit.

P.S. Micah, you crack me up!

BTW, glad you like the cloth diapers!

Jen Strange said...

I did consider an educational link, but my lack of chemical expertise made me wary of it--I wanted a good one, after all, and wasn't sure I knew enough to select such. Should've asked my husband :)

Lin, next time you come over, I'll give you a special treat and let you change one of those cloth diapers!

lauren said...

Does Micah have postpartum? What's with the waterworks?

That is a terrible story. Esp. since she has those babies. Ugh. Makes my stomach hurt.

Jen Strange said...

He's just a sensitive man :)

But he did have sympathy prego symptoms, so maybe he does have postpartum. Or maybe it's just fatigue. After getting up to pee at night so often during pregnancy, and now being able to sleep so late and/or nap during the day, I'm not phased by the mid-night feedings and diaper changes, but it's all new to Micah. And he has to work then too. I mean, somebody's got to earn the bread around here.

rachel for the hoods said...

what? you guys get to eat bread...we haven't had bread since the second diaper wearer came along...hehhe...so youv'e already resorted to enlisting help for the wonderful smartbottoms ...by the way, what do you do at church...

and what is with this story...i didn't reply yet because...what...i mean are we dealing with people of average intelligence living in civilization...a toy motivated her to stop peeing...do you think incontinence would have disqualified me...i have a cold and i wonder if there was like a person who checked to see if people were wearing "help" ...i am considering them this week

Jen Strange said...

You mean how do we finagle the cloth diapers at church? Well, we've only been once, and he didn't go to the nursery. Someone else with a baby now is using cloth, though, and she says it's no big deal--they know Graham's in cloth and now how to work his diapers, so it's easy schmeazy.

As for the contest--maybe you're onto something there, wondering if some of the others were wearing Depends or whatever. Ick, what a thought. And what a scandal that would be!