Mud, mud, glorious mud
Nothing quite like it for soothing the blood
Follow me, follow
Down to the hollow
Where we will wallow
In glorious mud!
That’s the start of a little ditty I learned at sleep away camp back in the 1960s. There’s more to it, but the only part relevant to this post is the mention of blood. I’ve just completed watching Marian Diamond’s two Human Anatomy lectures on Hematology, the study of blood.
Did you know that blood has five functions?
- Transports formed elements (white & red cells, corpuscles, and cell fragments–the platelets)
- Transports nutrients and gases (oxygen & carbon dioxide)
- Transports wastes
- Transports hormones, enzymes and buffers
- Helps maintain body temperature
The text summarizes the functions of blood as (1) distribution (of oxygen, waste and hormones); (2) regulation (of temperature, pH and fluids); and (3) protection (by clotting to prevent blood loss, and using white blood cells to fight off infections).
What, exactly, is this liquid that flows through our bodies thanks to being pumped by the heart? Turns out that blood is a connective tissue consisting of formed elements (45%) contained in a fluid matrix known as plasma (55%). We adults have about 5 quarts of blood, while children tend to have about 3 quarts.
I have given up enough blood over the past twelve years to know that it can be the body’s spokesperson, letting the medical establishment in on the secrets taking place inside the body. It tells us about cholesterol levels and blood cell counts, whether we have sufficient platelets, and we can even get a break down by the types of white blood cells.
I tweeted at one point @brainbits: M. Diamond reminds us how amazingly complex our bodies are, yet how well they tend to function beneath the skin.
@brainbits: Marian Diamond says “Everything in the body is important. You just have to know something about it and why.”
@brainbits: Easier to “get” our bones & muscles b/c we use them all the time. Tougher to “get” our blood, since we hopefully don’t see it much.