Recently, while visiting my daughter at college, I awoke in the night with the worst pain I’ve had since giving birth.  In a way this suffering was more severe than childbirth, because the cannonball that was grinding inside my belly never let up the way contractions do.  I thought I had food poisoning.  After hours of writhing and of depleting my Tums, Pepto Bismol and Zantac supplies, I went to an emergency room, where a very nice nurse gave me morphine to help relieve my suffering and a doctor told me I had a kidney stone.  The doctor also told me that once you have kidney stone, you are more likely–than someone who has never had one–to have a recurrence.

This got me thinking how inconvenient a kidney stone could be.  What if a stone makes an
worry wart date appearance during the marriage ceremony of one of my children?  Or during my own (unlikely) wedding?  What if one shows up in the middle of a trip that took a year to plan, say, to Yellowknife in the Yukon to see the Northern Lights with my daughters?  Should I get a sonogram before a highly-touted blind date, just to be sure a new stone isn’t likely to flare up during the salad course?

For the moment, augmenting my doctor’s advice, I’m drinking more than a dozen glasses of water each day.  Of course this leads me to the disquieting thought that–although I have a three-canister filter under my kitchen sink–I am consuming more than my proportionate share of the Potomac River on whose surface I have never seen anything floating that I would want to ingest. Plus, I read a report on Big Green Purse on how drinking water is polluted by mood stabilizers and other pharmaceuticals people flush down the toilet.

To spread the risk, in addition to filtered H2O, I now hydrate with water (in glass bottles, not plastic) from a variety of springs.  Given all the things you hear about tainted reservoirs, it makes sense to drink from a diversified portfolio of water.

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