Anatomy Atlas Part 12 – Liver, Spleen, Stomach

Given how all these organs are important and vital, it really makes one wonder why they are only protected by a soft abdominal wall. From these only liver has meaningful ability to repair itself.

©Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Liver is, as you surely know, the main chemical factory of the body. Any chemical that gets absorbed into the bloodstream in your gut will go through it – thus the huge Vena cava inferior in which this nutrient rich but oxygen depleted blood is subsequently drained via hepatic veins. These veins are allegedly the reason for abdominal pain when exercising right after a big meal – there is a competition between blood flow through the liver and through the muscles and that leads to the veins having spasms. It is also the reason why I am sleepy about half an hour after a big meal – the liver stops most of the blood by expanding its veins, the blood pressure drops, I gets dizzzzzz…..

However that means not only food, but also every toxin you ingest, has an effect on your liver. That is the reason why liver has such an ability to recuperate or even regrow. It is an organ under huge pressure and essential for life.

We were told during our courses on toxicology that it was selective pressure that is possibly responsible for people of european descent having higher tolerance of alcohol than people of oriental descent – ever since the alcohol was discovered in the Mediterranean and Middle East regions, people of those and neighbouring regions were indulging in drinking a lot of wine and beer. Those who did not have the right types and ammounts of alcohol dehydrogenase enzymes in their liver to deal with it with least adverse effects died sooner, thus exerting selective pressure on the population.

I do not know whether it is true, but there is similar correlation in lactose intolerance. It does sound plausible.

Creatures of Brain Sorbet & More Admin Crap.

Creatures of Brain Sorbet, © C. Ford, all rights reserved.

Creatures of Brain Sorbet, © C. Ford, all rights reserved.

A little while ago, I decided I needed a break from Thorns, a sort of sorbet for the brain. As it turns out, a good decision – I need something to focus on without investment because I have been a wretched heap of misery since Thursday morning. Upon waking Thursday, I discovered I couldn’t walk. My left leg went out from under me, accompanied by a scream. Trying again, I could sort of lurch if I took teensy tiny partial steps. The primary pain was to the side and down from my kneecap (outside of leg), a site well known to me, as it’s long been a sensitive one. That’s where the sciatic nerve splits off into the tibial and peroneal nerves. Standing, with no weight on the leg at all, the pain radiated down to my ankle, which was slightly swollen along with my foot, and radiated up the back of my thigh to my arse. Oh good, my sciatic nerve is on a fucking rampage. (Yes, I still went out that night to get shots of the storm, lurching and limping and dragging myself, with the aid of morphine.) Anyone who has ever dealt with sciatic pain, you know what I’m talking about, painwise. People infected with the photography bug know you have to be at least 15/16ths dead before you miss a possible once in a lifetime shot.

The last time I had sciatica, it lasted most of a year. I am just so fucked. The pain has been very near to insanity levels. There has been much yelling, a fair amount of screaming, and a lot of collapsing into a pile of sobs. Thanks to chemo brain, it wasn’t until Friday night that I did  what I should have done immediately on Thursday morning – take aspirin. The aspirin helped much more than the morphine, helping to deal with the inflammation. It’s not helping as much now, but hey, at this point, I’ll take what I can get. I did have to fucking crawl into the lav on Thursday morning though, so I was bit preoccupied. Of course, another storm hit, and the circuit breaker which controls my studio lights keeps flipping off every hour or so. That means…stairs. Interesting to navigate when you can’t bend one knee without screaming. The breaker just went again. Fuck it, I’ll get it in the morning. Apparently, the pain and humiliation of the last four days wasn’t quite enough, as I have been called back into Cancerland early.  My oncologist (first one) insisted I meet  again with Cole (radiation doc) tomorrow (Monday the 18th). Just what I need, a nice long car ride to irritate the holy fuck outta my sciatic nerve. Ought to be fun. I suppose I’ll be getting my tats tomorrow.

Poor Jayne, he’s about a wreck, not knowing what to do with this screaming one second, racked with sobs the next person who appears to have eaten his regular person alive. Thanks to the confluence of morphine and aspirin, I can get 2 hours or so mostly pain free a day, but mornings are a nightmare, because after sleeping, I’m right back to where I was on Thursday morn.  This is one situation where I’m truly thankful to be an atheist. To think or say to myself: the universe is pissed I didn’t take the hint and die, so it’s going to keep dropping  big-ass bricks on my head is obviously sillier than fuck, and can be dismissed as a pity party moment. If I believed in a god though: god is pissed I didn’t take the hint and die, so he’s going to keep dropping  big-ass bricks on my head, I think I would be in a very bad and dangerous place which would lead to very bad decisions, like stopping treatment and placing myself in “god’s hands”, going the “god’s will” route.

It’s now time to stop faking it (puttin’ on that brave face).  I’m becoming increasingly fearful of showering, scared I’m gonna fall and kill myself in there. Think it might be time for some accessories in there, or at least a plastic chair I can sit on, or fall back on. Ah well, time to face the shower. Anyroad, I will be taking Monday the 18th completely off, I didn’t have time to schedule anything, either.  Going to sleep as long as possible, take much aspirin and morphine, wrap myself in pillows, and try to get through the day without breaking the fuck down, and I’ve felt much too close to a breakdown the last few days. As far as I know right now, I’ll be back to Affinity sometime Tuesday. I know my blogging has been on the shitty side lately, really sorry about this, I’ll make it up to you all.

