All Humans Are Welcome Here!

Category : Nursing

in 2002, I graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, Oregon. I then practiced, mostly as a travel, agency and float nurse, until May 2009 when I decided the U.S. health care system is beyond broken and nursing is not good for my sanity. I sometimes wrote about it, but most the stories cannot be told. My training still applies to daily life situations, though.

Respiration, Part III

Oxygen and carbon dioxide are carried in the blood, pumped by the heart, and shifted through membranes by partial pressure gradients. Oxygen dissolves to a much smaller degree than carbon dioxide, so that at rest, the PO2 would only help provide 6% of the body’s O2 requirements. There must be another way. The hemoglobin molecule comes to the rescue. Hemoglobin is made of globin, a protein, and four heme groups consisting of an iron atom surrounded by an organic group. Four polypeptide chains make up the globin, each bearing a red-pigmented, disk-shaped heme. Each heme group binds one oxygen molecule, so each hemoglobin molecule binds four oxygens. Considering one red blood cell holds ~ 250 million Hb molecules, it can… continue reading

Respiration, Part IV

Successful respiration requires a delicate acid-base equilibrium in bodily fluids. H+ concentrations, however meager they may be, significantly impact fluid pH. Furthermore, hydrogen ions are highly reactive and react with many compounds, often disrupting their shape and function. Hydrogen ion concentrations must be maintained at ~4.0 x 10-8 in order to keep blood pH at its slightly alkaline value of 7.4. Acidosis, caused by accumulation of CO2 in the blood, is a drop in blood pH. Shallow breathing may cause acidosis. The opposite condition, alkalosis, is a rise in pH due to excessive CO2 excretion. Alkalosis is commonly caused by hyperventilation, but is much less serious than respiratory acidosis. We can say that concentrations of CO2 in the blood are… continue reading

Conclusion, Links, Sources

In conclusion, I’ll talk about two things I’ve never even done: scuba (darn) and the bends (thank god). These underwater phenomena summarize very well the concepts I’ve outlined. As a note, this page would be set to some of my favorite music, but and don’t have sound samples for “Underwater Love” and “The Bends.” Shucks. Back in the days when everything was still so simple, people devised novel ways of exploring the ocean floor. Take the little guy below, for example. The hood over his head connects him to surface air, and he can breathe fine, right? Wrong. We would reason that a deep diver is subjected to increased “atmospheric” water pressure, a great force pressing in on… continue reading

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