Homeopathy

Here’s a great article about the nonsense of Homeopathy, the idea that giving people a dilute solution of a substance that causes their symptoms can cure those symptoms. A couple of ideas that hadn’t registered with me before:

1. One of the standard dilutions used is 100C, which translates to 1 in 100100. To translate that into terms that we can understand (kinda), if you magically created a new atom that did not exist anywhere else in the entire universe, then counted up all the other atoms in the universe, your novel atom would still not be as diluted as a 100C solution.

2. It’s really hard to get totally pure water in any volume, and even harder to keep it uncontaminated as you swish it from beaker to beaker to create your desired dilution. That means that there are background levels of pretty much any chemical you might put in there that would swamp the supposedly ‘medicinal’ levels you’re trying to create. It would be like trying to apply Giselle B√ľndchen’s lipstick while 10 guys emptied cans of Dulux over her.*

(*In your dreams)

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Giving Blood

I gave blood yesterday. This is something I always struggle with a little, because I’m quite a slow bleeder – something that in general I’m very pleased about – so it can take a while to suck the stuff out of me. That was true yesterday, where after an initial spurt they couldn’t get the blood flowing. The technician had a go at the needle, moving it in and out a little to try and make something happen, then the lead nurse came over and did the same thing. So far so good, but then he started twirling the needle around in my vein. Now in the US the natural response would be “Dude!”, but being fully British again I waited until he asked if I was alright, then said “Fine thanks”

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Knees

Had an appointment this morning to check on my knee. I was taken back to my childhood, when I practically glowed in the dark from all the x-rays I had taken. Back then I would turn up for my appointment at 2pm (the same as everyone else – the doctor’s time was more valuable than ours, so have a stock of us waiting meant not having to bother with any of that Poisson nonsense), wait for half an hour or so to see the doctor, who would barely look at me before sending me for an x-ray (more waiting), before I returned to wait again for the real exam. This time I arrived and they sent me off for an x-ray straight away, speeding up the whole undertaking.

But that only goes so far. I’m a huge supporter of the NHS, but one of the things it doesn’t do well (or does exceptionally well, depending on how you look at it) is spinning out appointments. I’m going for an MRI, and the process is so speedy that they’ll let me know by mail when it will be (probably 6 weeks). In the meantime, here’s a picture of what my kneecap looks like:

Kneecap

The doc thinks that there’s inflammation behind the kneecap, and the dodgy shape probably isn’t helping. So at least six more weeks of swimming (I hate swimming, and I don’t use the word ‘hate’ lightly) before I can get back on my bike. And to make it harder, I’m getting a new bike tonight.

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Poor Sickly Me

I went to the doctor with a dodgy knee last week, and along with a referral to a special knee doctor he advised that I switch to swimming instead of rowing and cycling. Makes sense, of course, but I hate swimming; it’s boring, I find it almost impossible to remember how many laps I’ve done, I don’t like getting wet, and despite being a solo sport it still involves other people. Nonetheless I signed up at the local pool and have been swimming most days since (and yes, it’s every bit as loathsome as I remember).

Why am I whining on about this? Well I just wanted to caution you about medical advice. Since starting my shoulder has hurt almost constantly, and am seriously considering a return to the doctor. On the upside I’ll be able to fulfill a lifelong ambition by holding my arm in the air and saying “Doctor, doctor, it hurts when I do this”.

Here’s a difficult to read story about dealing with a pregnancy that you know will lead to the death of the child at birth or soon after. I was pointed to it by a friend who is close to one of the families in the story. Unexpectedly I know the other family, as Janel used to row with me in Minneapolis. In both cases the families didn’t deserve the burdens they’ve had to shoulder (not that anyone really does), but have borne them with a grace I don’t see in myself.

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