Let’s say I’m feeling rather parasitic and I’m tired of breathing and feeding myself and would rather have someone or something else do it for me. Could I get plugged in and get my needs met so I can leave behind all that breathing and eating?
No, there are changes in circulation and blood vessels that happen at or shortly after birth that enable you to breathe. I’m fairly sure they aren’t reversible.
Nice thought, though, when the world seems too much.
IANAD but I’d assume the umbilical cord from your bellybutton to your insides does the same thing on the indside as it does on the outside when the flow is cut, eventually dies and falls off / disintegrates.
Not to mention, where are you ever going to find a woman willing to be on the other end of this deal?
Cub Mistress is right - you’d need some complicated surgery to make that sort of thing work, given the changes that happen after you’re born.
More realistic would be to get yourself on a heart-lung machine that can breathe and pump blood for you. With an IV feeding line and some dialysis to get rid of metabolic waste.
Now that’s livin’! Don’t think you’ll get out much, though.
(Takes off forensic pathologist hat, puts on pediatric pathologist hat)
OK, first of all, we’re going to have to discontinue your lungs.
Oh, they can stay there, but they won’t be doing the bellows thing they’re used to. You will be getting all your oxygen through your bellybutton. So they are gonna have to lie flat and motionless. May be hard to convince them.
In order to make them flatten down we’re going to have to convince them to stop making surfactant. This has to be done cell by cell on a molecular level. So we’re going to stop by twenty-third century medicine (I’ve got a friend at Seedars-Sianai CALIFA) and inject you with the Molecular Reversal compounds. As a side benefit you won’t get cancer. Ever. (You’ll still die, but not of cancer.)
We had better reattach your umbilical cord before you stop breathing. We have to rearrange your circulation a little bit. Your umbilical vein has turned into a ligament, a rope without a central lumen; we’ll have to replace that with a plastic tube - sorry, my favors from Seeders have just run out. Your ductus arteriosus, which used to shunt blood away from the lung circuit into your aorta, is likewise a shadow of its former self; we’ll use a giant trochar I have left over from a funeral home to recreate the connection between your aorta and pulmonary artery. Hey, quit looking sideways at me! It has hardly any formalin left in it. Where’s your sense of adventure?
Now, as you’ll also be getting all your nourishment through your umbilicus, you won’t need your guts. So your guts can’t count on peristalsis to keep the bacterial count down to acceptable levels, and we’ll have to sterilize every germ in and on you. You realize fetuses are aseptic, don’t you? Expect a little… diarrhea… as this gets going. The 20th and 21st century antibiotics aren’t up to the job, but we’ll start with them, just until we knock down the germ count to a tenth of its former self. Then, before they can multiply back, we’ll beg for a vial of 23rd century Sterilicide. No, no, it doesn’t affect your sperm!
Although you won’t be using your sperm in there either. Male fetuses get hard-ons, but don’t use them. No ejaculation. Sorry, no wet dreams. Try later.
OK, once we’ve flattened your lungs, re-established your fetal circulation, sterilized your germs, and obviated your intestines, we can create the artificial womb to hook you up. Don’t worry, ASAKMOTSD; there isn’t a woman in the world who has the blood supply to sustain a fully-grown human. We’ll use a robotic construct instead. The 23rd century robotics are grown from flesh over prosthetics, much like the artificial limbs and organs of that date. We’ll just borrow a little of stpauler’s flesh to type for the placenta…
Hey! Stpauler! Where you going! After all you’ve been through, to be scared of a little biopsy scissors is sheer wastefulness!
Come back! Come back, Shane!
I have to go apologize to my friend the medical resident at Seeders-Sianai.
There are those who think exactly this urge is what drives pretty much everybody. I’ve never seen it addressed quite so explicitly, though.
As always… You ROCK!
Are you kidding? They’d have a big pump hooked up to them taking nutrients, so they could eat as much as they want of whatever they want and never gain an ounce! You’d have volunteers lined up for BLOCKS!
How 'bout it!
I think Gabriela ought to write a book, a la Dr. Oliver Saks. She is truly gifted.
Thanks Gabriela, that was pretty awesome.