Today I’m feeling gratitude for water, the source of life that composes sixty percent of my body. Life can only survive in a very narrow range of temperature, and water is essential to sustaining that temperature range inside each one of us and within the world around us. In fact, every biochemical reaction that occurs within us is dependent upon water. Because of my disease—dysautonomia—I need intravenous fluid to maintain my hydration. On the one day a week that the needle I get this water through is taken out and changed, I can quickly feel how my body loses its blood supply to all my organs, as I grow dizzy and my heart works harder. After I get a new needle put into my body so that water can once again flow through me, I feel life…or hope rushing back to each cell within. Hope because standing seemed like an insurmountable challenge in my weakened state, but given water it becomes an obtainable feat. I may get my water in a different way than others, but being forced to become nourished through IV fluids only emphasizes a truth of life a bit more for me: we are all dependent upon water.
A normal person can go three days without water before dehydration becomes an emergency, but for me it is mere hours before my body’s organs are no longer functioning properly. This different existence from so many others makes me look at people playing sports, or even simply walking on a hot day, with a sort of awe someone does when they witness the miracle of birth for the first time. Rationally, you know people have babies, but actually seeing it gives you a sense of awe in how life begets new life. There is something undoubtably miraculous about the whole process. This is the same feeling I get when seeing a body utilize its water to perform a sport under the duress of hot weather. To witness the small miracles that the body performs to play a sport under the hot sun will often brings tears to my eyes.
Today, I am especially grateful for the water I receive through intravenous hydration now that there is a shortage of IV bags is the USA. This shortage is due to disruption of production that occurred due to Puerto Rico’s hurricane aftermath. Having too much or too little water in a place or a body can cause massive imbalances that impact life in direct and indirect ways. When climate change causes our earth to have more severe weather events, the imbalances in water causes changes to some lives immediately––changes like the ones I see when I don’t get my IV fluid and life, suddenly, becomes very fragile as each heart beat becomes a massive feat to manage. Other changes due to water imbalance will be less pronounced and remain mostly invisible until the crisis is at one’s front door. This is how a normal person dehydrates. Their body can compensate much longer with less fluid––to the point people don’t realize they are becoming dehydrated—that is until it’s an emergency. This is the type of emergency the disruption to the production of IV fluid is creating. I am still getting my fluid. There is no real emergency at this point, but if Puerto Rico does not stabilize soon, it will be an emergency that eventually reaches me and many others. It shows me how interconnected all of life is. Once again, my eyes start to water a little at how each life or life function affects other lives in ways we don’t fully realize until that life or byproduct of one’s life is put into jeopardy. It reminds me that I am grateful that I have the fluid in my body right now to cry tears of awe at life and the miracles that each life performs just by being here.