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To Pee or Not to Pee, That is the Question
by Jerry Guarino

Tom was grudgingly fighting his way through senior citizenship. Besides innumerable doctor visits and consultations, he had developed diabetes and kidney stones. Diabetes control meant he couldn’t partake in the number of cakes and donuts (not to mention candy) he craved, but he was only partly adherent to his doctor’s orders to cut down on carbs. He took care of the high glucose numbers with medication and insulin.

Removing kidney stones was another matter and particularly painful. Several trips to the emergency room and countless hours of pain were followed by an invasive operation to remove five large stones just last year. But now he had been kidney stone free, largely to changes in diet (did you know that chocolate, peanuts, spinach and black tea lead to kidney stones?), but giving up chocolate and his daily cups of Earl Grey was very hard. Damn oxalate.

Today, he was fairly healthy. He exercised sixty to ninety minutes each day, avoided alcohol and drugs and drank plenty of water. He had to drink four liters of water every day to keep his glucose levels down and to avoid the kidney stones. But that’s where this problem began. Have you ever drunk four liters (that’s a gallon) of water in a day? Pro athletes do it in the course of strenuous workouts, but their bodies are not like a 68-year-old; the water just promotes good health for them, but not for Tom. He remembered his school days when drinking a large bottle of Gatorade after soccer or track was just the beginning of a long day of water refreshment.

So now, in spite of being kidney stone free and managing his diabetes, he was having to go to the bathroom about every ninety minutes, day and night! Getting up once or twice a night is bad enough, but five to six times? Hence the dilemma. If he drastically reduced the amount of water he consumed, he would have to get up less at night, but that might lead to higher blood glucose and perhaps kidney stones. Not to mention what this did to his sleep patterns. It was good that he was retired, not having to go to work.

He tried Melatonin, but that only increased lucid dreams (some very strange, some very nice) and made him groggy the next day. He tried (and failed) to give up carbs, particularly chocolate cupcakes and Boston Crème Donuts (he was from Boston after all and you can’t swing a dead cat in Boston without hitting a Dunkin Donuts shop).

So, what’s an old man to do? Well, Tom decided increased prayer and church attendance was his only solution. If he was on his way out, at least he wasn’t going carb free (that’s worse than death). He left instructions for his wife about a funeral reception.

Chocolate cupcakes and Earl Grey Tea for everyone!