A short story about palladium

  Dear HCN,

I have just finished lunch with your essay, "Squishy-soft processes - hard results" (HCN, 8/28/00). I read with particular interest the part about Nye, Mont., and the palladium mine. We visited Nye in the early '90s for the sole purpose of seeing the mine (hillbillies do that). We were having a chuckle about "bet we are the only people from northwest Arkansas doing this," when we drove a few miles and met some folks about 20 miles north of us who were also hillbillies.

Two years later the doctors found an inoperable tumor wrapped around my brainstem, and in 1995, when the Midwest Research Center in Kansas City purchased a "Gamma Knife" machine, my "eye doctor" heard of it and called me. So, my hubby and I roared off to Kansas City, and during a tour before the treatment, the lady explained that the machine's 500-pound helmet was made of palladium. After a discussion of where all that stuff comes from, we went on to bigger and better things.

Your article stated this metal is used in auto catalytic converters - I used to sell cars and have been so educated on the evils of such - but this pricey little metal has also improved the lives of thousands of us driving around in our catalytic converters with our brain tumors that are decreasing in size.

Carole Hawley
Springdale, Arkansas
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