But do we need two?

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dr. daveFound myself flying in a small floatplane. Found myself flying in a small floatplane. “OK folks check under your seat to make sure that little floating device thingy has been restocked.” The plane came complete with pontoons, earplugs, 3” wide seats usually shared with Sammy Sumo, and a single pilot (no wedding band). He is the lone pilot, the flight attendant (“coffee, tea or ocean water?”) and the copilot. No other copilot in sight unless seagull feathers count.

Personally I don’t know how to fly a plane that isn’t created from a folded homework assignment. So I study the pilot to make sure I have an idea of what to do should he grasp his chest mid-flight or starts reviewing DB Cooper for Dummies on his dash. I envisage being talked down by Leslie “don’t call me Shirley” Nielson as I save nine passengers and more importantly the aircraft from flying around in circles until it runs out of gas and crashes into the salivating jaws of a nasty ocean creature or possibly Oklahoma. It would be somewhat more comforting to have two pilots in case one fails.

What of our organs? We usually like to see two of things flying our single engine craft in a normal functioning human carcass. Two kidneys, two lungs, ovaries, adrenals, eyes, left feet, ears, nose hairs and of course testicles for balance.

But do we need two? In each case the answer is no as the body has an amazing ability to compensate for the loss of one organ by increasing the capability of another.

Kidney: In fact many of you only have one kidney without knowing it. Our piddle producers can function well with only a quarter of a kidney. Jennifer suffered from kidney failure and was in for a life of dialysis costing her many boring life saving hours several days a week hooked up to a machine that cleaned her blood. Her sister who would’ve been a close match didn’t want to donate a kidney and have a scar but Jennifers’s husband stepped up and said to me, “Doc, I have two, she can have one of mine. Could stand to lose a little weight anyway. Besides this way she can stay home more often and rub my feet.” Even though he wasn’t a perfect match he was a perfect match.

Ears: When one ear becomes useless we can still hear from the other just fine but aren’t able to locate the sound as easily. You might know that there is a definite noise but just not certain if it came from Aunt Mildred or the dog. Hearing aids have now become so small and accurate that they can be taken out very discreetly when staggering home from the hockey game at 3 a.m.

Eyes: Just as sound perception is distorted when one ear is shot, the lack of binocular vision can disturb our depth perception. We can see just fine with our functioning peeper but can’t tell if Pamela Anderson is a cutout or in fact has some umm, depth. Amblyopia is a condition that can be prevented/treated early on if your baby has a proper eye check. If both eyes are useless then of course you are recruited to ref all hockey games that I coach.

One ovary can still produce hormones and eggs and one testicle can produce kids. Some suffer from undescended testicles at birth and have only one functioning testicle. For locker room confidence and swagger a falsie can be surgically inserted. Of course Sumo wrestlers tuck both testicles up into the pelvis just prior to fighting or … getting on my floatplane.

Like the column? You'll LOVE the book, The Doctor is In(sane) now available at Pages Bookstore, Cave Creek. You can reach Dr. Dave at