Just found out a friend of mine is HIV Positive. I am being tested for Hashimoto's Disease on Tuesday, and while typing this, my father rang to say he has prostate cancer.
But for some reason, I feel quite positive right now. Face the enemy.
Oscar the cat predicts patients' deaths
By RAY HENRY, Associated Press Writer 50 minutes ago
Oscar the cat seems to have an uncanny knack for predicting when nursing home patients are going to die, by curling up next to them during their final hours. His accuracy, observed in 25 cases, has led the staff to call family members once he has chosen someone. It usually means they have less than four hours to live.
"He doesn't make too many mistakes. He seems to understand when patients are about to die," said Dr. David Dosa in an interview. He describes the phenomenon in a poignant essay in Thursday's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
"Many family members take some solace from it. They appreciate the companionship that the cat provides for their dying loved one," said Dosa, a geriatrician and assistant professor of medicine at Brown University.
The 2-year-old feline was adopted as a kitten and grew up in a third-floor dementia unit at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. The facility treats people with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease and other illnesses.
After about six months, the staff noticed Oscar would make his own rounds, just like the doctors and nurses. He'd sniff and observe patients, then sit beside people who would wind up dying in a few hours.
Dosa said Oscar seems to take his work seriously and is generally aloof. "This is not a cat that's friendly to people," he said.
Oscar is better at predicting death than the people who work there, said Dr. Joan Teno of Brown University, who treats patients at the nursing home and is an expert on care for the terminally ill
She was convinced of Oscar's talent when he made his 13th correct call. While observing one patient, Teno said she noticed the woman wasn't eating, was breathing with difficulty and that her legs had a bluish tinge, signs that often mean death is near.
Oscar wouldn't stay inside the room though, so Teno thought his streak was broken. Instead, it turned out the doctor's prediction was roughly 10 hours too early. Sure enough, during the patient's final two hours, nurses told Teno that Oscar joined the woman at her bedside.
Doctors say most of the people who get a visit from the sweet-faced, gray-and-white cat are so ill they probably don't know he's there, so patients aren't aware he's a harbinger of death. Most families are grateful for the advanced warning, although one wanted Oscar out of the room while a family member died. When Oscar is put outside, he paces and meows his displeasure.
No one's certain if Oscar's behavior is scientifically significant or points to a cause. Teno wonders if the cat notices telltale scents or reads something into the behavior of the nurses who raised him.
Nicholas Dodman, who directs an animal behavioral clinic at the Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and has read Dosa's article, said the only way to know is to carefully document how Oscar divides his time between the living and dying.
If Oscar really is a furry grim reaper, it's also possible his behavior could be driven by self-centered pleasures like a heated blanket placed on a dying person, Dodman said.
Nursing home staffers aren't concerned with explaining Oscar, so long as he gives families a better chance at saying goodbye to the dying.
Oscar recently received a wall plaque publicly commending his "compassionate hospice care."
Science writer Alicia Chang in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
Every day on this earth is a torment.
No fairytale ending for twin fighting bulls
34 minutes ago
There was no fairy tale ending for rare twin bulls who were killed on Thursday in the Madrid ring.
Neither performed well enough to provoke a performance from bullfighters Javier Castano and Sanchez Vara that could have allowed either or both the bulls to be reprieved.
"Carlitos" and "Paquito", two half-tonne red bulls from the legendary 150-year-old Portuguese ranch of Palha, were born from the same mother in December 2002.
It is extremely rare for twins to be born on ranches producing fighting bulls and therefore very unlikely they would appear in the same bullfight.
The bulls appeared as part of the Spanish capital's month-long San Isidro bullfighting cycle.
"Carlitos", the bigger brother at 545 kilos, proved to be the better of the twins and was applauded by the crowd as he was dragged from the ring dead.
"I don't think Madrid has seen a similar case," said Palha owner Joao Folque de Mendoca. "My ranch had never seen such a thing."
During their four years on the ranch, the two did not fight each other, a common occurrence between fighting bulls, but stuck together.
Bulls that are reprieved usually recover from their wounds to become seed bulls, living a long and fruitful life on the ranch.
Ever since we moved into our new house in February, I've been trying to give it a name. Haven't thought of anything I've cared for yet, but I'd better soon because I need to order my calling cards.
There is a marvelous tree out front whose branches cover and shade our pergola. There are also little upshoots of it in the back garden. I don't know what it is, however. Gets these white longish blooms on it which smell like honeysuckle. Perhaps its name could be utilized in naming the estate.
And, no- not Hornem Hall.
Having just watched a telly programme last evening about Hitler and the Occult- mainly about how he was forming a new religion- this seems apt.
Question: why is it alright to disagree with and debate against the living, but as soon as someone is dead we are to 'respect' them, which usually means in the mouths of the offended, 'don't ever disagree with anything they said ever again?'
Bravo, apperception! Bravo. Was just thinking about you the other evening during a heady discussion about philosophy and quantum physics.
My gifted predecessor has warned you against the "social evil--adultery." In his able paper he exhausted that subject; he left absolutely nothing more to be said on it. But I will continue his good work in the cause of morality by cautioning you against that species of recreation called self-abuse to which I perceive you are much addicted. All great writers on health and morals, both ancient and modern, have struggled with this stately subject; this shows its dignity and importance. Some of these writers have taken one side, some the other.