See, she hadn't left her apartment for two years because the 90-year-old tenant downstairs was keeping her a prisoner there. By stationing elephants in the hallway outside.
And now they had gotten into her esophagus. "I can feel elephants in there," she said, pointing to her chest.
So we admitted her to the hospital. After all, elephants in the esophagus could be serious. And indeed, it was: the patient turned out to be having a heart attack.
I've been reading frostokovich's collection of short stories, Attack of the Jazz Giants and Other Stories. Greg teaches writing. In his commentary on the story, "Collecting Dust," Greg says that he tells his students that one difference between realistic fiction and speculative fiction is that in the latter, metaphors can be presented as reality. For example, if the writer's theme is the American suburban family disintegrating, a spec-fic writer can show it literally disintegrating. (In Greg's story, the parents literally turn into dust, which one of their kids collects and keeps in jars.)
Medical students are taught that patients with an acute heart attack often describe their chest pain as 'an elephant sitting on my chest'. To this patient (probably a schizophrenic), that metaphor was real: there really were elephants inside her chest. She was living in a spec-fic world. Nonetheless, that world still has heart attacks in it, whether the elephants are real or metaphorical.
Scary, ain't it?
meaning: clumsy, poor
巧拙 == kousetsu == (noun) tact, skill, workmanship
Left radical is one of the many radical forms of 'hand'. Right radical is 'emerge/put out' (出), which here acts phonetically to express 'clumsy'. Henshall suggests as a mnemonic: 'Put out a clumsy hand.'