Dealing With Acid Reflux at Work: Lifeguard Diaries

Jenna Health Guide

    Ten hour shifts weren’t exactly the way I pictured spending my summer but I’ve quickly learned the sacrifices most college students make when it comes to work. I’m a lifeguard at a community pool and while my many days of soaking up the sunshine are evident through my tan, it hasn’t always so much fun in the sun. By the end of many of my long days I have been having increasingly bad cases of bloating, to which I have nothing else to blame but those fun summer foods.  


    It starts at 11am when I’m heading out to work. Breakfast is history and before I know it, it’ll be time for lunch. Lifeguarding is an endless cycle of sitting and watching the pool, with hourly breaks so lunch isn’t so much of a meal as it is an hourly snacking. I keep hearing that this is definitely a healthy way to eat and digest and with reflux my doctor has suggested it. So it comes down to this: lots of fruit, granola bars, yogurt, usually a sandwich; anything quick and easy.

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    By the time 3pm rolls around the sun is high in the sky and time is beginning to drag on. Six more hours of work seems like an eternity. Those healthy options are sounding less and less appetizing. As if on cue, the jingle of “The Entertainer” comes up the road and empties the pool. The ice cream truck is here. Every kid is either curbside with their money ready, or running to their parents to beg to get ice cream. On the busiest and hottest days, of course the guards go get something to get us through the next hour at least.


    It’s 5 o’clock. The dinner crowd is arriving. The pizza man has already made half a dozen deliveries and the grill is just being fired up. Within the next hour parents will give multiple offers to feed the guards. On most days we’re more than happy to accept. But then an hour later I remember why I brought my own food in the first place. Time just started passing but then I can feel my stomach beginning to knot and before I know it I’m completely overcome with stomach cramps. I wait for the clock to hit 9 so I can run home and pop the antacids, but usually sleeping it off is my best remedy.


    The reflux diet is like any other diet. Watch what you eat. It’s easy to eat a little of everything but when you step back and look at all of that, it probably wasn’t worth it. 


Published On: August 03, 2010