the original kStyle blog.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Knowing too Much (but not Enough)

A couple months ago, at some family gathering or another, I noticed that my grandfather’s nose was purple at the bottom. In Chinese medicine, this is a sign of heart problems. Grandpa has a proud history of heart disease, including hypertension and several heart attacks. I pulled my mom aside and told her about the nose. She, in turn, pulled him aside and asked how he was feeling in regards to cardiovascular health. She knew he had an appointment with the cardiologist the next day and encouraged him to share any problems. Grandpa had been feeling poor—palpitations or irregular heartbeat or something—but oh, did he refuse to tell his doctor.

He just had a massive heart attack and will likely be getting a pacemaker now.

In the fall, I met someone who looked pale and had sores on either side of his mouth. Right away I thought, He has stomach problems. In the course of our conversation, he mentioned that he has stomach cancer.

A friend of mine has pale lips with lots of vertical lines running through them. It seems rude to say, excuse me, I think you might have some spleen dampness, resulting in poor digestion and, sometimes, cloudy thinking…


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