Monday, February 28, 2011


I'm a registered nurse.  I take care of cardiac (heart) patients and everything related to that.  So yes, many of my patients come in with chest pain; I also take care of a lot of patients who have hyponatrium (low salt), dehydration, syncope (fainting) etc.  I also am an athlete currently training for a half marathon at the end of March.  So with the two combined, you would think that I know enough about the importance of hydration and the consequences that will occur if not done right.

My days at work are 12 1/2 hours long but more like 13. LOTS of walking, 75% on your feet, little time to eat lunch (15 minutes if I'm having a good day) and bathroom breaks....So drinking water becomes a challenge when I'm on the floor and spend little time at the nurses station where drinks are only allowed.  This past week, half was spent in WI (my home), flew back to Tucson on Thursday and then spent Friday thru Sunday working. 

Flying just dehydrates one period. So i made sure I bought the largest bottle of H20 I could find after security and finished that on the plane.  Came home to sleep, then run, then to bed.  Friday....5:00 am the alarm goes off. Drank 8oz of water with my breakfast, had the 20oz G2 at work and that's where it gets fuzzy.  I remember eating glasses of ice with water but I don't remember how many.  Early Saturday am I got up to use the bathroom.  I remember thinking, "wow, my legs are really wobbly."
Next thing I know, I'm crashing into the closet and on the ground. Yep, I have passed out.  Now, I always tell my patients, sit at the side of the bed and make sure you're not dizzy before getting up. Yeah...I didn't listen.

I went into work the next day and had my charge nurse check my blood pressure-it was low, lower than normal.  So I began to drink. Drank my G2. The next thing I did was set my alarm on my watch to go off every hour.  When it went off-as long as I wasn't in an emergent issue, stopped into the nurse's station and downed a glass of water.  A quick 2 minutes (and piece of mind)

My point-do what you need to maintain adequate hydration, especially being an athlete.  For me it's setting the alarm on my watch at work.  I don't have an issue with my water intake while I'm off since I'm glued to my Nalgene bottle.  Also, though, make sure that you are replacing your electrolytes. If you become over hydrated, you can also run into other issues that can potentially land you in the ER (not to scare you).  I really don't want to see you on my cardiac floor; I'd rather see you at a race!!