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Showing posts from May, 2018

Matrescence = a woman's transition into parenthood

The term, "matrescence," coined by anthropologist Dana Raphael in the 1970s, describes the process of becoming a mother, just as adolescence indicates one's passage into adulthood. Incidentally, a woman's breasts are not fully developed until pregnancy (I'll take my not-fully-developed ones backanytime).

Of course, there's "patrescence" as well, and there are stages the expectant father and new father go through, such as announcement, moratorium, focusing, engrossment, etc., but that is simply not the same as having your body stretched out, all systems taxed for 9-10 months, several hours to days of labor, having your vagina ripped open (sometimes all the way to the anus, in a fourth degree tear), and after all that maybe still having your belly sliced open like a watermelon in an emergency C section that leaves you debilitated for days, though that in no way excuses you from taking care of the baby 24-7.
The baby is waiting for you to be a full tim…

Fallophobia = fear of falling

Not all people like heights. The fear of falling is possibly related to fear of unknown depths. There's a risk of drowning, getting lost, flailing, crashing into a hundred pieces. Few of us would voluntarily walk off a plank, whether it's in a water park, on a pirate ship, or at the precipice of a major life decision that changes everything.

For the elderly, the concern of falling is real, and practical. Many medical charts of old folks at skilled nursing facilities begin with, "admit date: [ten years ago]; reason for admission: patient fell at home." All it takes is loss of balance, not landing right, and not being to get up, not being able to reach a phone. It's okay to fall, but only so long as there's people to help one get up, and proper care for fractures to heal.

Bones, like hearts, can be broken every which way. A greenstick fracture, a break on just one side, usually happens in children because their bones are resilient enough to only half-break. Whi…

2.18. PNA = pneumonia

Pneumonia, like jam, comes in many flavors--all of them bad. Mucus coughed up can be creamy yellow (Staphylococcal pneumonia), green (Pseudomonas), rusty (Pneumococcal), currant jelly (Klebsiella), or pink and frothy (not just pneumonia, but pulmonary edema.) A sputum culture can be done to identify the offending organism.

One can get this infection of the lungs out in the world (community-acquired pneumonia) or from a hospital (nosocomial pneumonia). There's also "walking pneumonia" (Mycoplasma pneumoniae), and ventilator-acquired or aspiration pneumonia.
That doesn't mean one must pick one of these poisons. Flu shots are better than nothing (pneumonia often follows a flu), and anyone older than 65 without contraindications might consider the pneumococcal vaccine (sepsis from S. pneumoniae was the main thing that did my mom in at the age of 63--maybe they should lower the recommended age).

Patients present with fever, chills, flushed face, sweating, shortness of bre…

2.17. Sphincter of Oddi = a weird sphincter

Ampulla of Vater: not Luke's father. Rather, the exciting Y where two ducts converge in a yellow wood and move into the duodenum (small intestine, part I), never to be heard from again.

Angle of His: reads like a typo, possible religious reference, or place where cats hiss and snakes bite. Possible compliment re: his jawline, or the acute angle formed as his esophagus enters his stomach (so hot).

Circle of Willis: not going to say this out loud for fear of Freudian-mispronouncing it, when it's merely a circular arterial complex at the base of the brain.

Duct of Wirsung: this duck ain't flying nowhere, with wind or wing nor song, because it's the pancreatic duct.

Golgi apparatus: sounds Rube Goldbergian, and looks it--tiny, convoluted complexes in the cell involved in transport of protein, etc.

Islets of Langerhans: possible vacation spot (on a drug holiday!), aka part of the pancreas that produces the insulin that keeps most of us nondiabetic and also, alive.

Loop of Henle:

2.16. renal = everything kidney

If you live in Asia or are a recent immigrant, you've probably tasted a kidney. Boiled or red-cooked, grilled or stewed, a plump, animal kidney can be crunchy or tender depending on cooking method. A polycystic (human) kidney looks deep-fried and covered with bubbles, a gigantic shrimp cracker gone wrong.

Kidney and nephron structure & function are the stuff of nightmares for anatomy and physiology students everywhere. However, having to memorize what's permeable or not at which convoluted tubule or portion of loop of Henle limb, or having to also know all the medication actions at each of those parts, is nothing compared to having an actual issue with one's kidneys. If blood is the essence of life, kidneys are what keeps life pure and balanced enough to continue.

No larger than a computer mouse on each side, at just 0.5% of the entire body weight, the kidneys have to filter all of one's blood volume, about 150-180 L of blood each day, producing 1000-2000 ml of uri…