Five Quarts: A Personal and Natural History of Blood

ᨉ write easy reader Five Quarts: A Personal and Natural History of Blood ⢁ Kindle Ebook Author Bill B Hayes ⣇ ᨉ write easy reader Five Quarts: A Personal and Natural History of Blood ⢁ Kindle Ebook Author Bill B Hayes ⣇ Gorgons BloodThe first drop stains the pale, clammy flesh Its as if the skinned potato, not my sliced finger, is bleeding Were the cut anywhere else on my body Id have it under the faucet by now or washed with soap, yet I persist in sucking it The blood is warm, warmer than saliva This is what 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit feels like on the tongue.Theres always a momentless than a moment, actually however long it takes an instinct to fire, as hand flies to mouthwhen I think the blood will taste good an expectation Id never have, it strikes me, for other bodily fluids as earthy as cooked beets or sweet as cassis Wrong again.Okay, so it doesnt taste good, but it doesnt taste bad, either If it did, all creatures would be repulsed from licking clean their wounds Bloods no worse than a lick of sweat yet also not something to be savored That it tastes faintly like metal, as some people say, is not an undeserved analogy blood is iron rich Two thirds of the bodys store of iron can be found there Others say with great specificity that it tastes like a mouthful of change have they tasted mouthfuls of change , suggesting, too, that blood is currency, which it certainly is, a donated pint at a blood bank being valued at than a hundred dollars, according to the FDA Yet both of these analogies are imprecise, for pennies have a different flavor than quarters, dont they And theres a world of difference between the lip of an aluminum beer can and a sterling silver teaspoon.Im reminded of my high school friend Melaine, now a mother of three, who has worked for twenty years as a technician in a hospital surgical unit and has, to her profound regret, acquired a fine nose for blood Like body odor, she tells me, everyones smells different some blood is pungent and sickening, some almost fruity She sees blood as a constantly brewing stew, a mix of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets, all floating in plasma, the watery medium that carries nutrients to, and waste from, the bodys one hundred trillion cells This basic recipe is then often spiced with medications, alcohol, nicotine, or other ingredients Melaine thinks that each persons blood is an olfactory signature, which leads me to think that no two samples would taste alike, either.According to historians, Roman gladiators drank the blood of vanquished foes to acquire their strength and courage a practice reputedly also followed by the nineteenth century Indonesian headhunters, the Tolalaki, among other cannibals But, if true, how exactly did the gladiators drink this blood in bejeweled loving cups or straight from the jugular Lapping it off a felled mans chest, perhaps In any event, why didnt these victorious gladiators drink their own blood instead They were the winners, after all.Nitpicking about how it was drunk, whose blood was braver, and so forth, however, is missing a larger point What makes the gladiator behavior truly arresting is this They didnt fear contact with blood On the contrary, they gloried in it Even the spectators were allowed, on occasion, to rush the arena to join blood drinking free for alls Sated, a gladiator or spectator may have even taken some to later sell Gladiators blood, both a cure for certain diseases and a good luck talisman for new brides, was a valuable commodity Even so, in those days, the most prized blood of all was not that of a man but of a mythical creature, as found in the tale of Asclepius, god of medicine.Asclepius, the illegitimate child of a beautiful maiden and the god of light, Apollo, has one of the juiciest backstories in classical mythology Hed not even been born yet when his mother was slain by his father, whod become enraged upon learning she had been unfaithful Apollo snatched the baby from her womb and sent his son to be raised by a centaur named Chiron From the half man half horse, Asclepius received his medical training, learning to mix elixirs, use incantations, and perform surgeries From his aunt Athena, the goddess of war and wisdom, he received his most powerful potion blood from the veins of Medusa, the snake haired Gorgon whose face turned beholders to stone A single drop of her blood could either kill or cure a human If drawn from the left side of the Gorgons body, the blood brought instant death if from the right side, it miraculously restored life This duality was an especially prescient invention of ancient mythmakers, for we now understand in cellular detail how blood can both bear disease with deadly efficiency and save a persons life, as with vaccinations or transfusions Indeed, Asclepius revived a man named Hippolytus by giving him the precious fluid, which may now be viewed as the earliest albeit mythicalinstance of a blood transfusion.Asclepiusno fool herealized there was profit to be made from Gorgons blood gold, specifically, which he demanded in exchange for raising the dead This unethical practice infuriated Zeus, king of the gods, who sent down a thunderbolt, killing the doctor No matter Zeus cooled down, realized the overall good Asclepius had brought to humankind, and raised him to godhood Asclepius