Water of Life
We arrived on scene in a nice neighborhood in Mesa. The curious neighbors stared as we pulled the gurney to the front door, which was ajar. They were expecting us.
The caregiver met me with a stack of papers and explained that our patient had been drinking too much and according to their protocol, needed to be seen in the emergency room.
It’s not hard to find someone who tips a few too many beers, but this wasn’t the case with our patient. He’d been drinking too much water. In fact, the home we were at was a group home for people with a disorder called polydipsia; an obsession with drinking too much water.
I’d only met one such patient, previous to this call. A few years ago, we had a frequent flyer who went from hospital to hospital being treated for her dangerous water obsession.
Polydipsia can be a life-threatening problem. An obsession with drinking too much water causes the body to eliminate water continuously. The mechanism for eliminating water involves eliminating sodium, because “water follows sodium”. As more water is eliminated, the body’s supply of sodium becomes depleted, resulting in hyponatremia.
Hyponatremia is a serious electrolyte imbalance that if untreated, can lead to death. It’s for this reason that patients with polydipsia must have their water intake carefully monitored.
The group home has a set of guidelines in place that allow them to weigh clients several times a day. If a client is found to have gained weight suddenly, it’s assumed they’ve been drinking too much water and they’re required to be evaluated at a hospital. Our patient stepped outside for a cigarette and paid a quick visit to the convenience store on the corner where he promptly downed a couple of 32 ounce bottles of water. When he returned, the caretaker weighed him and found that he’d gained 6% of his morning body weight.
He was busted.
We got him loaded and headed toward the hospital. There wasn’t much for me to do except write my report and monitor his vitals. He wanted someone to talk to so I listened as I wrote my report.
His thoughts were a bit random at first, but eventually, he stumbled on the idea that God might be mad at him for something. I took advantage of the opening and shared a few of my thoughts.
“I don’t think God is as mad as a lot of people think. He understands our problems.”
He replied, “Yeah, He knows us pretty well, doesn’t he? He sees our struggles. Maybe He isn’t mad at us….. Jesus knows. He’s been in our shoes.”
“Jesus is our friend”, I replied.
With a profound peace in his voice, he said, “Yeah…..Jesus understands”.
I hope they understand that God isn’t mad at them for being a little messed up. That’s just part of life. And if that’s all it took for God to be mad, we’d all be in trouble. Thankfully, God is in a pretty good mood.
And He likes us more than we realize.