Skip to main content

2.15. SOB = shortness of breath

We all have a little, upside-down tree in our chests--the bronchial tree. It holds between its branches a pulsating heart, and delivers to it fresh, oxygenated blood to supply the rest of the body. It provides oxygen not through photosynthesis, but rather, gas exchange.
In assessing a patient with breathing difficulty, a simple visual scale of a singular, horizontal line is used: indicate the severity of your symptoms on a scale of "no shortness of breath" to "shortness of breath as bad as can be."

Bronchial sounds, auscultated over the trachea or primary bronchi, have a harsh, hollow, blowing sound. Vesicular sounds, heard with a stethoscope over peripheral lung fields, rustle like the wind in the trees. Abnormal sounds range from fine crackles, like hair rolled between fingers near the ear; rales ("velcro" sounds); squeaky, "musical" wheezing; rhonchi (low, coarse, snoring); to pleural friction rub (scratching sounds). These may indicate atelectasis (partial/complete collapse of lung), pneumonia, bronchitis, tuberculosis, lung cancer, pulmonary infarction, or other issues.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD, is the fourth leading cause of morbidity (illness) and mortality (death) in the U.S. COPD patients are known for their barrel chests that are sometimes longer front-to-back than left-to-right. They are generalized into two archetypes, pink puffers (emphysema) and blue bloaters (chronic bronchitis), though one can be both. A patient who struggles to breathe may sit in a forward-bending posture known as the orthopneic or tripod position. Much like the cat pose in yoga, the domed back accommodates hardworking lungs.

A whole menagerie of additional yoga moves are good for stretching the chest and stimulating the lungs: cow pose, cobra pose, half frog, king pigeon, upward dog, and locust (okay, that one's a crazed insect). Diaphragmatic or abdominal breathing and breathing through pursed lips also help with shortness of breath.

One can live awhile without food and water, but within minutes of oxygen deprivation brain cells begin to die, followed by other systems. In this way, the bronchial tree is quite literally the tree of life, one that can be immortalized posthumously through injection with silicone in all the colors of the rainbow.


Popular posts from this blog

3.2. ABO = blood type

In parts of Asia, people don't just consult the zodiac, star signs, and the eight numbers of one's birth (八字). There's an entire culture of personality decoding based on blood type. It all started in 1927 when Takeji Furukawa, a professor at Tokyo Women’s Teacher’s School, shared his research connecting personality traits with blood type. Since then, friends and romantic interests ask if one's A, B, AB, or O, and in Japan, people reportedly get discriminated against at school and work based on their blood type.

Correlation of personality with one's A, B, AB, or O blood has not been supported by many credible studies, but some people take this very seriously. If you know your blood type (and you really should), see if the traits below sound about right.

A: Contrary to the Western concept of a "type A personality," people with type A blood (and antigens) can take a long time doing something when they're not motivated, or finish the same task in a jiffy …

3.10. Crisis = time-limited, disruptive, challenge

Are you in a crisis? According to Erik Erikson, we all are. Erikson divides psychosocial development into eight stages. Each period comes with its own "crisis," which once resolved, yields an appropriate "virtue."

0-1.5 years: Baby learns to trust, or mistrust the world. The former yields hope; the latter does not. Seems like many of us are still working on this one.
1.5-3 years: Toddler's crisis (or rather, Toddler's parents' crisis) involves a battle between autonomy v. shame & doubt. Making it through this stage confirms the child's (free) will. No, _____, this does not mean you always get your way.
3-5 years: The Preschooler may struggle with initiative v. guilt, but "purpose" emerges as a way to make sense of it all (hence the Why? why? Whyyyyyyy? WHHHYYY?s). A little bit of guilt here and there is fine for the developing ego and superego.
5-12 years: The School-age Child feels anxious about industry v. inferiority, ideally striv…

TKD = taekwondo

We interrupt our regular programming of blood, guts and babies to talk about taekwondo, a traditional Korean martial arts form.

Tae = kick/strike with the foot.
The foot as a blade, as hammer, as hook, the blow that knocks someone out, a broom sweeping the enemy down, pushing an intruder to the ground.

Kwon = punch/strike with the hands.
The hands, fist or palm, can be knives, blocks for poles, a punch to the solar plexus, bladed support when one rolls or falls, or a friendly hand to help a competitor back up from the mat.

Do = the art, the way of life.
Like any relationship, one's journey in martial arts has ups and downs. There's a honeymoon period, initial excitement--passion or obsession, even. That may not last, but commitment does. There are milestones but also little bumps, minor or major injuries. Things get in the way of training, but some amazing people also support one along the way. Sometimes one learns to find fun in dressing in full storm-trooper sparring gear on a …