Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Perversions of the Heart

Eight years ago I desecrated a corpse.

And that's pretty difficult to follow up on as an opening line, so avoid disappointment and log off now.

Moods been slightly low lately, as is possibly evident from the recent posts, although there are others doing better under far more trying circumstances (if ever FW runs for something over there, she's got my vote). So expect in the near future endless posts where I whine to my many friends about how alone I am and go on about how no-one understands me - sentiments which will typically be embedded in rambling, barely coherent posts of several thousand words.

Alternatively, my crazy "take more of the tablets before you get sick" strategy just might work.

Anyway - as part of this "get Sarah and me to spend more quality time together" thing, we've been retiring earlier to bed and chatting/reading/etc. You will see there are no picture links on the "etc.".

I've been reading a fascinating book about handedness, from which emerges the following:

Firstly, little known medical fact: most people have their hearts sortof on the left hand side of their chest (see, it was a real medical school!).

But not everyone. Every so often - and I met a man with this in medical school -the heart can be on the right, a condition known as dextrocardia. The man I saw in medical school was a globular but otherwise remarkably normal looking Asian, with the resigned air of someone who was examined by fifty or so medical students every single time he came into hospital - which was frequently.

Thing is, I don't know what kind of dextrocardia he had.

He could have had dextrocardia with situs solitus - which means his heart was on the wrong side but everything else was normal. The vast majority of us - all but one in ten thousand - are situs solitus.

Or along with his dextrocardia he could have had situs inversus - where the position of not only the heart, but of every other visceral organ is reversed. Liver on the left instead of the right, pancreas and spleen on the right and so on. Quite odd.

There is also a bag full of leftover conditions called situs ambiguous - things half-way in between. For example, one where everything in the chest is the right way around but everything in the abdomen is the wrong way around and so on.

(There are more ways for things to go wrong than things to go right - Karenina's Rule).

Deeply weird as all this situs stuff is, it is nothing compared to the even rarer conditions called left and right isomerism, which I think fall into that "situs ambiguous" bag. People with these conditions are as symmetrical on the inside as they are on the outside - their left side, for example, may be an exact mirror image of their right.

It is as if instead of a left and right side of the body they have a left and a reflection of the left, or a right and a reflection of the right.

For example - the unfortunate with right isomerism has all the organs that are normally found in the right side of the body - but may be lacking some on the left. The heart is present, but is more central or even right sided and is deformed - seeming to be made of two right sides stuck together. There is a right lung on the right and a mirror image right lung on the left (with three lobes, instead of the usual two on the normal left lung). The spleen, normally present on the left, may be missing entirely. The liver is in the middle, and so on.

And left isomerism is maybe even weirder. The (often seriously deformed) heart is made of two left sides. Both lungs have two lobes, like left lungs. There is no gall bladder, and there are multiple spleens - up to six. And so on.

Now, that has nothing to do with anything, but I reckon it's deeply deeply strange. And it's filled up my posting time, which means corpse desecretion will have to wait until next time - and I might be able to use my opening line again.

Perverted, by the way, means somethign like turned aside from the normal path. Thought it sounded good, and may get an entirely new class of readers here.

Thanks for listening,


Blogger Benedict 16th said...

So ya gonna tell them what you did to your old fella...
How about telling them about the sheep's heart in the exam as well and
poor old Carlos crying in the corner when he saw what you did....

Actually your post made me think - well the answer is simple
be a time lord, none of this sinus buggeredupidness....


PS I think it is imperetive that we get some revesterol into you ASAP
How is Saturday night or some time Sunday - don't worry
Mrs Benedict and I deliver....

9:32 PM  
Blogger Bronze John said...

Saturday night is gone, Sunday is sounding good. I will run it past Sarah.


4:01 PM  

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