Posted by guest blogger Mommynator.
Life just sometimes flies by, doesn't it? My last post was supposed to deal with some of the ethical issues of modern medical technology and then school started, and a few family doings and . . . squirrel!!!! (Make sure you see the movie coming out on DVD soon, UP! and you'll get that if you don't already.)
So one of the major chapters we studied this semester is homeostasis. Homeostasis is a collection of organs, glands and interconnected systems that allow the body to keep itself alive by keeping everything it does and produces within certain narrow ranges. For example, blood's normal pH is between 7.35 and 7.45. Anything below, and you become acidotic, anything above and you become alkalinic. If that happens, your body has various mechanisms to bring itself back to the correct pH range. Your stomach acid is between 1 and 3 on the pH scale. Your mouth and esophagus is about 7.4. If your stomach acid erupts into your esophagus, not only do you have a nasty taste, but your esophagus is not equipped with massive mucous membranes to protect itself, sometimes leading to erosive esophagitis which can lead to cancer. The first part of the small intestine coming off the stomach is the duodenum, and there are bicarbonates shoved into that to deal with the acidity of the bolus after the stomach is done churning your food. Any disruption of that system, and you get duodenal ulcers. Blood glucose levels need to be below 150 to be within normal range. You need a certain percentage of red and white blood cells to make sure that your body gets oxygen and nutrition and fights off invaders.
Most of medicine deals with trying to restore these balances when the body can't quite do it. Over the millenia, people have used herbals and other remedies to restore homeostasis. And that's why people take most medications these days (some derived and refined from the herbals) - hypertension medications, insulin and other diabetic medications, things to block various chemicals the heart uses to stimulate the heartbeat that get out of line. Surgeries, chemotherapies and radiation for cancers. Go down the list of people you know with various and sundry ailments, diseases, conditions and syndromes, and think about what their prescribed therapies are attempting to accomplish.
And this is just in the course of normal life and aging. You can eat right, exercise modestly and be moderate in all your other habits, and still have stuff happen that needs outside interference from the medical world. That's part of this world having fallen from is Edenic state. Our genetic code has deteriorated, our systems are out of whack, our environment not pristine. But our bodies still do an amazing job of keeping things going within certain narrow ranges.
Now imagine all the things seen in ambulances, ERs and clinics from what people do to themselves when they abuse things and forget that their bodies can only take so much and correct so much. Alcoholism. Drug abuse. Certain sexual practices never intended to be normal. Starving/vomiting. Cutting. Not eating right or getting enough rest. You name it, and eventually it ends up in the hospital where dozens of doctors, nurses and others will try to restore . . . homeostasis - as close to the normal state of the body as possible after damage.
What we tend to lie to ourselves about is that the moral world has its own homeostasis. People don't want to hear about it. They want to do what they want, whenever they want, and not have to deal with any consequences. Why should moral homeostasis be any different from physical homeostasis?
I've always believed that God gave us His laws to keep us morally within certain limits both to benefit ourselves and those around us. Thus all my appetites and emotions need to be kept within certain bounds in order for true enjoyment to occur without hurting myself or others. It's why God instituted marriage, feasting/fasting, mourning/celebrating as boundaries to keep our normal day-to-day lives balanced and working about as right as they can in this fallen world.
People who abuse all the good things available to us in this life unfortunately end up with broken bodies, broken minds, warped spirits and destruction. Eventually. When the limits are surpassed enough.
When bad things happen to good people, it is the fact that they have chosen the boundaries God set that helps them get through this. People who abuse the boundaries either learn their value or are lost to themselves, their families and friends and sometimes (and unfortunately) to God.
Look up homeostasis some time and do the reading. It is amazing and fascinating and awe inspiring. The more I know, the more I realize how God loves us and His creation, and why He wants to reconcile this world and us to Him through Christ's death.