"I don't make hell for nobody. I'm only the instrument of a laughing providence. Sometimes I don't like it myself, but I couldn't help it if I was born smart."

1st Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden.
"From here to Eternity"

Paul Valery

"You are in love with intelligence, until it frightens you. For your ideas are terrifying and your hearts are faint. Your acts of pity and cruelty are absurd, committed with no calm, as if they were irresistible. Finally, you fear blood more and more. Blood and time."

The Wisdom of the Ages

"When a young man, I read somewhere the following: God the Almighty said, 'All that is too complex is unnecessary, and it is simple that is needed',"

Mikhail Kalashnikov

Ya ever seen my house?

Ya ever seen my house?
Neither have I Ted! You douchebag.
"Here lies the bravest soldier I've seen since my mirror got grease on it."

Zapp Brannigan

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Disgust Alert!

Ah well. The past few days have been fun - especially the Larry component although I'm disappointed that the big man himself never came over here.
He's done so in the past, to thump his manly chest of course. What's more he always commented under his real name - which I felt, and still feel, is admirable.
But, he can't be bothered this time I guess. I left him my parting shot last night and won't go back to read what he comes up with in response 'cause it'll just be stupid and this way, I get the last word.
I'll go over in a few and poke him some more.
But thinking on old Larry and his faithful acolytes, I began to ponder the poignant reality that all of God's creatures, from the soaring, turkey-vulture to the most loathsome freshman, Republican representative, all have their place in the grand scheme.
I am going to tie this to the actual raison d'etre of this blog (About fucking time!) by showing how a particularly disgusting - even compared to Allen West (Evil/FL) - organism can be majorly beneficial.
Okay, the drawing at the top, done sometime in the '20's by the brilliant Otto Dix, offers a clear illustration, if a bit stylized and understated, of the little fella we're discussing, at work.
That would be the larvae of the blue-bottle fly who's less than PR friendly nickname is of course: "maggots".
The little guys picking the brain of Dix's subject appear to have nearly finished their task simply because there are so few of them. The pantry is bare so to speak.
However, during the previous few days there were probably hundreds of them helpfully disposing of the squishy, rotten bits of this poor SOB's melon. Had they not done so, this little lump of unpleasantness would have remained unpleasant for a far longer time.
They're the first line of offense in the clean-up crew that takes care of all that nasty organic stuff we tend to leave around - particularly during times of conflict, like the possums vs cars dynamic. They are nasty little buggers but their only downside, realistically, is that they grow into flies. But frogs, bats and spiders gotta eat something - and the medical profession will always need maggots.
Look to the left to see them when the entire crew is on-shift.
Looks like the trading floor on the Chicago Commodities Exchange doesn't it?
A little bit?
In reality this is some homeless gentleman who didn't happen to buy insurance to cover leg infection - or any insurance at all.
This is an example of what would shame and actual cognizant nation.
Alas though, we're talking about the US, "the best health-care on earth" - if you can afford it and don't need it.
I refuse to believe there's anyone walking around Stockholm with white-rice look-alike's falling out of his pants.
But all is not lost for our anonymous friend pictured because all those little traders - I'm sorry, Maggots are helping him out.
I'd bet he pulled through and may have even gotten to keep his leg thanks to our under-appreciated, squirmy little friends.
First, a rabbit trail: When I was a kid I read and reread a book called "Lord Grizzly", the factual account of Hugh Glass a guy who's got chunks of guys like Larry Corriea in his shit.

As part of a fur-trapping expedition in 1822, he was mauled by a grizzly with two cubs that he came upon and surprised.
He wasn't expected to survive so two men, one of whom was a young Jim Bridger, were detailed to either stay with 'till he was well enough to travel or until he was dead.
Two or three days passed and they decided that, since they were in hostile territory (Arikaras) and Hugh wasn't doing anything - just laying there, unconscious and all gory, they'd count him as dead (Likely in any case) and catch up with the rest of the party.
Of course, they couldn't leave his knife and rifle because they'd fall into the hands of the "Rees" so when Hugh came to a few days later, he was injured, alone and defenceless, two-hundred miles from "civilization" - Fort Kiowa.

Well, he made it, crawling for the first hundred miles or so.
But - in his travels - remember his torn-open back and mauled leg - he was helped by those cute little guys we've been discussing all along.
And cute? You've never seen so cute; colored, electron microscope scan above.
Ever since the Napoleonic wars and probably earlier military doctors were aware that maggots in a wound was, in general, a good thing.
During the Civil War, when amputations were all the rage, it was noticed that the maggot infected wounds tended to be in much better shape.
The knowledge goes viral - probably not the best term. During The Great War, an orthopedic surgeon named Dr. William S. Baer, noticed something unusual.
A soldier who had suffered a compound fracture of his femur as well as flesh wounds to his abdomen and scrotum (An ugly word. I prefer 'nut-sack') was brought in after laying in no-man's-land for several days.
When he got to the hospital the Doc was surprised that, despite his wounds and days of exposure, he had no fever.
But they cut his clothes off and... you can guess, can't you? "Thousands and thousands of maggots.
But, when the little-corpsmen were removed...
"there was practically no bare bone to be seen and the internal structure of the wounded bone as well as the surrounding parts was entirely covered with most beautiful pink tissue that one could imagine."
And this at a time when 3/4 of compound fractures of the femur were fatal. I think that's a wartime statistic but... it was pre antibiotics.
Dr. Baer took this new knowledge back to Johns-Hopkins after the war and discovered that ugly little shit's saliva contained an antibiotic and that they'd only eat the necrotic tissue (ie; dead) and not the living. That's in some dispute now but it's confirmed they eat all the nasty, stinky stuff first.
Now the sterilized (no idea how they do that) "Medical Maggots" are the unlikely heroes of "bio-debridement".
Not just any maggots will do. The maggot of choice for medical purposes is the blow-fly maggot.
Good for what ails ya'; be it burns, gangrene (wet, dry and gas), MRSA or diabetic ulcers of the foot.
So, next time you walk past a road-kill skunk or whatever, give a shout-out to these tiny, inadvertent, medical workers.

1 comment:

Andy said...

Haha! As soon as I got into this post I thought; "Wonder if Dan knows about Hugh Glass?"

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