Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky. (slithytove) wrote,
Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky.

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'Half in love with easeful death', my ass

TOE tags. Actually, one toe tag, one for 'personal effects', and one for the outside of the plastic shroud in which the body is wrapped for transport to the morgue or Medical Examiner's office. (Name and day of birth air-brushed out by me.) The labels are actually lab labels, printed out for each patient when they are registered as ER patients. They typically are put on tubes of blood going to the laboratory for tests. This lady had no tests, she arrived dead and stayed dead, so her nurse used the labels for her tags.

This was a 41 year old woman who died of asthma. She apparently became short of breath at home, and called 911 too late. By the time the medics arrived her breathing was about to stop. The medics did everything they could, but nothing helped. They brought her to the ER, where she arrived dead and stayed dead. Asthma is common. Asthma causing death in a young person is rare, although cases are increasing, as are cases of asthma in general. No one knows why.

Death is common. Hell, death is universal. We see a lot of death in the ER, but lately there has been a run of 'bad' deaths, deaths that you think really shouldn't have happened. When an 85-year-old who has been in declining health for years finally dies, it's sad, but understandable. But a 41-year-old dying suddenly is shocking.

Two mornings in the course of one week, a week or two ago, I got phone calls from the medics about dead babies. Crib deaths, 'Sudden Infant Death Syndrome'. Both had been well when put to bed around midnight, and dead when the parents found them around 6 in the morning. Both were very dead when they got to the ER. No chance of resuscitation. One infant even had rigor mortis.

Death is everywhere. It comes down every chimney, and over every transom. Death peeks at you from behind every tree and bush, it looks out at you from the eyes of children, it chirps at you in the voices of crickets at night. If you look closely, you can see it in the pattern of cracks in an old sidewalk and in the newly-fallen snow covering a winter landscape.

It's possible to forget it's there, for long periods of time, but always Death reasserts itself. Tiny moments of inattention will bring Death to your side, tugging at your elbow: a small error when driving; a child allowed to sleep on his stomach rather than his back; that little bit of chest heaviness that you don't want to bother your doctor about. All of a sudden, Death is there, dark and terrible, filling the room with his presence, driving out everything else.

yawa(ragu), nago(yaka)
meaning: peace, soft, Japan
和食 == washoku == Japanese food
平和 == heiwa == peace
Left radical is 'rice plant', right radical is 'mouth/say'. Henshall suggests as a mnemonic: 'Rice softened in the mouth in peaceful Japan'.


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