Zebra or horse?

atoz-ZBlogging from A to Z. Today is Z, the last letter.

I hope that I am not the only one to write about Zebras today, because I think they are fascinating animals, and I think there is a lot to say about them.

My take on the zebra is a medical one. Within medicine, there is an expression “when you hear hoofbeats behind you, don’t expect to see a zebra”. This means that when a doctor is looking to find the diagnosis, he/she should not look for the most rare and exceptional one (the zebra), but a common disease (the horse).

Some patient groups have adopted the zebra as their mascot or “logo” just because of this: They suffer from a disease that is very rare, and are therefore often given the wrong diagnosis, or no diagnosis at all. Only after long (and stubborn) battles and a lot of research of their own, the real diagnosis is made: you have a zebra.

It makes sense that a doctor looks for a more common diagnosis. We can not expect every doctor to know of ALL the rare diseases that exist. But what about all the zebra cases, who bang their forehead through the medical system? And what about the medical experts, how can they detect the zebras?

Great news is that there are new ways to approach this. The crowd can be called in to help, online, like in this new tool that was launched recently: CrowdMed. Here the public can turn into medical detectives, and suggest what the possible diagnosis could be. There is a lot of collective knowledge out there, so if people can gather ideas together, this can also help the medical experts to quicker diagnose that very rare case.

Also, recently, a new search engine for rare diseases was launched: FindZebra. It is a research project developed for medical professionals, to help them diagnose difficult cases, find the zebras.

Services like these do not replace the healthcare (the diagnosis is eventually made by the professional), but they can help patients and medical professionals to share their knowledge and experience and work together to find the zebras.

If I were to make zebra jewellery, I think it would be a silver pendant, and this is how I would do it:

1. Stripes: I’d use the rolling mill to make a striped pattern on silver sheet.

2. Horse shape: I’ll cut the shape of the traditional Dalahäst, the well known wooden horse from Dalarna, Sweden. The original one is painted in a very traditional pattern, but it has now almost become a trademark for Sweden, and you find it in any colour or pattern (as you can see here at DalaHorse MANIA on Pinterest).

3. Black/white: Once I have cut the horse, I’ll hard boil a few eggs to oxidise the piece (if you’re lost now, see here about my previous experiences with this method). Then I’d polish, so that only the deeper laying stripes remain black, and the rest silver coloured.

atoz-z1 atoz-z2Another, much quicker way, would be to use “shrink plastic/paper”. That’s a sheet that you can first draw on and colour and then heat in the oven. It will shrink  to 1/3 of its original size, or perhaps more. I never used it, but as you can see on this video, it is not complicated. Perhaps a nice way for children to make jewellery?

Thank you all for following me through this alphabetical challenge. This has been so much fun, and most of all thanks to you!

Z, this is the closing post.

Or is it…? When you see a Z, can you be sure it’s the last letter of the alphabet?


11 thoughts on “Zebra or horse?

  1. Yayyyy we made it we got to the end … and what a zippy excellent z yours was to behold i did enjoy this one and would buy a Zebra pendant if you put one on sale …. Are you going to join me in a run around blog land with pants on our heads in celebration we did the A to Z! (thank you for you have made my challenge a pleasure)

    • Yeaaah, I’m running with you, we did it! Thank you so much for your encouraging following, I so much look forward to seeing more of your posts popping up in my reader! Let’s first relax a bit…

  2. Thank you my darling for the Zebra on Z in this challenge. You have been my rock and to see you finding your pleasure and life as individual in blogging and your atelier confirms to me I am so lucky as I am your X-boyfriend

  3. I saw one other Zebra post, but a bit different. Interesting, the search engine. Good to know.

    And yes, we made it to the end of the alphabet. No more letters … promise. 🙂 Loved coming in here and reading your posts, and I look forward to reading more in the future.

  4. Thanks for a fantastic months …. I also love Zebras, they are so beautiful in their black and white strips – a stunning animal and it could have been the model for our Dalahäst – same strong thighs.

    • Now, that’s a very good question! I have no idea, but I hope the metaphor is used in a flexible way, like instead of the zebra, a… moose? It’s true that expressions like these are based on the Western/Northern perspective. If anyone knows of an African metaphor for this, I’d love to know!

  5. This is an amazing blog! I have enjoyed it and I nominated you for a Liebster Award. Please visit the award post on my blog and read all about it. Instructions are there if you would like to participate. Congratulates on a successful A to Z Challenge! I wish I had discovered you sooner. Mary at Mary A to Z

    • Hi Mary, welcome to my corner of the blogosphere, and thank you soooo much for nominating me, I am so honoured! A to Z was a great experience, now I look forward to some more time in May to catch up and explore more blogs, so I’ll come over and read at your place within short! Again, thanks, and welcome back here anytime!

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