Dr. Benjamin Wiseman is a retired anesthesiologist and pain management specialist with 25 years of experience. A member of the Waco, Texas, chapter of the Audubon Society, Dr. Benjamin Wiseman takes part in McLennan County’s yearly bird population count.
For more than 100 years, the Audubon Society has pursued its mission to “conserve and restore natural ecosystems” for birds and other wildlife. The organization’s website offers a list of more than 70 types of birds identified as “priority,” 18 of which belong to a watchlist of significantly endangered species.
One such bird is the well-known bald eagle, the elegant national emblem of the United States. Earlier in the 1900s, the bald eagle’s numbers declined drastically, and though its population has been improving since the 1970s, the birds are still classified as endangered.
Bald eagles often do not reproduce until their third or fourth year, at which time they may choose a lifetime mate. The couple builds their nest high in a tree, on a cliff side, or on the ground in less-populated regions such as northern islands. Some eagles will maintain the same nest over the years, ever increasing its size with additional sticks and twigs.
Female bald eagles lay two eggs on average, which are warmed and protected by both parents throughout the 36-day incubation period. Once the eggs have hatched, the eaglets are guarded around the clock by mother or father for a couple of weeks and finally learn to fly at about three months old.
A Texas-based consultant for pain management, Dr. Benjamin Wiseman has some 30 years’ experience in his field. Most recently, Dr. Benjamin Wiseman’s professional interests have expanded to include treatment of decompression sickness for scuba divers.
Also called The Bends, decompression sickness has to do with changes in the blood during a dive. At sea level, ordinary breathing expels nitrogen gas from the body. However, breathing compressed air at depth from a scuba tank prevents this process – the bloodstream and tissues absorb more nitrogen, depending on the time spent at a particular depth.
This does not create a problem until the time comes to ascend. As the pressure of the surrounding water decreases, nitrogen forms bubbles in the bloodstream and tissues. If the diver goes up too quickly, these bubbles can cause extreme pain.
Stopping in mid-ascent once or several times causes the gas to form micro-bubbles, which cause no health problems. If this is not practical, divers can use a hyperbaric chamber to safely stimulate decompression.
Dr. Benjamin Wiseman has training in the use of a hyperbaric chamber. This also allows for treatment of areas of the body that are not receiving adequate oxygen levels delivered by the capillaries to the tissues, either by bubbles in the bloodstream or by blockages due to disease such as atherosclerosis or diabetes.
The chamber delivers 100% oxygen to people inside it – air compressors raise the pressure to the correct level. This allows cells to renew themselves as more oxygen enters the blood, as they would in a controlled ascent. The longer a diver is submerged, the longer he or she must stay in the chamber.