Thinking of Nhi Nguyen and Cam Thi To

Nhi Nguyen, 11, had just started at her first school in the United States. She didn’t speak English, but could understand everything, and she hated missing days when her mom and stepdad were arguing, according to a family friend.

Last weekend, her new life was cut short.

She was found shot to death, along with her 39-year-old mother, Cam Thi To, in their Northwest Albuquerque apartment Sunday.

Police believe To’s new husband, 45-year-old Trinh Tran Van, shot and killed them before killing himself.

Friends of the family and police say he had a history of abusing her.

To met Van while she was still living in Vietnam and he lived in the U.S. She wanted a better life for herself and her daughter, according to family friend Thu Doan.

To knew Doan’s mother from their village in Vietnam and, when she moved to Albuquerque, she began working in the woman’s nail salon in Grants. She worked seven days a week, commuting from Albuquerque, and sent a regular stream of money back to her family in Vietnam…



Kaepernick ignited a firestorm last Friday by refusing to stand during the national anthem when it was played before the 49ers game against the Green Bay Packers.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick explained to NFL Media in an interview published Saturday…

“I think it’s — personally — not a good thing,” Trump said on the “Dori Monson Show” on Monday, as BuzzFeed reported. “I think it’s a terrible thing, and you know, maybe he should find a country that works better for him…

What Donnie The Hypocrite is really saying:  “I’m gonna run for president and complain about how we need to make America great again. But if others want to make America great again by standing up against racism and discrimination, well then, fuck you.”

#DonnieTheHypocrite #ISitWithKaepernick #NoMoreDrugWar

The Peace-Be-With-You Superpower

Even though I have an award-free blog, sometimes a friend will challenge me anyway. And on the few times that I’ve answered a challenge, I’m notorious for not following the rules. Some things never change. 🙂

Lisa wants to know:  Which or what super power would you want and why?

I don’t think humans were meant to have any kind of superpower. I have a feeling that if any of us were given a superpower, we’d somehow, I dunno, accidentally destroy the planet. (Not that we need superpowers to do that.)

But just because I’m a realist, that doesn’t mean I can’t play.

My first thought was that I’d like to be able to heal. Then I thought that I would specifically like to have the ability to see inside a person’s brain, find the areas that aren’t working, and fix them. Thinking further, I could easily imagine how this superpower could backfire, possibly creating more problems within the brain. After all, could any superpower be stronger than the human brain?

And now I’m back to my belief that humans shouldn’t have superpowers. If you think about it, we already have superpowers. Why do we need more? Oops, I forgot we were playing a game…

When I was young, I had to pretend to be Catholic at church every Sunday. At one point during the mass, the priest would direct us to turn to the person on each side of us, shake their hand and say, “Peace be with you.” The person would reply, “And also with you.” It would’ve been nice if people really meant it, instead of just saying it by rote.

I’ve decided that I’d like to have a Peace-Be-With-You superpower. I’d like the ability to create peace wherever I go, whomever I encounter. If another person has any bad or violent thoughts, with just one look from my tired, blue eyes, all those thoughts would disappear. Cease to exist. Poof! I would smile at the look of bafflement on people’s faces, then they would shake their heads, as if coming back to the present, and smile back at me.

My superpower would be transferable with each look, and so peace would then spread throughout the world, from person to person, city to city, country to country.

We would never have another war. And we would all work together to live happily ever after. The End.

And because I don’t follow the rules, I’m picking two superpowers. I would also like to be invisible, like Lisa, because I think it would be loads of fun. 🙂

(Photo taken by my sister — and cropped by me, #croptilyoudrop — at the 2013 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.)

In my search terms: “can chronic pain go away”

First, let’s define “chronic” and “intractable” pain:

Wikipedia: “Chronic pain is defined as pain that has lasted longer than three to six months, though some theorists and researchers have placed the transition from acute to chronic pain at 12 months. Others apply acute to pain that lasts less than 30 days, chronic to pain of more than six months duration, and subacute to pain that lasts from one to six months. A popular alternative definition of chronic pain, involving no arbitrarily fixed duration, is “pain that extends beyond the expected period of healing.”

Intractable pain has been defined as “a pain state in which the cause of pain cannot be removed or otherwise treated and which in the generally accepted course of medical practice no relief or cure of the cause of the pain is possible or none has been found after reasonable efforts that have been documented in the physician’s medical records.”

The definition for chronic pain is very unspecific. I can think of a number of medical conditions that could cause pain to last for months or years, but is then resolved sometime thereafter. As a gymnast, I remember having a pinched nerve in my back, the pain of which lasted for 6 months. Thankfully, the pain did go away. So, yes, using this definition, chronic pain can go away.

I think many chronic pain patients are using the first definition to describe their medical condition, when they should be using the second one for intractable pain. By the time many patients make their way to a pain management doctor, the pain has already become intractable.

There’s no cure for so many of the medical conditions that can cause chronic pain, which means patients should be describing their condition as intractable, not chronic — at least when it comes to pain.

There are many treatment options for a “chronic” pain patient, but there are very few for an “intractable” pain patient. Because drug war. And in case you’re wondering, no, intractable pain cannot go away.