from the Western German city of Bielefeld drinks at least 10 times more water
than the recommended daily intake of two litres a day for most people.
German has suffered from diabetes insipidus since birth. It’s a rare disease –
only 60 people in Germany have been diagnosed with it. The condition – which,
despite its name, is unrelated to diabetes – is an inability of the sufferer’s
body to handle fluids.
It’s characterised by large amounts of diluted urine
released by the kidneys, with patients such as Wübbenhorst producing up to 20
litres of urine a day.
his kidneys and body are dehydrating at a rapid rate, forcing him to drink the
same amount of water just to keep his body going. If Wübbenhorst doesn’t drink
any water for two hours, he can already end up in a life-threatening situation.
As one can
imagine, this causes severe lifestyle problems for him. “In my life I’ve never
slept longer than two hours at a time,” he says.
condition, Wübbenhorst holds a full-time job working at an architecture bureau.
His colleagues are accustomed to the crates of water bottles constantly at his
side, as well as his many toilet breaks.
says that it hasn’t always been easy for him to deal with the condition.
a lot of fun as a kid, I had friends, but at some point everything just got too
much for me.
want to go to nursery school, didn’t want to paint anymore or go to the lantern
parade – I had a kind of fatigue depression.”
Wübbenhorst says he can live with his condition and manages to cope with it
with the help of generous doses of humour.
“For example, [at school] I was the
only one who could pee his entire name in the snow.”
He has to
stick to his strict daily routine in order to cope with the huge amount of
water he needs to drink and the subsequent toilet breaks. “Many things, such as
long-distance travel or some sports, are simply impossible.”
it’s best that as little as possible is left to chance, as unforeseen circumstances
can prove dangerous.
“One day we worked unbelievably late at the office. It was
somewhere around 10.30pm, and I was on a train and didn’t have my bottle of water
matters worse, the train Wübbenhorst was on got stuck and the toilet in his
carriage was broken. When the first sign of dehydration hit, Wübbenhorst was
lucky to encounter a friend when the train arrived at the station.
“He then got
me something to drink quickly – my rescuer.”