Turtles breathe out of their butts.
After solving Wordle, gauging how unexciting my life was compared to EVERYONE on Facebook, and how many digits the latest Covid variant name included (I think we’re at a bazillion.) the nurse popped in and said that the doctor would be here soon.
I discovered this fun fact during a random Google search while waiting for my post op appointment with my orthopedic surgeon. (Don’t feel uninformed if you didn’t know the breathing anatomy of turtles. My surgeon didn’t know either.)
I thought, I’m not holding my breath.
A half-charged iPhone and four bars, triggered the abovementioned random Google search and undermentioned fascinating facts.
HOLDING MY BREATH
Although I wasn’t holding my breath for the doctor to appear soon, if I had, it would have only been for two minutes or so. That’s how long most humans are able to hold it- unless you’re Aleix Segura Vendrell. According to the Guinness Book of World Records this free diving Barcelonan held his for over 24 minutes.
Although impressive, Vendrell doesn’t compare to hibernating turtles. During winter, turtles dig into lake bottoms and enter deep hibernation. Their systems almost completely shut down. Minimal oxygen is needed. Their lungs take the winter off and their highly vascularized butts take over. This is called cloacal respiration. (I prefer the term butt breathing.)
As adaptive as humans are, there is no documented evidence that humans are able to butt breathe.
However, after reading about how Joe Manchin (D-WV) didn’t support the climate change portion of the Build Back Better bill and doomed the legislation, I believe that HE might be a butt breather. After all his head IS up his ass, and he needs to breathe. Therefore, one might conclude that he is a butt breather and could beat Vendrell’s record.
Someone call the Guiness’ record keeper!
Had the receptionist allowed breathing room in the doctor’s schedule, I wouldn’t have wasted my time looking up just that.
The Jules Verne Undersea Lodge in Florida has submerged accommodations only reached by SCUBA divers. The lodge has a full kitchen, hot showers, and entertainment such as movies, music, and a view of marine life. It literally is an undersea breathing room.
Where a tourist might stay a night or so in the Undersea Lodge, the Diving Bell Spiders spend most of their lives underwater. These clever spiders build silken structures, like a diving bell, between aquatic plants and fill them with surface air. The spiders dart out to catch prey that bump into their breathing room. The male spider builds an adjacent chamber with a bridge where he gains entry into the female’s space- nature’s joining rooms.
One First Street, NE, Washington, D.C. does NOT have breathing room. Rather it has an anti-breathing room. That would be the “Marble Palace” that houses the Chief Justices of the United States. Recently the conservative majority (6-3) curbed the EPA’s ability to broadly regulate carbon emissions from power plants. Thereby hastening climate change and not giving the ecosystem some breathing room to recover.
Someone check if any of the six right-wingers own a coal mine or the Jules Verne Undersea Lodge. Filtered air pumped into a breathing room may be the only way to breathe in the future.
After burning down my battery to 20% waiting for the doctor, I was breathing fire. Unfortunately, the firefighters battling the Oak Fire near Yosemite National Park were really breathing fire. Oak Fire became one of the state’s largest wildfires of 2022. Many residents evacuated as the fire scorched more than 22 square miles of forest.
During wildfires, many animals evacuate as well. Adult birds fly away and large mammals run. However, smaller animals find protection in deep burrows. The gopher tortoise of Florida digs burrows 6 ½ feet deep and 15 feet long. Insects, mice, lizards, quails take refuge with the tortoise during a wildfire.
We breathing humans need to breathe fire toward those standing in the way of curbing earth’s changing climate. Fires scorching Yosemite, rains flooding Yellowstone, and droughts drying Lake Mead are happening now!
Park the car, ride a bike, plant a tree, vote blue!
Eventually the doctor found his way to my examination room. After reading about the climate change catastrophes, my inconvenience didn’t seem all that important.
“Take a deep breath,” he said as he placed his stethoscope on my back.
And I did- both literally and figuratively.