(Author’s Note: We are turning this into a drinking game! Every time you read the word “nose,” you have to take a drink of your favorite tipple. Pull out the vodka and let’s get on with it! Also, some of the pictures contained in this post may be disturbing.)
The advances made in science these days are positively mind blowing. When we speak to those far away, we no longer have to have a phone plugged into a series of wires that stretch hundreds and thousands of miles around the world. (Yes children, once upon a time twenty-five years ago, having a cordless phone was a luxury and technology that graced few homes.) Science was pushing the envelope of possibility when transplants were emerging as life-saving measures for those in need. Failure was far more likely than success. The world drew a collective gasp in 1996 when Dolly, the cloned sheep, stepped into the headlines. Cloning a sheep! (Why a sheep? Who knows? But that’s not the point.) What is next?
Here is What is Next
Doctors in China have successfully grown a nose for transplant!
Why a Nose?
The nose was grown for a man whose original nose suffered horrible trauma in 2012. Pictures of the man’s nose (or lack thereof) are hard, if not impossible to come by. But let’s just assume he has the nose of a certain celebrity.
No, not Michael Jackson. Think ‘fictional.’
No. I said “not Michael Jackson.” Think ‘Master of the Universe.’
Not He-Man, exactly. Think ‘nemesis.’
That’s right. This man’s current nose situation is awfully reminiscent of Skeletor.
For some ComiCon goers, this would be epic. For normal people, not so much.
So, seeking a change to the topography of his face, this man engaged a group of doctors to grow him a new nose.
I am not sure how. I could look it up and explain, but this is not science class and I am not a teacher… and also, I am lazy. It has something to do with stem cells.
On his forehead.
That’s right on his forehead.
Okay. I get that sometimes certain body locations are more appropriate than others for… erm… growing things (like herpes and toe fungus). There has to be a reason this location was chosen. I am sure if it were up to the poor guy, he would have chosen a more inconspicuous place; maybe his stomach? I am willing to bet my life that he didn’t tell the doctor “Put it right here on my forehead. No, not in the center. Just to the left. Right above my left eyebrow. A little more. More. No, too far. Back a bit. Higher. PERFECT!” What I know he didn’t say to the doctor was: “Okay, now rotate it to the left 165°.”
165°? Yes, 165°
The nose, if you will notice, is turned almost completely upside down. Why? I can only guess.
Perhaps the guy wanted it to double as a resting place for his jauntily tilted fedoras.
Perhaps the doctor thought it would be fun to see how much rain water the guy could catch.
Perhaps there was an experiment on deviated septums and the position of the nose.
Maybe they were just going for broke. “Well, we have to put a nose on your forehead. This is going to be very awkward for a very long time. We might as well make this look like art. Picasso did weird things. WE can do weird things. We are the Picassos of plastic surgery. Goooooo team!”
(IMHO: The nose, post-trauma is not too bad. I have seen worse things done to a nose on purpose. See the King of Pop above.)
But There is More!
This is not the first time a body part has been grown using stem cells. There was:
An ear on a forearm
A fingertip on a stomach
An ear on a mouse (I’ll just pass. I don’t want anyone nibbling on my mouse-hide ear, plus I will never trust my cat again.)
A liver in a petri dish (If you used a liquor-infused base, would it rule out any possibility of cirrhosis down the line?)
A lower jawbone printed on a 3-D printer (The possibilities are endless. Literally, endless. More about this and how I am going to get rich using 3-D printers in another post.)
So What is On the Horizon?
When I was 12 years old, my doctors told me I was not going to get any taller. I was absolutely heart-broken. I wanted to be the next Claudia Schiffer or Cindy Crawford. But supermodels are not 5’6”. They are 5’10” and above.
Being the altruistic individual I am, I had spent some time volunteering at the local Shriner’s Hospital. While here, I discovered that there is a surgery that children can get when their bones are disproportionate to one another (i.e., one leg is significantly shorter than the other). The surgery takes years and years to complete and is incredibly painful. It includes cutting the bone, mid-shaft, and then pinning the bones in relation to one another just a fraction of an inch apart. As the bone heals, it actually creates bone mass, connecting the two bones. The bone is cut again and the process is repeated. It takes six weeks for each cut to heal. That means it takes almost five months to grow an inch. I needed at least four inches but was ready to push it to six. That would take me two and a half years. I was ready to make the commitment. My parents thought I was certifiable.
I didn’t get the surgery. My dream was killed by genetics. (Damn them.)
But, what if I could grow a new pair of legs and have them grafted on to my body? The surgical team could take my short legs and give them to someone who doesn’t have legs, or doesn’t like their legs. (I have nice legs. They are strong. They are reliable. They are just 4-6 inches too short.) I would grow them out of my waist. I would dress up as a very convincing lady bug every Halloween until they were big enough to be grafted into their new positions. I would be awesome at football (soccer, not American). I would win every single Indian Leg Wrestle ever. I could take on two opponents at a time. See? Very compelling.
When I die, I realize that my body will be filled with chemicals, painted with spray paint, and put into my frilliest dress. People will walk by my casket and say “she doesn’t look anything like the woman I know.” And they would be right. Dead people look… weird.
So I’ve decided, given that this body is just a vessel, that I am an organ donor. I am not going to need my liver, kidneys, bone marrow, eyeballs, lungs, or heart when I am dead. This new story of growing body parts has given rise to an idea.
I would be kept alive on a ventilator after my soul has punched it’s ticket and headed into the afterlife. My body could be used as a Nose Nursery. (Think ‘Pumpkin Patch” with body parts instead of gourds.) I would allow rows and rows of beautiful noses (there is a song in this, I think) to be grown and harvested on my abdomen, forehead, arms, cheeks, and legs. But here is the rub…
I get to choose what noses get planted. It is like my caveat; my last will, if you will.
I will choose to be the nursery of desirable noses. Noses like:
Jamie Lee Curtis
Such noses will not be acceptable:
The present offers so many options and features that I am sure the heads of our ancestors are reeling. What once seemed sci-fi, even in my lifetime, is now reality. What’s next? Flying cars? Who nose? (See what I did there?)
What are you looking forward to seeing invented? What future possibilities scare you?