design flaw

The Mellowcat is on the DL for a while following a running mishap last week.  Tripped, fell, used bad word.  My own fault (per normal); one of my shoelaces was untied, and the other shoe stepped on that, and I had a one-way ticket to Asphalt-ville.  This happens now and again, and I’d probably be making a big deal about it even if I didn’t sustain any damage because it qualifies as viable blog content in one important way: it’s something that happened to me.

Have you ever looked into how the ribcage is constructed?  I hadn’t until now, since one or more ribs was dislocated, or bruised, or in some way messed up when I fell.  The design of the ribcage seems to have evolved in a somewhat haphazard manner.  It has a ‘there, I fixed it’ quality about it.  Needs to be flexible (use lots of cartilage!) but strong (use bones!) because it’s got the heart and lungs in there.  And the ribs themselves vary quite a bit.  The ‘true’ ribs are connected to you at the front and the back.  Your ‘false’ ribs are connected just at the back, and connect to a true rib at the front using more cartilage.  Then you have the ‘floating’ ribs, which have a somewhat tenuous relationship with the skeleton – no connection at all in the front.  You probably have two pairs of these guys.  Although some people only have one pair.  Oh, and some people have three pairs.  Probably some real good reason for that.

But here’s my real complaint.  I’m OK with the ribcage having some design and durability issues – we’ve come to expect that (see: knees).  The thing is, if you have a rib injury it’s jump-out-of-your-skin painful, and there’s no treatment other than to wait for it to go away, and that can take a couple of months.  Why would we have this built-in 4-alarm-fire warning system for something we can’t do anything about?  I get it already: try not to cough, sneeze, laugh, breathe, move.  Until 2011.  You can turn off the flashing red lights and sirens in the nerves down there, Abdomen.

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