Posted by: billpurdue | June 19, 2009

59 Your bodily organs and who arrives first when they don’t work..

……but before all that: it’s the tenth Annual Lowdham Book Festival this year and it’s taking place in various locations around the village of Lowdham (just north east of Nottingham on the A612)  plus one or two other locations and lasts until June 27th. Amongst the well known names that will be making an appearance this year are Jenni Murray (of Radio 4), Stephen Booth, Gillian Slovo and the railway writer Geoffrey Kingscott who will be talking about Lost Railways and Lost Stations. The box office number for all the events is 0115 966 3219. For more details about all the events go to the website.

Keeping Healthy

Don't die youngLast time I mentioned Dr Alice Roberts’ new book about the origins of our species: homo sapiens (see the previous edition of this blog). Dr. Roberts’ first book accompanied her first TV series in 2007 : Don’t Die Young [Bloomsbury £20 9780747590255]. In it she describes the principle organs of the human body and what we can do to help them all stay healthy and function properly. By understanding how your organs work and how to look after them, you stand a better chance of a healthier life. The book is lavishly illustrated (I really mean that) with many colour photographs, some of minute bacteria, cells etc, magnified 1000s of times as well as lots of colourful diagrams of our insides. There’s even an electron microscope photo of split ends – hair damaged by bleach.  In the introduction, Dr Phil Hammond says “Most people haven’t experienced the joy and wonder of dissecting a fellow human, but this [book] is the next best thing”.

If you’re not too keen on photos of your internal organs, just have a look at the special sections at the end of each chapter, where ways to keep your brain/liver/kidneys etc in good order are listed. I think I’ll just stick to that and try and follow Dr Roberts’ advice, one of the main points being to eat five portions of fruit and veg a day.

…and if something suddenly goes wrong…

…you might need an ambulance. This is where Tom Reynolds comes in. Tom works for the London Ambulance Service and for the past 6 years or so he has been publishing a blog about his daily experiences as an ambulance driver: Blood Sweat and Tea [The Friday Project £7.99 9781905548231] and More Blood, More Sweat and another Cup of Tea [The Friday Project £12.99 9781906321406] are both collections of excerpts from Tom’s blog about the many and varied experiences he has in his job.

Blood Sweat and teaWritten in bight-sized chunks, you can dip into the book at almost any point to get a picture of what it really means to be an ambulance driver – answering emergency calls which might be a little old lady who has had a fall or a victim of a stabbing or just someone who has had a cough for a couple of weeks and just can’t seem to get rid of it. The situations he has to deal with range from the tragic to the ridiculous – they are all in a day’s work – as are the dangers all ambulance drivers have to face, whether it’s driving at high speed through heavy traffic or coming into contact with life threatening infections. Then there are all the abbreviations they use such as FRU (Fast Response Unit) and FBUA – you’ll have to read the book to discover what that stands for!.

I picked up Blood Sweat and Tea from the library. At first I thought I wouldn’t like the format of the book, but I started reading and found it hard to put down. Try it.

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