cult and paste

be careful where you clique

Ἀποκάλυψις Ἰωάννου

“And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.”    -Revelation 2:23

i don’t know about you, but when i’m not reading about disorders of the human body, i often like to delve into apocalyptic texts. that’s why the book of Revelation is such a win-win for me. i realize this isn’t a universally shared affinity.

Many, including Thomas Jefferson and Martin Luther had very little appreciation for the book. Jefferson left the work out of his bible, but then he left a lot out. Jefferson actually just cult and pasted all paranormal events that couldn’t be experimentally recreated in his study. I don’t know how Martin Luther or Thomas Jefferson felt about kidneys… or the notion that God is searching through them.

See that word up there….reins? Reins is the english bastardization of renes as in kidneys or… renal failure. It was a popular synonym in the time of the King James Version Bible Writing Event Party. Even Shakespeare enjoyed the word… as when Falstaff, the overweight-gigilo-knight says to his servant Bardolph:

“my belly’s as cold as if i’d swallowed snowballs for pills to cool the reins.”

… from this selection you can see that the The Merry Wives of Windsor is obviously not oscar material, but it does lend itself as evidence that the word reins was once part of the vernacular… as was the idea that the kidneys were the seat of- the conscience. Many believed that when we reflected on something, it was our kidneys that were working. Well… not exactly

The kidneys are pretty amazing organs with or without conscience. In fact they’re always working:

  • they filter  your blood so you don’t have to (around 125 ml per minute)
  • they selectively excrete waste metabolites and retain the good stuff (like water, sodium blood cells and proteins)
  • they maintain a happy pH-cell-friendly working environment
  • they keep tabs on your blood pressure and blood volume by communicating hormonally with the rest of your organs

Because the kidneys have so much to do (and as they take up such a small percentage of your body mass), you can imagine that their architecture is pretty freakin complicated. I mean, to carry out these tasks mentioned above… it’s only possible when all the highly specialized cells (populating your kidney) are cooperating. everything is after all interdependent.

Errors can and do strike on the assembly line:

  • the filter can get all clogged up  (all sorts of crap can get stuck in their- drugs, angry cells, proteins)
  • the filter can break
  • the happy environment can turn acidic and sour really quick
  • the kidneys can misunderstand changes in blood and send the wrong messages out to increase blood pressure
  • some of the kidney cells can go into denial about their identity and life purpose and incite local insurrections that can lead to anything from failure to cancer.

All the while the rest of your body is carefully monitoring things and trying to maintain… If you urinate 1.8-2.2 liters per day (avg) your kidneys are probably happy and healthy. If your urine gets extra bubbly or sunset orange you may have a problem. With the kidney problems, time is of the essence, as all that scaffolding in there is pretty fragile.

It’s amazing how much can go wrong, yes of course… but more amazing is how the body has, at it’s disposal, a finite number of strategies and mechanisms to cope. These cells in your kidney have the exact same blueprints as the cells in your heart- they are just reading different parts, and yet, in galaxies and worlds far far away from each other, they are interdependent.

Incidentally the best place in Europe to get a Kidney transplant is Spain. The going rate is around 10,000 euros- that includes kidney, ureter and free hook-up, but does not include all the immunosuppressives that stave off rejection.


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