Blood: The Trucking Company of the Body

By Verhonda Wiltz

I know, you have never thought about your body in this way. Most of us don’t know how our body works or even care…. Until it stops working as it should!  Most of the time, when it’s not working at its best, it’s hard to get it repaired and back on track. So, it’s best to maintain it and keep it in good shape. In order to do that, you need to understand how it works.  Let’s start now with your blood.

Blood is the trucking company of your body. Think of it as a fleet of trucks and trailers. The blood cell is the truck/tractor, and the iron that is attached to the cell is the trailer.  It carries fuel, gases and other chemicals to your whole body and removes wastes from your body too. Blood travels along a superhighway of blood vessels called arteries, mainly used for deliveries, and veins for pickup.  There are also streets off the highway called arterioles and capillaries. Your body has over 60,000 miles of highway inside you.

The main business office for the blood trucking company is in the bone marrow. Bone marrow is deep in the center of your bones.  This is where your blood is made and released/dispatched onto the highway. 

The kidneys are the truck wash for the blood/truck. They clean the blood of all wastes and inspect and work with the spleen on removing old worn out blood cells/trucks from the highway. When it’s time to replace the blood cells/trucks, the kidneys dispatch a message to the bones/business office and new blood cells/trucks are released on the highway.

The spleen is the blood recycling center for old, worn out blood cells.  The spleen has a highway maintenance crew that repairs the highway when it gets holes, burns and scrapes in it. The highway must be kept smooth at all times to prevent traffic jams and multi-truck accidents. It also has a hazardous material crew that it sends out when infections occur. 

Now that you have the main operation procedure down, we will now follow a normal route of a red blood cell.  We will start with a new blood cell/truck.

Red Blood Cell with iron = Truck with Trailer

The first assignment for the blood cell is to take the highway from the bones to the lungs for oxygen/air.  Traffic should flow smoothly because the highway only flows in one direction.  The blood cell/truck must first pass through a highway roundabout exit called the heart that leads the blood cell/ truck to the lungs. When the blood cell reaches the lungs, it turns onto one of many of the veins/streets and loads the oxygen/air into its trailer. Then it leaves the lungs by turning onto the arterioles/streets, goes back to the highway roundabout entrance at the heart and begins its trip to deliver the oxygen/air to one of the many other cells and organs of the body.  These blood cells/trucks are very fast!  They do this in less than one minute when you are resting, and much faster if you are running or scared!  

The next stop is to deliver this oxygen/air to the digestive system organs. The food processing center! The first stop is to deliver the oxygen/air to the stomach cells. That really doesn’t take much time at all. Then it is sent to the liver/sorting warehouse of the body to pick up some fuel called glycogen and deliver it to the leg muscle cells.  The blood cell/truck passes through an inspection weight station before leaving the liver to be sure the truck is running well and can deliver the fuel. If it is running well, it will take the glycogen to the leg muscle cells.  Don’t forget that there are millions of these red blood cells/trucks on the highways of your body making deliveries and pickups all the time. They even work when you are sleeping!

Now the blood cell/truck has made it to the leg muscle cells and delivered the glycogen, it must pick up some waste/carbon dioxide.  There are other types of waste that your body makes, but for the sake of time, we will take the carbon dioxide and deliver it to the lungs to be dumped outside the body. The blood cell/truck gets back on the highway and follows it south until it turns onto the veins and then heads north back to the heart.  It makes its exit at the highway roundabout again inside the heart, to the arterioles and delivers its load of carbon dioxide to the lungs where it is pushed out of the lungs, through the nose into the air.  

Every so often  it makes a delivery to the kidneys for waste dumping and gets an inspection at the spleen for best highway function. 

If it doesn’t pass inspection, usually every 20 days, it gets removed from the highway and sent to the spleen for recycling. 

Remember when I mentioned that the highway had to be kept smooth and the spleen was in charge of the maintenance crew? We are now going to talk about that maintenance team/crew.

The team consists of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets-small round shield shaped cells. This team patrols the highway and the streets to keep them smooth. If they find an area that needs repairing, they close the damaged area off and narrow the area while they work.  The white blood cells clean the area of dirt, germs and anything that is not a red blood cell, white blood cell or platelet. Some red blood cells bring fibrinogen, a special chemical that combines with the platelets to make a patch.  The team stays there until the patch is dry. Then the crew moves down the highway where they are needed next. 

Now we will get to the big part about this trucking company.  What do you have to do to keep this company going? How do you keep your fleet of trucks at their best?

This company needs lots of water! It keeps the highway smooth and free of traffic jams, and the kidneys need water to wash the trucks inside and out. 

