Medical Research

Severed Spinal. In the year 2000, Microbiologist Dr… | by Carey Rowland | Oct, 2021

In the year 2000, Microbiologist Dr. William Theseus’ is on the phone explaining to a colleague his research assistant’s life-threatening spinal cord injury . . .

“What happened?”

“It’s a long story. I won’t trouble you with it, but he was stabbed.”

“And the spinal cord was severed?”

“We think it’s only partially severed.”

“That’ would be, ah, Brown-Sequard’s syndrome, then?”

“Yes. That’s what the surgeon called it.”

“William, I can’t imagine what he must be going through right now, or what you must be thinking and feeling. Your phone call seems a little desperate.“

“I guess I’m grasping at straws. I probably knew what your response would be.”

“Whatever it is that our research has to offer, I can tell you, is years away. There’s some earthshaking work going on at Yale, and a few other places. They’re closer than we are to clinical experiments. But we’ve got a long way to go. What’s his name?”

“Uh, Robby. Robby Davis.”

“I’ll be praying for Robby Davis,


“William. It sounds like a cliché, I know, But you know me. We started out together on this biological quest. I’ve been watching cells and molecules for almost thirty years now, Let me tell you something, William. I’m convinced that deep inside the neurons and the axons, wrapped around the cords and the capillaries of flesh and blood, a divine design governs all that happens there, and everywhere else, for that matter. I’ve stood back, at times, in awesome wonder at the intricacy, the elaborate complexity — sometimes even the miraculous simplicity of this mystery we call life — all of it spiraling within two helices that surround virtually infinite permutations of four — only four — nucleotides.”

William had nothing that he could say.

“So when I say, William, that I will pray for your Robby friend, I am not speaking lightly, or tritely. If I could, I’d go into the lab right now and whip up a biological cocktail to coax those axons into regenerating. But I can’t. Right now, no scientist or doctor on this earth can do that. One day, we will. But I can do this, William. I can appeal to the great physician — the one who wrote the code and signed the book. That is all I can offer you.”

“That’s a lot,” said William, through tears.

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