Monday, July 30, 2007

When death comes calling, so does Oscar the cat

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island (AP) -- 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 the patient has less than four hours to live."He doesn't make too many mistakes. He seems to understand when patients are about to die," Dr. David Dosa said 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 advance 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."

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Quality vs Quantity?

Basically this is what Malaysia is all about. It's always about paying extra for some cheapskate stuff or marrying three or four wives or having too many kids and recently, competing to see how many subjects a single candidate can sit for in SPM. I mean what's the whole point of this? To prove that, hey, I have more so I'm better than you? Crap.What I really don't have a slight tinge of idea of is why do some people chose to have an abnormally higher number of offsprings especially those who are financially contrained?

Seriously, they would have realised by then that their life isn't actually what you call a luxury. Or do they oftenly get frissons and think, "Hey! Let's go make more babies because I just feel like it now!" Or could it be that maybe they can't afford any other sort of entertainment other than sex? And when they have sex did they choose not to wear a condom because it's not "syok" or condoms are not available in their local shops. It can't be that they can't afford to buy them because they don't really cost much.Perhaps it might be the misconception that some people have that with more children they'll have more financial support as it is multiplied by the number of children they have. But does having so many children produce the desired quality?

No, I don't think so. And why create so many individual life-forms to grow up surrounded by poverty? Does it really do any good? I mean yeah, of course they deserve every right to bear a child or two, but if you can't make it in life successfully then don't even try to be responsible of another's life. Imagine the social pressure that would impinge upon the children's daily life. Sigh.And of course, the latest trend. Registering for as many SPM subjects as possible. Last year, it was that girl who got 17A1s and this year I heard it was another girl with 19A1s. So what next? 20A1s? It is a rather confounding matter to me.

What's the point of taking every single available subject when later in life you can only choose to concentrate on one field? Does taking so many subjects prove anything other than that you're just like the typical Malaysian who thinks that quantity matter over quality? And imagine all those time wasted studying all those extra subjects which you won't ever need later in life. Those time could have been spent on much more productively on things that would actually help in the future.However, decisions on taking more than the usual number of subjects may be influenced by our education system. In primary and secondary schools, there are no two ways to be the top student. All you have to do is to "swallow" as many textbooks as you can. That's all there is to it. BUT that is only during primary and secondary school years. The real challenge is when you step up into colleges/universities and later on into work life. It is a whole new different ball game and swallowing textbooks would not work as well as they did in primary and secondary education.Honestly, in my opinion, taking as many as 19 subjects will not be revelant in life. The only thing that can be deduced from the number of As is how hardworking you are or maybe the ability of your brain power. The number of As you get in SPM does not necessarily determine your future. Your personal attitude and your ability to learn new things is what that counts.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The so called hottest book of the year, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is going for RM69.90 in Tesco stores, cheaper by RM40 as compared to the big bookshops around the country.

Managed to grab one of them, and that's exactly how I'm going to spend the weekend...


Friday, July 20, 2007

Rotary of Pantai Valley's Installation Dinner

Quote of the event: "Trying to tie a ribbon for my dress is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life!"

Went and attended the Rotary of Pantai Valley's Installation Dinner last Saturday, and it was held at the Sime Darby Convention Centre (note: before you all ask where is the place, it's near KLGCC :P). Had to pick up Mei and Shal before heading over to the venue, and guess what! I figured that Mei would take ages to make-up, and at 6pm I was still waiting for her to get ready, and after that right to Shal at Mid Valley. Incidentally, Shal got a L'occitane promotion leaflet and mind you, L'occitane beats Body Shop's products any time. Edward, u might want to change from Body Shop products to L'occitane products...tsk tsk tsk XD.

The food was great, judging from Mei, David, Jon, James and a few others (including me) were eating like a bunch of convicts who had just been released after spending like 10-20 years inside there. Aha. Honestly, the whole event, if not for the food and Raqib's performance of Goo Goo Dolls - Sympathy, I would have knocked myself on the wall to escape from the karaoke sessions...

p/s: The pics were rompak-ed from Mei, forgot to bring camera that night.

Some of the Board of Directors for the Rotaract Club of Taylor's Business School

Seriously, I bet that these two takes more picture in a month than a wedding studio does!

Wonder what they were all watching on their mobile phone...? Naughty naughty. XD

Migration from Multiply

Eheh, and so the migration from Multiply to Blogspot is happening right now due to Mei's biatching preaching about how much better Blogspot is as compared to the Multiply site.

Stay tuned for more updates. XD.