Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How Come My Head Does Not Feel Cold?

A middle-aged English teacher came in with her nose running like clear water; she was also coughing and told me she had a cold. I asked her, “You are doing well, how come you caught a cold?” She replied, “I don’t know.” I paused awhile and continued to inquire: “Did you open the window while you slept?” She said, “Yes.” I asked, “Did the wind directly blow on you?” She replied, “Yes, but that is what I usually do.” I said, “Alright, but this time you probably pulled the blanket away when you felt warm. It turned cold later on, then the cold wind caught you.” She said, “Dr. Ng, I believe you, but what if I had not pushed away my blanket, could my head catch a cold then?” I answered, “Probably not.” She asked, “How come?” I laughed and said, “Good question! No wonder you are an English teacher. Very few people ask this question.” I hit the desk lightly like hitting a drum and said,

“Because the six yang meridians which gather on the head like a sun can create much heat for you.”

She laughed and coughed. I laughed and said, “This time you cough not because of cold, but because you are choking from laughing.” Suddenly this excellent teacher began to have a glimpse of TCM as I completed taking her pulse, which was tight and tended to float. I asked, “Do you feel chilly and have a fever?” She hesitated to reply. I explained, “Just tell me how you feel!” She said, “I just feel chilly.” I continued, “Does your mouth feel dry?” She said, “Yes.”

I pondered, “If this is so, the wind could be a hot wind. But if caught by a hot wind, then, the pulse and symptom are not consistent. Because the pulse is tight and the nose is running like water, it is a cold symptom, but then mouth should be dry. (Unless feeling dry, asking water, but not really want to drink, or only drink very little.)”

I pondered again, and asked, “Do you prefer hot or cold water?” She responded, “I drink hot water.” I asked her to let me see her tongue; it was pale and wet. I laughed again, and told her out loud, “Your mouth is feeling dry not because of wind heat.” She asked, “Why am I feeling dry then?” I said, “Because your nose is running like water, you are using up the fluid in your system. She laughed and laughed; her eyes were big, then got bigger and bigger. I continued, “I could have been cheated by your symptom.” I coughed a little, and I put my hand on my chest and said, “Now I cough because of stress from treating you. The cough arises from using much energy, and now my body struggles, and the struggle manifests as coughing.” She was amazed, “Oh, I see!”

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