Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Fun-a-day 25: Pneumonia
Yep, it's that time of year, cold and flu season! I've had a sick kid at home the last few days, but it looks like he's on the mend. Rarely, though, these not-so-fun illnesses can progress to pneumonia, as has happened to another family member of ours in another city. I hope he feels better soon! I've had pneumonia once as well, when my kids were both toddlers, and it really can wipe you out for weeks to months!
There are many causes of pneumonia, but one of the main ones we saw in the lab was caused by a bacteria, Streptococcus pneumoniae. On a sputum or "bronc lavage" specimen, they appear as gram positive diplococcus, which are the dark dots in pairs on my quilt block. Since it's a gram stain, the white cells, which are typically quite numerous, appear pink.
For fun, I drew a "goblet" cell (far left), which we would occasionally see in a bronchial wash specimen, which is a special collection method done in the hospital. These little cells line the respiratory walls, and have little hairs, or cilia on them that trap foreign particles. The white cells (on the right) are in there gobbling up the "bad guys", in this case, bacteria, and we do in fact frequently see the bacteria inside of the cell that's just "eaten" them. So cool! It still amazes to me, after all of these years, to think (and actually be able to see) that we have these little single cells in our bodies, all constantly working together, each doing their job to keep us healthy. It's also equally amazing that a tiny virus or bacteria can make us so sick! I sure hope all of you reading this are healthy and doing well!!
Here's one last picture of my stack of blocks after I trimmed them all up tonight! FUN!