Posted in History & Literature

Knock

The following is the world’s shortest horror story.

The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock on the door.

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Posted in Life & Happiness

Regret

If today was the last day of your life, what would you regret? You might know for certain that it will not be something like money or fame, but if you cannot think of a specific answer, it might be worth taking a look at the enlightenment other people reached at the moment of their death. Human beings show the greatest insight about life at the door of death. The following are the most common regrets collected by a palliative care nurse called Bronnie Ware.

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me: The most common regret is ending your life without achieving the countless number of dreams and goals you had. If there is a dream you can achieve today, do not leave it to tomorrow. That way you can achieve even more dreams in the future.
  2. I wish I didn’t work so hard: Just like how the idiom “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” says, you can never achieve happiness if all you do is work to earn money. Perhaps the ant was wrong and the grasshopper was right.
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings: Many people suppress their emotions to get along with other people. But if you push down your feelings and repress them, they will ultimately take a toll on your mind and body. If someone is making you angry, be angry at them (but not all the time obviously). If someone captivates your heart, tell them that you love them. If you have a problem, speak up.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends: The busier life gets, the less you keep in contact with your friends. But having a friend to hold your hand and give you words of reassurance at your final moment is a much more successful life than earning a fortune.
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier: Too many people are misled into thinking that happiness is not a choice. Whatever the situation, happiness depends on your perception of the world. If you are unhappy, that is a sign that you should change something in your life. There is no one on the face of the Earth that does not deserve happiness. Whatever others may say, live everyday as blissfully as you can.

Remember. A successful life is one full of happiness and without regrets.

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Posted in Psychology & Medicine

Hypothermia

A person’s body temperature is always maintained between 36.5~37.5°C. This is because enzymes, which are crucial in all physiological reactions in the body, work most efficiently at this temperature. As physiology is essentially a series of chemical reactions, it is heavily dependent on temperature. If the temperature falls, chemical reactions occur slower and vice versa. When body temperature falls below 35°C, metabolism becomes too slow and it poses a risk to the person’s health. This is known as hypothermia.

How does hypothermia affect the body? Hypothermia is categorised into three classes depending on the severity.

  • Mild hypothermia (32~35°C) leads to the slowing of bodily functions, tremors and difficulty in walking. The patient’s speech is impeded and other neurological symptoms such as decreased judgement skills and confusion start to appear. Also, blood pressure, pulse and breathing rate rise.
  • Moderate hypothermia (28~32°C) causes paralysis of muscles and extreme fatigue (they may complain of being sleepy). As blood (carrying heat) is rerouted to major organs, the skin (especially lips and extremities) become white or purple and very cold. Neurological symptoms worsen with amnesia, memory loss, severe confusion and delusion beginning to show. As sustained hypothermia leads to the tremors stopping, one should not take the lack of tremors as a good sign. Heart rate becomes irregular and arrhythmia may occur.
  • Severe hypothermia (20~28°C) leads to chemical reactions becoming so slowed that physiological functions that support life decline dramatically. Heart rate, blood pressure and breathing all lower to dangerous levels and the heart and lungs may stop functioning. As the patient’s major organs begin to shut down, they enter a state of unconsciousness and eventually, clinical death.

As you can see, hypothermia is a highly dangerous situation that can kill. There are some other fascinating facts about hypothermia.

20~50% of hypothermia death cases are associated with paradoxical undressing. This is a strange phenomenon where the person begins to take off their clothes due to confusion and a lack of judgement from the hypothermia. One theory suggests it is related to the cold damaging the hypothalamus (which controls body temperature), causing the brain to think that the body temperature is rising. Whatever the reason, it is extremely dangerous as it worsens the hypothermia.

As explained above, severe hypothermia leads to death. But interestingly, hypothermia also protects organs. This is why organs for transplanting are transported in ice. Similarly, there are examples of people who “died” from hypothermia recovering with no brain damage. Because of this, medical professionals traditionally say: “they’re not dead until they’re warm and dead”. In fact, if there is something wrong with the patient’s circulation and there is risk of damage to their organs (such as in surgery), sometimes the patient’s body temperature is forced down with ice water injections and cooling blankets, known as protective hypothermia.

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