=

Kidneys = Truck wash

Water is also needed for highway and street repairs.  So start by drinking lots of water every day. 

It is also important to eat foods with lots of iron. Spinach, collard, turnip, mustard greens, broccoli, fish, nuts, grapes, raisins, eggs and some red meat- beef, pork, lamb, chicken, sweet potatoes, turkey, quinoa and oats to name a few. You must remember that these foods are great, but you cannot eat them with cheese or drink tea or milk while you eat them. The iron washes out of your body if you do.

Small Pictures of Iron Sources For Kids

Sleep is when most of the inspections and repairs happen, so allow enough time for these processes to be done.  Exercise keeps the blood cells/trucks moving on the highway and prevents traffic jams and accidents. It’s important to keep moving! 

Now that you know about your blood, the trucking company of your body, it’s time to get it in top shape!

References

https://babyfoode.com/blog/iron-rich-foods-babies-toddlers-kids/#best-baby

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/how-wounds-heal

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/what-are-platelets-and-why-are-they-important

https://www.lornelabs.com/news-events/blog/the-journey-of-a-red-blood-cell

https://reverehealth.com/live-better/how-body-systems-connected/

Images

http://clipart-library.com/clipart/415438.htm

Image by <a href=”https://pixabay.com/users/clker-free-vector-images-3736/?utm_source=link-attribution&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=24360″>Clker-Free-Vector-Images</a&gt; from <a href=”https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=24360“>Pixabay</a>

https://pixabay.com/illustrations/red-blood-cell-rbc-erythrocyte-1861640/

<a href=”https://www.vecteezy.com/free-vector/truck-wash”>Truck Wash Vectors by Vecteezy</a>

<a href=”https://www.vecteezy.com/free-vector/human”>Human Vectors by Vecteezy</a>

<a href=”https://www.vecteezy.com/free-vector/spleen”>Spleen Vectors by Vecteezy</a>

<a href=”https://www.vecteezy.com/free-vector/recycling”>Recycling Vectors by Vecteezy</a>

https://www.healthylittlefoodies.com/iron-rich-foods-for-kids/

Omen Teaches It: The Insect World

You may be boys or you may be girls. You may call us bugs or pests, but most of us are insects. By the time you finish reading what we have to tell, you may look at insects in a positive light and posibly consider adopting one as a family pet!

We prefer to be called insects, not bugs and definitely not pests! Insects have segmented bodies, six legs and external skeletons. True bugs, and there are a few, suck juices from plants using stylets which are strawmouths or probosces (or proboscis for just one).

There are more insects in the world than bugs and people too! There are about 200 million of us for every one of you.

My name is Omen. I know, that’s Nemo spelled backwards and I know where I am. I am a Chinavia hilaris, what you commonly call a green stink bug. https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/485010-Chinavia-hilaris

By the way, you stink to most of us too!

https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn%3Aaaid%3Ascds%3AUS%3A102d2a5e-8508-48d2-91ef-4efe83da0496

I have been chosen by all insects and bugs to educate humans on what we are really about. No conspiracies, rumors, tall-tales or half-truths. I’m here to give you some of the facts about us.

We the insects have been here on earth approximately 479 million years. We have been here before the dinosaurs! I bet you think we’re older than dirt. The oldest insect that still exists today lives in the dirt and it is the termite queen. Our current representative for the termite queen is my friend Kubaba. She can tell you that her family is very strong and has survived all of the changes that have happened on earth. Again, you considet termites as pests, but termites are like nature’s lumberjacks. Termites take down dead trees and eat them making fertilizer and mulch for the soil and clear the land for more plants and trees. Kubaba and other termite queens can live to be 60 years old. She and her family have been through, ice, snow, floods, fires and humans building and cutting trees for farming EVERYWHERE! You call them pests, but they usually stay close to where their homes have always been and that is…..where you put your house, barn, or building! Remember, they were in the forest, woods and rainforests first. https://www.si.edu/spotlight/buginfo/incredbugs

The most common insects on earth are ants, like my friend Eon. There are 10 to 100,000 trillion ants globally, with more than 10,000 different families called species. Ants can carry 10 to 50 times their own body weight. The amount that they can carry depends upon the species. The Asian weaver ant can lift 100 times its own body weight. You could think of it as the superhero of the insects because of its strength. https://www.westernexterminator.com/ants/10-interesting-facts-ants/

The longest living insect today is the ant. The black garden ant has a lifespan of 15 to 30 years. https://antark.net/ant-facts/ants-live-30-years/

