blood and guts, surgeons and scientists: “the butchering art”

The Butchering Art is medical historian Lindsey Fitzharris's first book. And  what a book! Descriptions that bring the horrors of pre-anaesthesia, pre-antisepsis surgery shudderingly into view? Very definitely. Science and history? Oh yes, lots of it, and beautifully told. And through it all, the humanity and vision of Joseph Lister and others like him, working to […]

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‘a worm just crawled across my eye!’

Saw the webpage headline.  First thought: ewwwwww. Second thought: ooooh, I wonder what that's all about? Answer: a little filiarid worm. FIliarid worms are roundworms (nematodes). I knew about the one that causes the disfiguring disease known as elephantiasis, but hadn't heard about the 'eyeworm', or Loa loa. Elephantiasis is due to lymphatic filiariasis, where the […]

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the drunken botanist

That’s the title of one of the books I’m reading at the moment: The Drunken Botanist, by Amy Stewart. (I do not know any drunken botanists!) Contrary to any expectations engendered by the title, the book is a thoroughly engaging wander through botany, history, & a little bar-tending (although, now that I look at the […]

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final flight

On Tuesday morning I walked on the beach at sunrise, and saw a kingfisher hunting sand hoppers on the tide-line. It seemed somehow fitting for the day when the sun would shine on our old airman’s last fiight. For my father-in-law died on Friday and Tuesday was the day of his funeral: a loving celebration […]

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