Sunday, July 10, 2016

Fishing Waders and the Need to Pee

After 56 years and a little more on the planet I have recently reached a point of confusion on a certain matter of some importance. To pee or not to pee? Yes that is my question posed in Shakespearian form just because I like the way it sounds when I say it in my head. In case you’re wondering I even said it out loud a few times just to hear it that way too. Why after all this time you may ask am I posing this question. Well let me just tell you why.

On the one hand we have the “most interesting man in the world” appearing on TV telling us to stay thirsty. Up until very recently I was with him on this point. I know we’re not supposed to believe everything we see on TV or read on the internet but he is the most interesting man in the world so he must know something. Right? As it turns out this may not be such good advice.

Case in point, a few days ago I woke up with an uncomfortable ache in my abdomen which I thought indicated a need to, I’ll just say it, take a big poop. I wrote it off when the ache went away, I moved on and went fishing. The fishing didn’t go as well as I had hoped but that is another story entirely. Time passed, I went fishing again which went much better than the prior outing but again, that is another story. Later that second evening the ache came back but soon subsided with the consumption of a healthily sized Vodka Gimlet, or two. After a decent night’s sleep Sharon and I prepared to leave Redding, CA heading for Old Station where fishing the famed Hat Creek, along with other streams and lakes, was on the agenda. I couldn’t wait to get there and get my boots in the water.

As we packed up the ache came back with a vengeance- ouch –then it grew and grew- OUCH! Being the tough old guy I am I ignored it because tough guys can’t be taken down by a little pain in the gut. Or so I thought. We loaded up, hooked-up and hit the road. As we pulled out the reality of a real issue started to occur to me in a big way but I’m a tough guy and can push through anything. Twenty minutes later I pulled over on the side of the road where the decision was made to head back to where we had come from, set-up again and eventually we ended up in the Emergency Room of Shasta Regional Medical Center, which by the way turned out to be an excellent facility with great staff.
2 mm of  Fun in the Gut

Without going into all the details it turns out I was passing a kidney stone. Many hours of agony and a small bucket full of pain medications later it's all passed with the hope that it will NEVER happen again.

For those of you who have never experienced such a thing it hurts like a (insert word you don't say to your mother here)!!!!!!!

Here is where the previously mentioned advice of the most interesting man in the world is in direct conflict with recent experience. I now have advice from the ER doctor urging me to stay hydrated. Oh the confusion and conflict for the modern man or woman in waders. On the one hand if I stay hydrated during those long days of fishing, at some point the waders will have to come down for what they call on the Tour de’ France a “natural break”. On the other hand if I refrain from drinking enough to fill a 2 liter bottle daily there could be another kidney stone incident, OUCH! Sure the waders can stay up thus foregoing the need to “break natural” on the river but man that little stone of solidified minerals is most unpleasant.

As any wader wearing angler can attest, getting in and out of those things can be a bitch at best when loaded down with all the other appurtenances required of the modern day fly fisher. Given that we always suppress the urge until the last possible second, by the time we drop the vest, sling-pack, chest-pack or waist-pack, shed the net and loosen the wader belt we may well have already moistened the inner surface of our waders. It’s easier to just forego staying hydrated and avoid the rush to drop waders but avoiding a little hassle may not be worth it in the long-run.

Having had numerous major medical procedures performed on my knee, including having it opened up like a gutted trout, I am no stranger to excruciating pain. Passing a kidney stone IS excruciating pain. All I can say is the most interesting man in the world must stay more hydrated than I have ever suspected. Or maybe that XX beer has great medicinal properties the rest of us are unaware of. I suspect his invitation for the rest of us to “stay thirsty” is just a marketing ploy while he stays hydrated nice and hydrated. I’ve never seen him wearing waders so relief is likely just a few steps away with no waders or other angling appurtenances figured into the struggle.

I may not be the most interesting man in the world; okay at best I might be described as moderately interesting. But here’s my advice. Stay Hydrated my friends, Stay Hydrated!

So if you happen to be strolling along the banks of a lake or stream and witness a natural break in progress keep moving, nothing to see here, it’s just a knowledgeable angler staying hydrated.

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