Friday, April 21, 2017

Giving My Body for Science

I first recognized my love for science in eighth grade. We watched a movie about blood. They showed a close-up blood cells moving through the veins of a rabbit's ear. My friend fainted, but I was hooked.

My neighborhood is overly tamed now. I haven't seen monarchs for years.
What I didn't realize is I had been a scientific observer for a long time. I grew up outdoors in a large half-wild yard with a running irrigation ditch and a changing cast of barn cats.

I caught bugs and watched the legs of launching grasshoppers, the unfolding of beetle wings. Caterpillars and tadpoles were raised in mason jars in the garage. I dug holes and wondered at the changing colors in the layers. My favorite recess activity at school was cracking open little rocks to see how they looked different inside.

Though poetry beat out biology when I mapped college plans, I have never lost my curiosity. There is so much to learn.

Scottish Folds are great if you only need cats to be ornamental.
Even now, as I spend way too much time shut indoors, I open my office window to feel cold wind and watch birds at the feeder. I recognize wolf traits in my shaky old dog and look (usually in vain) for tiger genes in my aristocats.

There are two very intriguing funnel spiderwebs under my bathtub.

On the bad days stuck in bed I explore every science and nature program Netflix can throw at me.

Tomorrow will not be spent in bed. It is Earth Day, but more importantly it is the Utah Science March. I will be there.

The purpose of this march is to show support for public funding of research. A tiny fraction of our tax money goes a long way toward paying for science. I think it should be a higher percentage. Businesses do fund some science, but  naturally expect research to pay for itself eventually. Much of what needs to be studied will not have sellable results, but it may lead to more "practical" knowledge in the future. All research helps us understand this amazing world.

I had to sit out the Women's March, the Tax March, and other political protests, but it's essential to me that my sick body makes it to this one. Also I have help. My boys have reserved the day and are reluctantly accompanying me. We will ride the train downtown meet at a park and walk uphill to the capitol building. Afterwards we walk back down and ride home. Three years ago this would be no big deal. Now I know I will suffer for it.
So far, medication has kept my hands from looking like they feel.

Unless the new miracle drug (which I will start taking tomorrow) is a real miracle, Sunday will be a total loss to exhaustion. Monday and Tuesday I will feel the pain and struggle to get back on track. It's worth it.

The biologic I'm starting is last one available before a drug my doctor considers dangerous. (You should read the warnings on the ones I've taken.) I've never had a medication work for me for more than a year and a half. I need more choices.

Medical advancements come from weird places. Diabetes medicine was developed from sea-slug venom. There is a possible new antibiotic in the saliva of Komodo dragons. Bats have an amazing immune system that may lead to cures as well.

If cures for my illnesses are discovered, it will be through scientific research.

Komodo dragons look more likely to yield biologic weapons than antibiotics.


This week's scarf was time-consuming. There are a lot of color changes and other fiddly bits, but I am very pleased with the final result. It is made from a pattern called Jewel Dragon by Svetlana Gordon which is available on Ravelry.  I'm starting another one today out of my homespun and preparing this one for sale in my shop--after I make signs for the march.

1 comment:

  1. I am delighted to be alive as a result of science. It is science that makes my life possible, several times over.