There Just Really Is No Substitute

You know, it’s amazing the things that modern medicine can do. Lungs don’t work?  We can put you on ECMO. Can’t eat? Can’t digest?  We’ll just administer TPN right into the blood stream, you know, cut out the middleman.  Pancreas doesn’t work? how ’bout some insulin shots? Kidney’s don’t work?  No problem, we have dialysis.  Liver doesn’t work? We can… actually I don’t know what we do for people in liver failure but I’m sure there are treatments, and when those don’t work anymore we’ll just get you a new one.  Same goes for kidneys, heart, lungs, pancreas, corneas, and more. And that’s just the beginning.  Have a headache? Take some Tylenol.  That doesn’t do it? Try some Advil.  Maybe some Excedrin.

It’s truly astounding.

BUT (There just had to be a but didn’t there?) none of it really works quite as well as a body that just works.  ECMO is very temporary and occasionally results in insufficient blood supply to the brain as well as kidney failure.  TPN is hard on your liver and it doesn’t take too long until the problems outweigh the benefits.  Insulin?  Again I’m not that up on diabetes but the mere fact that you have to give yourself a shot every day, sometimes multiple times a day, sounds like enough of a drawback to me.  Dialysis is amazing but it’s time consuming taking sometimes several hours three times a week. And then for those who go the transplant route there’s always the chance that they won’t get an organ or that they’ll reject despite the anti-rejection meds that they have to take for years on end and the risk of infection and… Even Tylenol and Advil take their toll (on the liver and kidneys respectively).

So what it all comes down to is that our bodies are amazing, they can do amazing things, and they’re unbelievably complex. And I’m dang glad mine works as well as it does.


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Melanie J
    Jul 02, 2009 @ 18:02:31

    I saw my dad on a ventilator, TPN, a PEG tube, oxygen, etc. I don’t think he thought it was worth the extra year it bought him. It was sad.

    I’m thankful for my health.

  2. Jami
    Jul 02, 2009 @ 18:20:59

    Our bodies are a miracle. An awe-inspiring biological evolution. Yeah, one of those two. Maybe both.

  3. flip flop mama
    Jul 02, 2009 @ 19:40:20

    So true.

  4. shazza
    Jul 03, 2009 @ 08:48:54

    Very true; lots to be thankful for.

    It was wonderful meeting you yesterday! I really enjoyed talking with you. Have a fun holiday weekend!

  5. Julie
    Jul 03, 2009 @ 13:05:04

    Every time I learn more about anatomy, I’m more and more convinced that God has to exist. Could you imagine everything in our bodies working so well without someone putting it together and figuring it out? It’s just amazing.

  6. Chris Jones
    Jul 06, 2009 @ 09:16:37

    All the medicines we get depend on our bodies using them correctly. If they don’t, then we’re in trouble. We’ve developed substitutes for some of the things our bodies do naturally, but those substitutes depend on other parts of the body working to use them. Insulin can be replaced, but the body uses insulin to regulate blood sugar. If it doesn’t do that correctly, you’re screwed, no matter how you’re administering the insulin in the first place. If your body decides it just won’t clot blood, then you bleed to death. That’s pretty much it.

    There is absolutely no way, and I mean NO way, that these impossibly complex systems can evolve. They have to be designed. There are 26 steps in the clotting of blood, and if you leave ANY of them out, the clotting doesn’t happen. We’re supposed to believe that ALL 26 are the result of simultaneous beneficial mutation? This despite zero observation (X-Men notwithstanding) of a single beneficial mutation in any organism anywhere on the planet?

    Anyway, none of the substitutes that we come up with are anywhere close to as good as the real thing working on its own. Take care of the things you have, people.

  7. annie valentine
    Jul 06, 2009 @ 10:16:21

    I can’t wait until I get to the other side and have no back pain or dandruff.

  8. Melissa
    Jul 06, 2009 @ 10:29:46

    I agree, however I wouldn’t mind if my body would burn calories a little more efficiently…

  9. madhousewife
    Jul 07, 2009 @ 10:28:26

    I’m grateful that most of the time I don’t have the hacking cough that I have right now.

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