went on to father five daughters, all personifications of healing, including Panacea, the divine cure all She reigns to this day, in the private domain of my household at least, as the goddess of minor kitchen mishaps I invoke her name as I wind a Band Aid around my finger.In practice, ancient physicians believed that blood was the dwelling place of the Vital Spirit that animated human beingsthe stream in which emotion, character, and intelligence swam This life force was thought to be circulated by the heart, which was falsely assumed to function as the bodys governing organ what we now know as the role of the brain The Roman poet Virgil offered a metaphysical slant Noting that veins under the skin looked purple, a color lost when blood was shed and a person died, he concluded that the blood must therefore house the human soulthe purpurea anima, or purple soul, as he wrote in The Aeneid It was a reverential perspective almost beyond imagination today, when blood is widely considered hazardous waste material.I find Virgils conception marvelous, even though, truth be told, my own veins look aquamarine, not purple The notion that blood is intricately linked with the soul has a deep resonance for me, above and beyond the fact of my strict Catholic upbringing Blood, Ive found, leaves mnemonic markers at each milestone or phase in life, a way to retrace ones journey Look back, youll see The marks, whether literal or metaphorical, may not be visible at first, like fingerprints before theyre dusted, but then, upon second inspection, when the light is shone just so, your whole life looks spectacularly stained in red.Were born in blood Our family histories are contained in it, our bodies nourished by it daily Five quarts run through each of us, on average, along some sixty thousand miles of arteries, veins, and capillaries Blood permeates religion, as it does the nightly news Action films are bathed in it Love songs and poems testify to its thunder Modern medicines can thin it out, thicken it up, or redirect it to sexually interesting places With the first shaving nick or menstrual period, blood initiates us into adulthood It makes us blush, bruise, and go pale It may leave a trace when a womans virginity is lost, and a drenching while giving birth Blood is used to describe a range of emotions It quickens, races, boils, curdles, runs cold, and sizzles, hot blooded, under the skin To say I feel my blood is to say one feels alive, vibrant, every cell pulsing.And yet the mere mention of blood can induce a cringe Reading about it makes some people squeamish You can even taste blood without having it on your tongue Its a taste of, well, wrongness, I supposean emotional taste that things arent as they should be At such moments one turns into a kind of temporary synesthete, a person whose senses are commingled Synesthetes taste sights, see tastes, feel colors, hear shapes An E flat triggers a visual field of triangles, say, or pain manifests as a blue aura For the Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov, as idiosyncratic in his synesthesia as in his writing, every letter of the alphabet radiated a precise color for example, O was the hue of an ivory backed hand mirror His wife, Vera, who also had synesthesia, would likely have disagreed, for two synesthetes perceptions are almost never the same An ivory O to one is black shoe polish to another.This condition is rareas few as ten people in a million have synesthesia, according to a recent American study, a figure that makes the pairing up of Vladimir and Vera even extraordinary Yet many of us, I believe, experience a similar phenomenon upon seeing blood Blood is warmth to some an overheated room To others, blood is noise a rabbits racing heartbeat But I dont see it that way To me, blood is silence It is slow motion, the pause between seconds It is a sharpness, dry air, clarity.Blood also marks the divide between me and my partner of fourteen years, Steve He has HIV, a fact Ive known since our first date Steves always been extremely cautious about bloodoverly so, Ive thought at times If he nicked himself shaving, for instance, he wouldnt allow me within kissing range of his face At those moments, I tended to act blithely unconcerned Against his wishes, I might plant a kiss on his foreheadSee, no harm done Ive never wanted Steve to think I was afraid of him.Ive seen him with a bloody nose before, but not with a serious, bleeding wound until a short time ago While he was stocking food on the bottom shelf in our pantry, the iron toppled from the top shelf, a fall of about three feet, hitting Steve, tip first, on the head I heard his oophf of pain and surprise and watched him stumble out of the pantry, trailing blood like beads of a broken necklace My first impulse, Help him, was instantly followed by a second, seemingly contradictory one Protect yourself With blood dribbling down Steves face, mine went pale, I could tell, and I froze.I stood there at least long enough for our eyes to meet I looked stunned, no doubt, if not plain guilty Id been the last to use the iron and had left it too close to the edge But concern for Steve broke through my self absorption I pivoted and grabbed paper towels as he said, calmly yet forcefully, Put on gloves His extended hand established an invisible force field between us, a danger zone I could not enter Though I didnt have any obvious open cuts