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Pokémon = Pocket Monster

To the person who stole my five-year-old's favorite Snorlax rock: yours better be a make-a-wish-foundation type of situation to justify your theft, because not only have you made a five-year-old girl cry inconsolably, you have quite possibly permanently destroyed her faith in humanity. She no longer believes it safe to display her beloved rocks in front of her home, because people are terrible and steal little girls' rocks. Also, have you any idea how much work it is to replace a Snorlax rock?

The Japanese believe that everything has within it kami, a spiritual essence, the energy generating the thing. Kami is present in all things under the sun: trees, rocks, animals, and places.

The first step to creating a Snorlax rock is to find a rock that's big enough, and which passes the stand test (will it keel over on its own, or on a windy day?) Really look at the rock; feel its essence. Turn its weight over in your hands. Note its imperfections and decide if they are unacceptab…
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Pt = Patient

Doctors and nurses become patients, too. Being a patient usually involves nonspecific symptoms of pain, fever, or nausea as well as more specific symptoms, hopefully not exophthalmos (eyes bulging from their sockets). It also requires being patient, literally, because primary care doctors are overbooked and urgent care can be standing-room-only. ER is a whole different purgatory, and the lines at CVS remniscient of the DMV.

The good thing about being a patient who has her medical-surgical book in her bag is she doesn't have to strip and make the doctor play hide-and-go-seek-symptoms in every nook and cranny. Relevant symptoms are quickly reported: which lymph nodes are painful and swollen, like a string of pearls beneath the skin; what temperature fever; location, quality and duration of any pain. The necessity of diagnostic tests are discussed briefly, and then it's off to queue at Quest Diagnostics.
The bad thing about having received a partial nursing education is getting o…

老人 Z = Old Man Z (1991 Anime)

Memory is a funny thing--sometimes a powerful image is printed indelibly in one's mind (e.g. a scene from an anime), and some twenty-five years later one discovers that the mind had concocted the scene on its own.

I must have been somewhere between the tender ages of ten and twelve when I first watched Old Man Z* with some kids in a tatami-covered room at a friend's family property complete with forest, a cool creek we rafted across, brassiere factory, and living quarters (we didn't think too hard about it back then, but in retrospect, that family was loaded!)

I remember little of the film besides being struck to the core by the image of a young woman pleading with an old man as he towered over her in a robotic machine, his metal parts and wired tentacles waving. The image seemed to symbolize a young girl vs. the machine of patriarchy, as well as human mortality, the immortality and inhumanity of technology, etc.

Haruko is a nursing student who cares for old man Z, who in …

ILASIK = Intralase Laser Assisted in-Situ Keratomileusis

Most people know LASIK as getting one's myopic eyes zapped by a laser and waking up the next morning with 20/20 vision. That is mostly accurate. A newer version, iLASIK, sounds like a bad, Taiwanese, advertisement: "I LASIK. How about you?"
I've wanted to get LASIK for over ten years, but worried about long term effects and The Flap. A laser or microkeratome cuts a circular flap in a subject's cornea in order to modify the tissue underneath. Articles online warn readers about "dislodging the flap." If one loses one's contacts on the taekwondo mat, fine, pick them up, toss them, whatever. If one loses one's cornea flaps...

The good news is all-laser LASIK, as opposed to LASIK that uses a blade, is far less likely to be associated with flap complications. (If trauma occurs, keep the tissue moist and get thee to an eye surgeon, stat). Guess it's a good thing my violin student talked me out of the older LASIK way back when in Taiwan.

In 1995, PR…

LOC = Level of Consciousness

Tibetan Buddhists see the dream as the middle world between life and death, and our waking lives flickering shadows in Plato's cave (to mix our philosophies). The aboriginal Senoi of West Malaysia actively practiced lucid dreaming; their dream control and utilization mostly freed them from mental illness and violence. For those interested, below's a quick and dirty manual for lucid dreaming.
A simplified architecture of dreaming uses the model of The Tibetan Book of the Dead:
I. Chikhai Bardo: complete transcendence--beyond words, space-time, self--non-rapid-eye-movement descent into deep slumber.
II. Chonvid Bardo: the self, or external game reality, in the form of dream visions.
III. Sidpa Bardo: the return to consciousness through awakening.

I. During the first period, observation and self-remembering increase the likelihood of a lucid dream. Using critical thinking and observation, make a habit of noticing when things simply don't make sense. As you drift off to sleep,…

Week 17. HS = Hour of Sleep

HS, hour of sleep, aka bedtime--a beautiful word to hardworking, sleep-deprived people all around the world. The primary function of sleep is unclear, though it clearly contributes to physiological and psychological restoration. Humans spend a full third of their lives in slumber.

Circadian rhythms regulated by sleep are cyclical, as are sleep cycles. Rapid-eye-movement periods bring the most vivid and curious dreams, including lucid ones. If one recognizes a discrepancy or missing logic in one's surroundings and realizes this is a dream, one becomes suddenly lucid, holding the potential to control an entire dream world, along with the people in it.

When sleep goes wrong, insomnias (difficulty sleeping), hypersomnias (e.g. narcolepsy), and parasomnias (e.g. sleepwalking) occur.

A sedative at a low dose becomes a hypnotic at high dose. Sometimes a paradoxical response occurs; instead of feeling sedated, one develops insomnia, euphoria, anxiety, or rage.

Benzos: Diazepam, Lorazepam,…

Week 16. LPAT = Leveled Physical Assessment Tool

Approach a patient during the head-to-toe physical assessment with no preconceptions, no assumptions, no judgement. Also, with kindness, patience, and respect.
Please allow me to take your temperature, pulse, respiration, blood pressure, and O2 saturation. What is your pain level on a scale of 0-10? How did you sleep last night?

What is your full name? Do you know where you are and what brought you here? What time/day is it?
If you don't mind, I will check your head for lumps and bumps and run gloved fingers through your hair. I see your eyebrows, nice lashes, the whites of your eyes a bit bloodshot. My, what big eyes you have. Do you wear contacts or need glasses? Can you hear this? How about this? Sniff for me through one nostril, then the other. Thank you. Please open up wide so I can see your tongue, mucous membranes, and teeth/dentures. Swallow for me. Say something. Okay, no aphasia, but I'm going to pretend you didn't just say that.
You're breathing a little har…