avatarErie Astin


I’m Having Surgery Tomorrow

Going without water will be torture

Photo by JAFAR AHMED on Unsplash

I’m having surgery tomorrow and am wracked with anxiety. Not because of the surgery itself, but because I can’t drink water for four hours beforehand. For me, even ten minutes without water is an eternity!

I have a condition called psychogenic polydipsia that causes me to drink copious amounts of water and panic when I can’t have it. I drink so much that I’ve been hospitalized three times for dangerously low blood sodium. (The water flushes the sodium out.)

If I keep drinking so much without taking my six salt tablets a day and drinking my electrolyte mix, I could have a stroke or a seizure.

My last surgery was only four months ago, in August. After a week of intense stomach pains, it turned out that I had appendicitis. My little rural hospital didn’t have a surgeon on staff, so my mom drove me an hour and a half to the nearest big hospital to have the operation.

On the way there, I had a bathroom emergency and had to rush out to an outhouse in the blazing hot sun. I couldn’t stand my parched dry throat, so I had several large sips of water.

“It’s your life you’re risking!” my mom cried.

I just couldn’t help it. I can’t go without water.

Tomorrow, I might have to take a couple sips within that four hours in order to survive it. My surgery information packet says that if you have medications, you can take them with a sip of water, so I figured taking a sip would be okay. My last sip will be two hours before, so it’s still going to be torture.

I’ll be so glad to get this over with. Right now, I can’t imagine being on the other side of it. There’s just that single, monolithic thought: I can’t have water. I can’t have water.

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Mental Health
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