through which I could get infected, I knew it was better to be prudent I dropped the towels and scrambled to the bathroom closet, returning with a pair of disposable latex gloves, gauze, and disinfectant.Steve sank to the kitchen floor and sat there, eyes closed, gingerly assessing the damage with his fingertips, a slow spiders crawl to feel if his skull was cracked His hand came away sopped, but, he told me, there was no fracture, just a gash Gloved, I blotted it with gauze and examined the scalp beneath his sticky flattop the cut didnt look deep enough to require stitches It stopped actively bleeding in minutes, in fact Steve was even able to joke that his Mega Hold hair gel must have blunted the impact.Though this isnt a pleasant admission, after Steve was cleaned up, I realized Id found it thrilling to see his blood in such quantityon his brow, staining paper towels, in a spattering on the floor Its luminous red color was like molten lava, both terrible and beautiful Until that day, it had been an abstraction to me, something drawn and analyzed behind a closed office door, mere numbers on a lab report, or a bluish fluid glimpsed through his veins I was used to seeing Steves semen when we had sex that didnt scare me But his HIV positive blood was altogether different, seeming far dangerous by being rarely seen How well I knew its capacity to bring good or bad upon ustwin shades of the Gorgon It made him sick It helped him fight back It kept him healthy It could kill.Returning to the myth Id known so well as a kid, I of course remembered the basics To free his captive mother, the hero Perseus had to deliver the severed head of the Gorgon Medusa, who was as deadly to look at as she was ugly I was struck, though, by the myriad details Id forgotten The goddess Athena joined Perseus as his battle adviser, for instance, and others in the pantheon offered their aid Winged sandals and a hel met of invisibility were gifts of the Nymphs A sword made of adamantine, a material as hard as diamond, was bestowed by Hermes.With Athena by his side, Perseus flew to the Gorgons domain, landing amid a gruesome rock garden of men the monster had turned to stone Each statue, a failed slayer forever frozen in horror, spoke to the utter hopelessness of Perseuss task A cold chill passed through him for a moment he, too, was frozen, but he pressed on Carefully, quietly, he made his way into Medusas lair Fortune smiled upon himthe monster was sleeping To protect Perseus should she awaken, Athena covered Medusas face with her shield And with a single stroke of his blade, off came the snake haired head.A crimson puddle formed at Perseuss feet As Athena set to work collecting the magical blood shed later give to her nephew, Asclepius, the pool spread Laying down his sword and helmet, Perseus reached for the severed head, being careful not to look at it, and stuffed it into a magic satchel In the blood below him, Perseus saw his own reflection, the face of a man whod done the impossible and survived.It is this conquering of ones worst fears that Ive always found satisfying, in tales spun on a grand scale and, so, in those played out on the mortal plane Ive certainly known times when Ive been paralyzed by fear or self doubt but was still able to dig down and push through These kinds of struggles almost always have unexpected results, as Perseus also discovered Before his weary eyes, the thin layer of Gorgons blood began to ripple and, suddenly, an immaculate, white and gold creature leapt out, the winged horse Pegasus It spread its magnificent wings and flew off to join the Muses, where it would come to serve as the spirit of poetic inspiration But the pool of blood held one last surprise Out crawled a foul giant brandishing a sword, the warrior Chrysaor, whod go on to sire a three headed monster and a man eating daughter The story of Perseus and the Gorgon has thus inspired mine, a personal odyssey through the history of hematology, from the classical age to the modern and, along the way, into my own past With blood as the mirror, I look at my life and see what emerges From the Hardcover edition.Playful and powerful .profoundly moving Hayes writes with so much panache that reading this book is thrilling.The Boston GlobeBill Hayes is on his way to becoming one of those rare authors who can tackle just about any subject in book form, and make you glad he did Five Quarts is a breezy ride of a book that equips even a casual reader with the knowledge to gain new insights into life.San Francisco ChronicleHayess fascination with scientific discovery is matched by his unerring sense for the right phrase, the right anecdote, to draw others into his delight and wonder.The AdvocateThe perfect gift for the phlebotomist in your life.Newsweek Top Pick of the Week SACO Free, GMO Gluten Nut High Calcium and Protein, Makes Quarts Powdered Milk GroceryHelen Hayes Wikipedia Helen MacArthur ne Brown October , March was an American actress whose career spanned years She eventually garnered the nickname Rutherford B Wikipdia Rutherford dans les annes Fonctions e prsident des tats Unis mars ans lection Five Quarts: A Personal and Natural History of Blood

    • Format Kindle
    • 0345456882
    • Five Quarts: A Personal and Natural History of Blood
    • Bill B Hayes
    • Anglais
    • 24 August 2016
    • 304 pages

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