Near and dear

They say it is easiest to write about the things which are closest to your heart. So I ask myself, “What is close to your heart this morning?” Like just about every other morning, I think the answer would have to be my left lung.

The author does not wish to hear from any smart-ass M.D.s talking pericardium smack.

I can’t really think of much to say about my left lung. As far as I know it’s pretty healthy. It seems to be doing its job. It is one of many organs which are easy to take for granted. Unless you’re suffering from a really bad cold, or you just spontaneously jumped out of your desk and did a few laps around the office, you don’t typically think much about your lungs – much less your left one. Admit it; when was the last time you seriously thought about the gaseous equivalent of grand central station? When was the last time you had alveoli on your mind? When have you ever drawn up your bronchial tree? When did you ever consider the role of hemoglobin and bicarbonates in gas transfer?* The stomach? Now there’s an organ! It may not be glamorous, but it comes up all the time. I’m hungry! I’m full! I exercised too hard and I want to puke! That’s your stomach in action, right up there on the front lines, hogging all of the glory. Your brain? Oh, the brain! Glamour, mystery, influence; your brain has got it all. When doesn’t the brain try and take some of the credit for something going on? Your poor lungs on the other hand only get noticed when something goes wrong.

O.K., maybe the lungs have it better than the pancreas; but the pancreas couldn’t hold the lung’s pulmonary artery. Pound for pound, the lungs could be the heaviest organ in the thoracic cavity. The pancreas can’t say that!**

Do your lungs a favor, give ’em a little credit where credit is due.

*The author feels compelled to come clean; he has no idea if the roles of hemoglobin and bicarbonates are analogous. The last time he had any academic exposure to biology or chemistry was high school.

**The author believes the pancreas resides in the abdominal cavity, not the thoracic cavity. The author further admits that he has no earthly idea what the pancreas does, nor does he really care to.