The Healing Arts: A Medical Inspection. Or Miracles Will Never Cease.

Click for full size. As you can see, all effort was put into making Joanna Southcott as awful as possible. Ms. Southcott was a self-styled prophetess, and claimed to be pregnant at 64 years of age, and died shortly afterward. It would seem she was held to be nothing more than a con by the medical establishment, with little consideration that she might actually believe all the nonsense she preached. The depiction of her is certainly nothing at all like her actual appearance (there’s a photo at the link.)

A Medical Inspection. Or Miracles Will Never Cease. Thomas Rowlandson, Etching coloured, 1814. Subject: Obstetrics, Prophesy, Pregnancy, Anecdotes, Religious Mania, Joanna Southcott (1750-1814).

A Medical Inspection. Or Miracles Will Never Cease. Thomas Rowlandson, Etching coloured, 1814. Subject: Obstetrics, Prophesy, Pregnancy, Anecdotes, Religious Mania, Joanna Southcott (1750-1814).

Behind the Iron Curtain part 10 – Sex Ed

These are my recollections of a life behind the iron curtain. I do not aim to give perfect and objective evaluation of anything, but to share my personal experiences and memories. It will explain why I just cannot get misty eyed over some ideas on the political left and why I loathe many ideas on the right.

This is another one of the issues where the current US divide between left and right amuses me greatly. If you ever saw the movie “Red Heat” you will probably remember Arnold Schwarzenegger in his role as a Soviet agent turning on TV in a cheap American hotel and upon seeing porn uttering the word “Capitalism!” with utmost sneer in his voice. That scene rings so true to me.

The regime’s attitude to sex and sex education was abysmal. You see, sex is pleasurable to the individual, and as such informing the populace about how it is supposed to work could not be easily spun into a way to advance the greater good. Pornography was illegal and erotica very strictly regulated. And sex education almost non-existent.

Well, that is not entirely true. Sex ed was compulsory. But non-existent at the same time.

In the seventh class of elementary school, the biology classes were focused on human anatomy. Towards the end of the year part of the curriculum was about sexual and reproductive organs and some sex education thrown in.

The sex education part was gender segregated. Girls were shown some educational video whose details I do not know. Some boys tried to listen at the windows and from them I know that it probably consisted mostly of information about expected changes in body chemistry and shape during puberty, and nothing more.

Boys had even less informative session, which I missed completely due to illness. All I know from highly bemused accounts from my schoolmates is that instead of the rather good diagrams in books the whole issue was explained on a picture of a tulip. Really. Bees and flowers. At school. In 1980s.

At no point whatsoever were the “technicalities” of sex mentioned. No mention of consent and how it is supposed to work, no mention about how condoms are used and what other options of contraception there are, no mention of how the body parts actually fit into each other. So all of this info had to be learned from surroundings, either from family members or from peers. Which has of course led to great variation between individuals.

Info about consent came mostly from media and from peers, with all the masculine garbage that is the stupid “yes means yes, no means try harder”.
Use of condoms had everybody to gleam from rare articles that might be written in some magazine for adults or to figure out for themselves. Oh, and the stupid “it’s woman’s responsibility to not get pregnant” was part of the package too.

How the sex itself is supposed to work everybody learned from pornographic magazines smuggled in from west. People who did not get lucky to see porn or grow up in the country  might end up completely unable to actually perform sexual act properly, as was attested in the book Lidská sexualita (Human sexuality) by sexuologist Ivo Pondělíček and his wife Jaroslava Pondělíčková-Mašlová, who bemoaned that in the 1970’s multiple adult pairs came through his office who were unable to conceive child and during the courses he learned that they did not even know that for a woman to conceive the penis must enter the vagina. At least one such pair were people with university diplomas.

All in all it is no wonder that in my relatively small social circle I knew two girls who became pregnant shortly after the age of consent (15 years) and that it was all too common that girls got pregnant and married quite young. There are no precise statistics, because the regime did not keep tabs on things that reflected on it unfavourably, but I would not be suprised if today’s Texas came out better in this regard.

The Healing Arts: Macassar Oil, An oily Puff for Soft Heads.

This is the oil which birthed Antimacassars. My great-grandmothers and grandmother had antimacassars on everything. Click for full size!

Macassar Oil, An oily Puff for Soft Heads. Thomas Rowlandson, Etching coloured, 1814. Subject: Macassar Oil, Rowland's Oil,Alexander Rowland,baldness,hair Tonic, Hair Oil,Proprietary Medicines.

Macassar Oil, An oily Puff for Soft Heads. Thomas Rowlandson, Etching coloured, 1814. Subject: Macassar Oil, Rowland’s Oil,Alexander Rowland,baldness,hair Tonic, Hair Oil,Proprietary Medicines.