Thursday, July 30, 2009

Summer Heat & Violence

My dad's been at jury duty for the past week and he comes home every day now with stories and questions about certain English words he couldn't quite catch. Poor daddy. He said there was a case about domestic abuse and the man had hit a woman or something so words like "open hand", "closed hand" were being thrown around. Except he didn't know what "open fist" meant. He sat there, wondering and wondering if "fist" was a weird past tense form of "hit" or if it meant another attack type - like "open feet". So he turned to the people next to him and asked, pointing at his feet, "What does open feet mean?"

They laughed. And then pumped their fists in a gung ho, yes indeed way. "Open fist! Open fist!"

"Uh ... huh." He was still puzzled until he came home and I explained in Chinese, "They meant fist, as in a clenched hand, dad. Not feet."

"Ohhh!" Haha, he's so cute.

Other stories included all sorts of crazy violence. Crazy, as in things that could've easily been avoided had everyone maintained their tempers. For example, a simple car accident that could've been settled by insurance exchange turned into assault because one driver punched the other driver out after they called the cops. Really not smart.

Maybe it's the summer heat that has people simmering out of control.

Two summers ago, I had the misfortune to bump into one certain ... firecracker.

I was walking in a quiet neighborhood, peering around at the door numbers because I wasn't familiar with the area and needed to find an apartment building. I paid home visits during that summer to homebound senior citizens that receive Meals on Wheels in order to complete their assessment forms, check their medications, evaluate their support group, and see if they're feeling alright.

So just as I was heading down the block, holding my files and glancing up at the buildings, a guy coming toward me bumps into me.

Not just a simple oops, brush against you kinda thing - he ran into me, barreled against me so I stumbled half a step back and his folder scraped against my wrist - I think he was hoping to cut me or something.

I was mildly taken back and expected a mumbled apology, but when he just walked past me, I just shrugged it off as another rude New Yorker and continued my way.

Except a few seconds later, probably just when he realized that I wasn't going to turn around and pick a fight with him, I heard him snap, "You could've given me more room, selfish bitch!"

Uh ... I turned around and he was glaring at me, fists at his side. Now that I could see him more clearly, he was a scrawny guy - taller than me, sorta pasty, but seemed like a normal college kid around my age, maybe older. He had a black beanie hat on (in summer??) and he was holding a red folder.

All I could manage after blinking at him for a few seconds, "Excuse me?"

"You could've given me more room!"

I realized he was offended that I didn't make way for him to go past me so I got pissed off. Hell, you tried to walk into a girl, I didn't even ask for an apology, and now you're calling me names?

"Uh, why didn't you give me more room then?" I retorted.

I realized then that I should've ignored him. He obviously wanted a fight and he threw up his hands as he snarled, "There's a bicycle rack next to you! You want me to walk into the bike rack?!"

So then I thought okay, perhaps it was my fault - I wasn't really paying attention to the surroundings - I was looking for the door numbers so maybe I was hogging up a lot more space than I thought ... but the streets, by all means, were not crowded. There was a quiet restaurant where they had a sidewalk cafe and where the bike rack was located next to my left and we were the only two on the block. If he was coming toward me, could see me and the bicycle rack clearly, why did he choose to walk along the side of the bike rack and try to jostle me out of the way instead of walking to my right, which was next to the open road, where he could've easily swerved around me with plenty of room to spare?

Or, if I had really been holding a sumo stance in the center of the street and he honestly couldn't have gotten past me without touching me ... he could've just been normal and said "Excuse me." Or if he wanted to continue to be his nasty self, say "Excuse you." I would've moved, probably even offer an automatic "Sorry."

I just stared at him and I was so disgusted by this guy (was chivalry absolutely dead??) that I could feel my lips curling in revulsion.

He was pale and angry and was waiting for a response and I realized something was definitely wrong here and I was not about to get into a brawl with a potentially mental guy - even if he was around my size - I'm a girl, but more importantly, I'm a weakling girl and have no wish to be punched out by some random lunatic spoiling to pick on someone.

So what I did was ... yeahh, I didn't think things carefully, so basically, I looked him in the face, told him to "F*** off" and then backed up slowly and walked away, hoping he wouldn't leap and knife me in the back.

It was probably a stupid move and my mom told me I should've ran away instead of provoking nuts like that because if I had managed to tick him off enough, I probably would've ended up as a meat patty, but I don't think too carefully when you get me particularly, extremely angry ... besides, call me petty, but I didn't want it to seem like he got the last word.

Except he still kinda wanted things to end his way because even as I strolled away from him, he was still yelling and screaming at me, "Bitch! Stupid! Meanie! BLAHBLAHBLAH!"

