Three Wednesdays in January

In 2021, on three consecutive Wednesdays in January, in a trium of blood-bound events, we survived a catastrophe, we served a correction, and we held a celebration. Democracy is, at times, a gory and brutal mess — an angry boil in need of lancing — and sometimes in need of a realignment of values based on the witnessing of a live horror, in real time, as we are confronted by the monsters some of us have become in the lighted dark of day.

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This Was the Week in Blood

The internets have lately been filled with delicious and vile revelations about our blood.  The media is in a tizzy of mice and memes and surgeons and even strippers — each one vying to try to measure and mess with our blood — and I’m sure all of this is all just the start of what just may become a regular Boles Blogs featurette: This Was the Week in Blood!

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Living with MRSA: Nearly Ten Years On

I have MRSA – to be specific I have HA-MRSA.  MRSA is a superbug – its full is name methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria – the HA denotes I contracted it in hospital – if I had contracted it outside of hospital it would be denoted CA-MRSA – community acquired MRSA.

Superbugs are a group of microorganisms that are resistant to at least one or more commonly used antibiotics.  The commonly accepted list of superbugs is as follows:

MRSA  – (Staphylococcus aureus strains resistant to multiple antibiotics) , VRE (Enterococcus species resistant to vancomycin), PRSP (Streptococcus pneumoniae strains resistant to penicillin), ESBLs (Escherichia coli and other Gram-negative bacteria resistant to antibiotics such as cephalosporins and monobactams) and multiple drug-resistant Clostridium difficile.

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The Written, Rising, Art: On Writing Writing Prompts

A great joy of teaching is when your students surprise you with something unexpected.  One good way to find out what students are thinking is to ask them to respond to a writing prompt.  My favorite writing prompt for Playwriting students is to ask them to write a dramatic scene that begins with this line: “I’m going to kill you!”  30% of students will immediately write, as a second line, “Just kidding!” — but for those students who believe in the threat first line, the rest of the story tears off.

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The Archimedes' Heart Screw

I vividly remember December 2, 1982.  Barney Clark was the first successful recipient of an artificial heart.  His crawling life-back-into-death experience lasted a gruesome 112 days.  We all tried to be happy at the prospect of a fake heart beating to give us life, but watching Barney, in his wheelchair, dead-in-the-eyes and comatose-of-expression gave us all pause about the meaning of being human.  Are we our hearts?  Does our mind define us, or are we merely a beating muscle mindlessly flexing and reacting to electric impulses?

Last night, I read an amazing article published in Popular Science detailing an all-new heart replacement called the HeartMate IIs — and its hallmark construction is that it gives recipients no heartbeat or pulse because the device is not a pump, but rather a sophisticated, spinning, Archimedes‘ Screw:

The HeartMate II was an Archimedes’ screw with magnets implanted in the axle and an electric coil in the cylindrical case surrounding it—the saltshaker-shaped device that Cohn had placed in my hands. A charge zipped around the coil, drawing the screw along at 8,000 to 12,000 revolutions per minute. The axle spun on a synthetic-ruby bearing, lubricated by the blood itself. Connected to a portable battery, it let patients live fairly normal lives and was designed to stay in place forever, not merely as a “bridge to transplant.” Patients’ own hearts still worked; the continuous flow of the pump just helped things along.

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The Missing Middle Finger: Ten Sentence Story #101

Julie pulled the smoking gun from Amy’s neck and blew smoke away from the barrel as blood spattered the air in droplets of fading life.

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Why I Am Still Vegan After a Decade of Service

On December 6, 1998, my wife Janna and I began to serve the Vegan lifestyle.  I say “serve” because being Vegan can be a lonesome service to a greater cause as everyone around you devours animals and wears their skins.

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