What’s not been going on lately?


helium balloons

I’m sure you’ve noticed the lack of updates lately.  So let me today, update you on my lack of updates.  My mission in Sri Lanka is to analyze drinking water for contaminants that may be harming people.  The particular analysis machine (Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometer) requires high purity Helium to function, much like a chef needs gas or a programmer needs electricity to work.  There are no high purity Helium producers in Sri Lanka, so it was ordered…in January.  Since then, every week I’ve been asking, like a knat, “Helium? Helium? When Helium? Where Helium?  Still no Helium?” 

“The local distributors finally got it, so it should be here next week.” The answer was always the same

“It’s in the warehouse.  Mechanics will come and install it next week.”

“It’s here.  We just have to get the check cleared…next week.”

That went on for about a month, so last week, I asked again, this time laying on a my disappointment and annoyment pretty thick.  I finally got the “real” answer.  Apparently, it will arrive in the country mid-March, after which point it will be delivered to my lab.  But, since it took so long, the price has changed, so quotations, purchase orders, delivery requests, checks, customs forms etc have to all be rewritten, reexamined, reapproved, re-lost in the mail, re-signed, re-returned and re-filed before my precious Helium arrives…if things go smoothly.

In the mean time, I’ve been educating myself on the renal system and anything that is harmful to it.  It turns out, everything is: hard water, aluminum, fluoride, pesticides, organic solvents, snake-bites, painkillers and fever reducers, blue-green algae, heavy metals, some ayurvedic medicines and combinations thereof.

Lately, I’ve been interested in the effects of dengue fever (or malaria or any other serious illness) and their treatments on the kidneys.  For example, snake-bites acutely and chronically damage the kidneys.  Can dengue to some extent do the same thing?  Dengue is also treated with heavy doses of fever-reducers which are known to cause kidney damage.  Can this one-two punch be devastating enough for the organ that chronic exposure to, for example, pesticides or hard water later in life to cause irreversible kidney damage and eventual failure?

These are the things I’ve been not updating about.


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