The shortest living insect is the Mayfly. It lives for 24 hours. https://io9.gizmodo.com/mayflies-might-just-have-the-saddest-most-perfectly-ev-5815582

The rarest insect, and yes it is an endangered species, is the land lobster, scientifically known as Drycocelus australis. They have been driven from Lord Howe Island several hundred miles east of Australia, to Bali’s Pyramid Island 14 miles away. https://ansp.org/exhibits/online-exhibits/stories/the-worlds-rarest-insect/

The smallest insect is the Fairyfly at only 0.007 to 0.039 inches or  0.5 to 1.8 mm long. You might need a magnifying glass to see one of them. https://animals.mom.me/fun-fairy-fly-4190.html

The heaviest insect is the giant weta, another buddy of mine, Waymore, weighing in at 2.5 ounces. He weighs more than a mouse. https://www.grownups.co.nz/interests/entertainment/quick-facts-giant-weta/

The South American longhorn beetles are 6 inches long, but the walking stick insects have them beat as the longest insects in the world! Scientifically known as Phobaeticus serratipes, they are 2.5 feet long as you can see by my friend Feefifocus.

We have patiently watched and helped humans grow. We have been with you through your phases of fear of us, curiosity, admiration, love and hate. We have listened to your secrets and famous speeches, and marched with you during your wars. We have protected your plants, created food and beauty in your gardens. We have been your pets and best friends and your worst enemies too. We carried a few diseases that spread to you due to your lack of cleanliness and control. You have tried to eliminate us many times over thousands of years, but we think you are beginning to understand that we help you more than we hurt you and we are your friends! So before you stomp, swat, and spray poison on us, please try not to forget that we are EVERYWHERE and have been here since the beginning and we are your friends to the END!

Baby Barnie Barnacle

Baby Barney Barnacle was floating in the warm quiet lagoon when it was released from

its mother into the sea with hundreds of its tiny brothers and sisters.

He heard a voice that sounded soft and familiar, but he could not tell where it was

from. The voice told him to eat the plankton that floated around him and wait until

he could find a large hard surface to attach himself to and rest. The voice became

louder and told him to move away when a school of fish passed by to eat a few of his

brothers and sisters. When the tide washed out, the voice told him he had to look

out for crabs that thought he would make a tasty snack! He dreamed about how he

would rest for the rest of his life on that hard surface. It would become his

forever home and he would never have to leave. He would not have to work to look for

food like some of the other sea creatures. He would not have to fight for his food

or go hungry like some of the creatures in the sea and he would not have to worry

about being eaten. He could travel and see the world and eat the different foods

that the sea offered and he would be safe. While he was eating his meal of plankton,

a piece of wood floated by, it looked nice, but the voice told him it was not large

enough, so he let it float by. Some of Barney’s sisters attached themselves to a

boat that slowly passed by, but there was not enough room for Barney, so he

continued to float in the lagoon and eat his plankton and algae. Some of Barney’s

brothers attached themselves to the baby sea turtles as they swam from the beach to

the lagoon on their way out to sea. A lot of the sea turtles did not get very far

because the seagulls and the fish ate them! So Barney just stayed in the lagoon

eating his plankton.

One day, the lagoon became dark and the water churned and the waves crashed into the

lagoon! Oh my! Baby Barney thought. He had never been through this before! All of a

sudden, he felt a large pull and before he knew it, he was out of the lagoon and

floating on the large rough waves of the sea! The voice he usually heard was loud

and told him to hang on, things were about to get better. So Baby Barney continued

to float on a large wave out to one of the sea currents. Then the water became calm

and clear again. Everything looked new and different now. There was a large, gray,

slow-moving, flat surface coming close to him. The voice that usually spoke to him

told him go now and hang on. It was time for him to attach himself and ride. It was

a gentle ride and he was able to see lots of places and eat different food and he

was safe. He lived on the side of a large whale. Barney traveled for many years on

the whale. Barney was on his forever home.

The Two Sisters’ Treasure

Debbie and Sonya were two sisters walking home from school one day when the found a

dollar bill on the sidewalk. They looked around to see if someone nearby dropped the

money, but there was no one in sight. Debbie decided she would carry the dollar home

until they could decide how to spend the dollar. Sonya did not like Debbie carrying

the dollar so she grabbed the dollar. Debbie grabbed the dollar back and this went

on until one of them dropped the dollar and a gust of wind blew the dollar into the

gutter and down the storm drain. Debbie and Sonya were sad at their loss. Mrs.

Davis, the neighbor across the street watched the whole episode and told the girls

it is always better to give in a little than to lose everything because you were

stubborn.