A Curious Lesson of a Botched Shave
November 26, 2015
Over the last years I’ve made several attempts to get back to blogging, which weren’t very successful. Every time I tried I made rather big announcements in this blog promising to “get back”… only to see myself absorbed with a lot of other ABR activities that draw me away from regular posting. So this time I decided to do it somewhat more humbly – start little by little, give it a try – and see how it goes… And in line with this humbleness – my topic is going to be far less ambitious as well… I just want to show you that valuable lessons with far reaching consequences are all around us – we are just not used to paying proper attention to them.
This, my friends is the picture of my grayish stubble yesterday -- 4 days without shaving. Why am I looking so messy? – Not because I’ve got too lazy or decided to become a strange looking ‘style icon’. It’s a lot more simple – 4 days ago my routine morning shave went wrong – somehow I used an oldish dull razor and had to scrape my chin and jaw a lot harder than usual… The result? – a terrible itch. My skin is not overly sensitive – so this kind of trouble doesn’t happen to me too often – so I was in for a nasty surprise. My shirt’s collar, my jacket’s collar, my sweater – everything felt really uncomfortable and irritating…
By now you might be asking: “Hey, Mr. Blyum, I sympathize with your “troubles” – but aren’t you wasting my time telling this kind of mundane account of your hygienic woes?? There’s nothing unique in it – this happened to millions of people before you and will happen millions of times after … and it will be alright … there is no drama in this botched shave and ‘irritable skin’ story… you better tell me something more interesting and valuable next time if you want my attention...”
Well, and that’s exactly where it gets interesting …
We are so used to taking for granted that a small scratch, a small cut, a small irritation, a small bruise … and thousands of other ‘small’ micro injuries to our bodies – will simply disappear and will take care of themselves… I am no different… All I did was just to stop shaving for a few days. I grew a messy looking stubble but every day it was getting better. First, it was itching less, than it was hurting less against the collar of my jacket … and by yesterday … there was no irritation at all – even if I scratched my chin when thinking (which is one of those habits that you are not fully aware of until you can’t do it for whatever reason).
But upon closer inspection – isn’t it quite a miracle? Isn’t it the illustration of how fundamental and primal is the self-healing and self-repairing capacity that our body has ? But if we dig yet another step deeper – we’ll find out that this miracle of self-repairs of the micro-injuries has a number of elements that make it work.
The biomedical attention is naturally drawn to the information aspect of it – how does our body “know” what to do and how to execute these repairs – and modern science has all sorts of explanations on how exactly the local injury causes an inflammatory response and what exact mediators are released into the bloodstream and in what sequence the repair goes etc..
However, an even more important aspect of the self-repair miracle is not so obvious – but absolutely essential. Every repair has its costs and has its logistics. Which means that there should be a sufficient SURPLUS of metabolic resources within our bodies that allows to allocate those ‘repair teams’ to all the places where such repair is needed.
We take it for granted – but when it comes to a child weakened by cerebral palsy – we have to remember that this is exactly the challenge: having enough of metabolic resources and having good enough logistics for their delivery for each and every place where the daily repairs are needed. And that’s pretty much everywhere – it’s in the gut affected by reflux, it’s in the intestines intoxicated by the slowed bowel movements, it’s in the superficial muscles that are overworking, it’s in the bones that do not get the refreshing piezoelectric stimulation, it’s in the cortical brain has to service all these imbalanced muscles “manually” – etc.
Remember the basic energy resources distribution equation that our ABR team explained you on numerous occasions?
E = I + F + W
In other words, the daily metabolic production (E) is distributed among 3 avenues:
I – Investment –growth and tissue differentiation/ maturing
F – daily function and associated the repairs
W – waste, i.e. the cost of the overloads, overdrives and of the overuse plus the cost of internal logistics
And that’s exactly the challenge that a child weakened by cerebral palsy faces – the E production is lower than in a healthy child's body, while the costs of daily functioning (F) are much higher and where the waste (W) component is many times higher than in a healthy child. That’s exactly why your child’s body faces a much tougher challenge of juggling the limited resources – and what happens quickly and easily for a healthy person most often takes much longer to repair in a body of a child affected by cerebral palsy.
That’s why a little bruise might leave a mark that lasts for months, that’s why a cold might take weeks to get over and can easily ‘spill over’ into a fully-fledged bronchitis or even the lungs infection, that’s why a minor muscle overuse might lead to many days of soreness and stiffness and so on…
So these are a couple of simple lessons, that curiously follow a story of a botched shave.
Next time, when observing how your micro injury disappears within days – by itself, without you proactively doing anything – just say a little ‘thank you’ to those internal mechanisms of self-organization that run your body on its autopilot – both generating E resources and distributing it appropriately.
And, of course, next time – think twice before pushing your brain-injury weakened child to an extra overdrive effort and/ or interrupting their resting and internal recovery with some external demands or requests. Their bodies know best what is the right proportion. Even though you do not see – but their bodies are constantly busy solving a problem of how to feed thousands of ‘mouths’ that urge for repairs of their local micro-injuries with one small loaf of ‘bread’ of limited metabolic resources that they have.. Well, that’s pretty much it. And I hope that this little lesson will stick with you...
And this is the happy end picture: I shaved today with the fresh razor – the chin is smooth again … no micro-injuries this time and no call for extra repairing resources … that’s why I had some spare ones to write this post for you :-)))