Honestly? How old are you?

Fortunately, I think the only thing that saved me from getting tackled to the ground by him was the fact that several waiters from the restaurant came out to watch the spectacle since it's not everyday that some lunatic starts screaming in the middle of the street at a twig-sized girl.

Perhaps heat waves does things to people's brains. Perhaps he was once a regular student who loved Magic cards, WoW and yodeling and just had a bad day, absorbed too much sun and blew up.

Perhaps he realized that his black beanie hat didn't help him cool off much.

Or perhaps he was just a jackass.

So have a fun summer, guys, but more importantly, steer clear of pasty, angry people. They're not your friends and should it come to the point where you have to kick them, run like the wind.

Writing Status: 15 pages for the next chapter of TM, but I don't ... feel it's right so far. Something about it doesn't jive with me. Sorry, everybody - I'll try to polish it up and get it out soon.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Dolphins & Seizures

Last Neuro session today! I wanted to cry after my practical on Monday, but I got my grade yesterday and found out I did better than I expected so yay! Today was our review session and then we have our class final on Friday. Almost over. So close. We just have one more miniboard exam next Friday after that.

Thanks for all the reviews and messages, guys. Hopefully, I'll get around to writing more sometime soon.

Random interesting tidbits from recent lectures:

  • Dolphins sleep with one eye open. They're mammals so they have a little problem of making sure that they can come up to the surface for air at intervals. Solution for when they need to rest? Half of the brain goes to sleep while the other hemisphere keeps the dolphin moving and alert in case of predators nearby. Smart evolution. I wish I could multitask like that.

    I see you.
  • Seizure. So thud, there's someone convulsing on the floor near you. What do you do? (Call 911, duh.) But in spite of the commonly perpetuated idea that you should find something to stick into the patient's mouth during seizure to prevent him from biting his tongue ... don't do it. Don't. People, thinking to help, usually either A) lose a finger trying to jam something down a clenching jaw (don't underestimate those muscle spasms, folks) or B) the patient bites through the object and ends up aspirating the broken pieces. A bitten tongue can generally heal. A patient who chokes to death won't.
And my professor remarked dryly, "People also somehow think the patient will swallow his tongue if you don't stick something in his mouth. Last time I checked though ... the tongue is attached." So no, rest assured, a patient won't swallow and choke on his own tongue.

Also, don't try to restrain the patient since that usually does more harm than good. Do try to ease their breathing by rolling them to their side and cushioning their head with something soft. Patients with seizures or epilepsy generally come out of the attacks by themselves and in mild cases, won't even need to go to the hospital. However, if the seizure lasts more than 5 minutes, there's serious potential for brain damage and the patient should definitely be sent to the hospital to be checked out.

That's all for now, folks. Off to cram! :(

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I Miss Rusty the Narcoleptic Dog

We had lectures from 10 to 5 today. Well, we had an hour long break for lunch around noon, but still, it was no joke. Half of the class didn't show up for the second half.

It was all about developmental neurology today. Nervous system development lecture was pretty interesting with an awesome visiting professor - she's of Indian descent and her gorgeous sari plus her humorous kickass personality made her a top fav. A student asked her at the end how she managed to balance her work with her family and she just replied, "Spell man for me. Now woman. Double u oh man, right? Oh yeah, we can totally handle double the work of a man."

Then we had a pain mechanisms and management lecture that was just ... painful. Not that the lecturer wasn't cool and funny. He was a great guy, but the lecture just went on and on and we ended up going over time by half an hour. The professor even had to excuse himself halfway in his lecture to ask where the bathroom was. He hurried off with a "I'll be back soon!" before returning to finish up. By the time 5:30 rolled around, we were slouched low in our seats and I was scribbling on my fourth crossword a friend had saved from yesterday's newspaper since the two newest ones had occupied me earlier in the morning.

I miss earlier lectures like the ones on hypothalamus. Narcolepsy, ooh.

The professor had showed us a clip about Rusty the Narcoleptic Dog and it's awful, we know, but the whole class just fell apart when he played it.

"Here frolics Rusty," the professor narrated. "Playing happily in the grass. And off he goes! He runs and runs and runs - and then boom."

Poor Rusty!

But we couldn't help it. We laughed.

And begged the professor to play it again.

He refused. "Last year when I played it, the class begged me to replay it too. Again! Again! No more. No replaying."

Rusty's adorable and while not all cases of narcolepsy are so abrupt and dramatic, poor Rusty's a prime case of the chronic sleep disorder in animals.

During the lecture, I wondered if I might have narcolepsy. Especially during long classes sometimes. Like today. Then I remembered that I also have insomnia at night. Hmmm, tricky.