The Kidney Collective – by Alex Piccolo

For the second installment of this blog write up I have been digging into what it means to
ask for help? Why do I feel a particular way when I am solo, as opposed to when I lean on my network of support ? This led me back to the body, because my understanding of looking within, is to LITERALLY look within. The body humbles, and inspires me to dig up more correlations between everyday life, and this resilient machine.

Why lean on a network? Why does it feel better to lean on others, or to be an equal part
in the global picture? Well, this is where we can direct ourselves to the kidney. Well not just the kidney (singular), but kidneys (plural). Yes, we have two kidneys located below the large,
transverse diaphragm muscle, on either side of the motor line (spine). Within the kidneys lies an interconnected system of compartments, and sub-compartments. It’s gonna get a little boring…so let’s swan dive into the information.

The kidneys function to regulate (remove if needed) water, and waste. The kidney is composed of the outer renal cortex, contained within are cone shaped structures called renal medulla, which funnel into the calyx, renal pelvis, and down into the ureter, and then bladder to be excreted. In other words, two bean shaped blobs (kidneys), attached to two tubes (ureters), feed into another hollow blob (bladder), and out the chute. Think of it as a relay system, passing the baton (excretory waste) from one station to the next.

Let’s dive deeper into the renal medulla (cone shaped structures). Within these cone
shaped structures we find little, twisted pipe cleaner like structures called nephrons. Nephrons act as a huge interconnected network of bodies within the kidney to assist in the filtration, and reabsorption of substances. To give you an idea in total we have approximately 1.2 million nephrons per kidney. Excuse me?! Did you hear that? That means per human body there are approximately 2.4,million nephrons working together. I feel like that may be important, but I’m not too sure…let us press on.

The pipe cleaner nephrons have an intricate system of removing tiny waste elements,
and assisting in removal, or addition of water to suit the bodies needs. These nephrons are
structurally identified as having a glomerular filtration site, proximal convoluted tubule, loop of Henle, distal convoluted tubule, and a collecting duct. At this point it’s like what the heck does all of this mean?

Well, in short they are just structural parts of the pipe cleaner nephrons, that
serve an individual, and collective purpose within the nephron, kidney, and on a large scale the body. The nephrons act in reabsorption of water, sodium, potassium (other elements…it’s quite a list, but you get the idea). It is also interesting to note that when the body sends a hormone signal requiring more water, reabsorption from the tubule occurs, and when there is too much water or ions, they are reabsorbed into the nephron to be removed. This systemic interconnectedness within, and around the kidney relies upon communication, and collaboration of all parts to get the job done.

Do you see where I am going with this? The kidneys have got an amazing network
occurring within the kidney itself, down to a microscopic level. Now, let us take away one of
those parts. Let us say the nephrons no longer want to participate in filtration, and would like to operate solo. How would that affect everything else? The nephrons are part of the medulla (cone shaped structure). The medulla is a component of the kidney. The kidney is an important organ in the body (all organs are important, but just bear with me).

Now…the body can function, but there is more work for each individual component. It
also takes a lot longer for the substances to filter through the kidneys, if at all. Do you see how when alone, one piece of the puzzle may have to exhaust itself to be part of the whole?
However, when this same part communicates with the whole, and relies upon its network
around, the individual structure can operator without complete exhaustion. I am not solely
speaking of this in a tangible sense, but maybe a spiritual, and emotional one.

In one stream of thought I like to think it is the power of the group mentality functioning within the body. Please understand this is my own interpretation, which is continually changing. This blog write up is only meant to find beauty, and inspiration in the simple things provided to us.

If you have any questions please contact me