Thursday, June 30, 2005

Back at Work

I am finally about over being sick, although I still don't have a lot of energy. Ah, the joys of parenthood. Your kids will get exposed to all kinds of bugs at school, then bring them home to you. I got it from my daughter, and now it looks like my wife has gotten it from me. Hopefully my son can escape it, but there's not much hope for that. Large families (from which I come) tend to have even more problems in this area. By the time the seventh member of the family has gotten the virus, it can mutate enough to re-infect the first member who got it! Sometimes I wonder just what exactly it is that makes us sick. Most doctors, when it comes down to it, treat symptoms. We may know that a particular medicine will have a particular result, but I think a lot of even modern medicine is purely an observational science. What, physically, is making us sick? What is the actual mechanism of disease. I'm not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, some maybe more of these answers are known than think -- but I don't think so. Some of our ignorance about disease must have to do with our ignorance about how the brain functions, since ultimately the brain and the rest of the central nervous system control pretty much everything that's going on in our bodies. If we ever want to make science fiction's nanobot healers a reality, we're going to have to completely figure out how the body's disease system works.

So here's a story idea for you, no charge: Suppose we used modern medical techniques (inject a drug that should have such and such an effect into the patient and see what happens) with nanobots. What kind of wonders -- or horrors -- might we unlock as a result? Remember, nanobots aren't intelligent, they have to be programmed like any other computer -- and the limit of their programming is the extent to which the programmer understands the material.

As I menioned in the entry on the business of writing, freelance writers are self-employed and don't get paid sick days. While making a daily blog entry really isn't my goal, I'm pleased that I was able to sit down and write even when I felt terrible. I think one of the major challenges of being a freelancer would be keeping yourself motivated and on task -- there are lots of external pressures besides illness that can keep you from writing. As I indicated before, the fact that you aren't getting paid if you don't work certianly is a motivator, but there are other things a writer needs to be able to do (such as read, observe the world, research, etc.). Family and "free time" are important, too. When you work a nine-to-five job, I think it's much easier to strike that balance than when you work for yourself. I have a great deal of respect for freelancers, maybe one day I'll be worthy of that respect as well.

No comments: