Thursday, March 08, 2012

Losing an Organ (Part 3)

At this point, you're probably sick and tired of hearing about my appendectomy. I'm nearly a month removed from the surgery and recovering well. I thought about ending this series with part 2; however, one question plagued my mind throughout this entire process and I just knew I had to blog about it. This will be the final installment of Losing an Organ.

The question: why would God give us an organ we don't need?

Not only did I ask myself this question, others around me asked the same. At first, I didn't have an answer. Frankly, I still don't have a concrete answer to the question yet I feel more at peace with the understanding I've arrived at.

There's certainly a scientific aspect to all this so it should come as no surprise that I quickly conducted a google search once I returned home from the hospital: "What is the purpose of the appendix?"

Turns out, this question isn't easily answered even among scientists and doctors. There are a variety of theories on what the appendix actually does. I won't bore you with them all here, but many agree it's somehow involved with the digestion process. So while no one can come to a clear agreement, most agree the appendix does (or did) serve some purpose. Even so, why would we have an organ we can live completely fine without? Losing a kidney makes sense. The other picks up the slack. Same with losing an eye or an arm. Yet organs like the appendix and gall bladder can be removed with seemingly no side effects.

I don't believe there's a clear cut answer on this. For believers, we know God created humanity and his creation was perfect, flawless. Sin entered the world and changed everything. Once immortal, humans gave into temptation and became mortal. Not only were our emotions and spirits flawed, our bodies became flawed as well. Women must now endure great pain during childbearing. Our bones break. Viruses make us sick. Diseases plague thousands. At the very moment sin entered the world (or even over thousands of years), perhaps some of our organs started to deteriorate, ceasing to work as they should.

This is but another theory as this is likely one of those questions that can never be answered fully. The thought I keep back to is this: maybe God left these flawed organs there as a reminder of our mortality.

I've no idea where my appendix is now. Incinerated? In some lab being examined? What I know for sure is it's no longer present in body. As of now, my heart still beats. My lungs give me breath. Yet one day...they too will join my appendix. Deteriorated. Flawed. No longer needed.


logankstewart said...

Utterly fascinating. And understandably perplexing. I liked this little series. Glad you're recovering and looking at it all with the proper attitude.

Best of luck, friend.

Jonboy said...

ALWAYS appreciate the comments Logan. It was an eye-opening experience for sure. I enjoyed blogging on it so I'm glad to hear you enjoyed reading it. played Mass Effect 3 yet? It's incredible so far. I'm probably 3/4 finished.

logankstewart said...

Actually, I've never played any of the Mass Effect games. They look fun, and apparently are excellent games, but I've never got around to it. I've still only taken one step towards the Main Quest in Skyrim. I just don't have the free time I once did, sadly.

Neel Gowdar said...

I recently heard a really interesting and unique theory about the function of the appendix: an emergency reservoir of bacteria.

Quick recap: Your intestines are normally populated with a huge diversity of bacteria, known as your "flora", which are absolutely essential to your survival. They normally live in an equilibrium with us. Everyone has their own particular brand of flora, which also changes depending on environment and diet. When your body encounters a stress of any kind (like infection), this delicate balance is disrupted, and huge numbers of them get wiped out.

One theory is that the appendix, also colonized with your flora, is especially resistant to getting wiped out by normal stressors due to its location. The appendix can therefore serve as a small "seed colony" to repopulate your intestines with your particular flora in case of an emergency. The doctor who was telling me this theory described it as a "Noah's Ark of bacteria", in the event of a "great flood". I thought it was a pretty appropriate analogy :)

Jonboy said...

Wow! That's fascinating. Thanks for sharing Neel.

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