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Friday
Aug192011

The Pee Towel

I've always got a lot of little projects going on in between larger projects. I'm going to tell you about one of them and you're probably going to call me a nerd. It's okay, I can take it. Besides, it's true.

My day job involves many different things. One of the least glamorous is urinalysis. You know when you go to the doctor and they make you pee in a little cup? That cup eventually makes its way to someone like me, who runs all the tests on it. Part of urinalysis is a microscopic examination, and one of the microscopic elements we look for is crystal formation. Urinary crystals result from a supersaturation of the urine with some particular substance. That substance can precipitate out to form distinctive crystals.

The most common crystal we see is calcium oxalate, which usually does not indicate any sort of disease. Often it just means you've been eating a lot of vegetables, though sometimes it can be associated with kidney stone formation. At the vet's office, calcium oxalate crystals are seen in the urine of pets with ethylene glycol (anti-freeze) poisoning. The dihydrate form looks like little square envelopes, as in the photo at right. I've always thought they were pretty.

Get your very own PEE TOWEL! So why am I telling you all of this? Well! There's this great company called Spoonflower that will take your digital artwork and print it on various different fabrics. So I whipped up my own digital rendition of calcium oxalate crystals seen in pee and had it printed on linen-cotton canvas by Spoonflower just so I could sew the fabric into ... PEE TOWELS! Get it? Not tea towels, but pee towels ... yeah, okay, I told you I was a nerd. But it makes me laugh, and if it makes you laugh as well you can find your very own pee towel in my Etsy shop.

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