Lie to Me (Buffy, Season 2)

Life isn’t simple.  Neither is death, it seems, when it is expected to come young.

This is the episode in which Buffy’s old schoolmate comes to Sunnydale in order to become a vampire.  We find out that he has a “nest of tumours” which cause him to “vomit for four hours because the pain is so intense.”  He doesn’t want to die; he is only a senior in high school (although Willow found no school records to prove this).

He was just scared.

In school, some clinical rotations saw interns partnered with one another, while other shifts were “solo.”  My first patient in one of these solo clinics came in presenting with an inoperable brain tumour.  Although he was one of the most healthy patients in the clinic otherwise, what most impressed me was his outlook:  “Take it one day at a time.  The days turn into weeks, the weeks into months, and the months into years.”

Then the day came when his appointments at the clinic were all canceled.  He had received news from an imaging study, and the doctors wanted to run more tests.  The patient thought they were going to start him up on another round of chemotherapy, but I never found out what happened.  He canceled the rest of his appointments for that semester.  I haven’t heard from him again.

This post is not going to be about how to treat brain cancer.  I cannot make a claim to diagnose or treat cancer.  What I can offer, however, are some treatments I have been told help patients who are facing death.  Acupuncture can help people find acceptance of their mortality.  I am told it can reassure them that this is not the end of all consciousness, or if it is, it can help them find that peace with their life that comes with the fulfillment of one’s destiny.

This discussion, then, while theoretical, is very real.  If you wish to apply it, please find a qualified practitioner.  This information has been transmitted through the Jade Purity tradition of Daoism (Taoism).

For acupuncture, I would consider the following points:

If it wasn’t clear whether the patient would die or not, I would initially use the 9 points for returning yang, to see how the patient responded.  If no response was forthcoming, then I would use the points to ease Buffy’s friend into acceptance of mortality.

The first set of points are:

Du15 to help the person re-engage with the world; SP6, to consolidate leakage — stop the vomiting; PC8, to clear heat from the HT and reorient the shen.  The shen can be thought of as fire, and heart fire can be thought of as the shen trying to find release.  Cooling this fire with the ying-spring point can help calm the shen.

Kd1, Kd3, CV12 would be the next set to try.  I would use moxa on these points to tonify them in cases of disorientation and to anchor the jing in the body.

The third set is used when the patient has lost all sensory function, and the points are strongly moxabust:  GB30, ST36, LI4.

Since that isn’t our patient, however, I might try the following approach:

Moxa on Bl-60, KunLun.  In ancient Chinese cosmology, the Kunlun mountains of the West was the realm in which the Queen of the West tended her orchard.  Among the trees of that paradise were the peaches of immortality.  For the Buddhists of China, Kunlun became a sort of Buddhist Eden. Moxa on this fire point refers to the Buddhist ritual of cremating the dead, so that the soul can give up its attachment to the body.  The west also relates to the element metal, as manifested in mountains being pushed up from the earthen plains.  Metal resonates with the po, the corporeal spirits who both fear death and long for it.

I might also add Du-20, which is where the Yuan Shen exits; Du-26 or CV-24 where the hun exits; and Du-1 where the po exits.  Yin tang is where the ming, the destiny departs from.  Coincidentally for our patient, the Du Mai enters the brain; what effect treating the Du Mai would have on him physically would be interesting to note.

To augment this, I might vary it with the combination of  Du-1, and CV15 to clear the emotions held in these two extraordinary vessels; these emotions form the basis for what gets transmitted through the lineage.  This latter couple also opens the Bao Mai.  Another way in which the Du and Ren mai can be emptied is by working with the Qiao Mai — hence another reason to use BL-62.  KD-6 could be used for a like reason.  If the person is in pain — emotional pain — the xi-cleft points of the Qiao Mai could be bled.

If I wanted to stick with primary channels (or work with the Chang Mai), we could choose points on the PC and KD channels to help release the sense if injustice Buffy’s friend felt.  PC 5, 7, 8; KD 22 – 26 at 1.5 cun from midline.  I would select KD points on the basis of their names.

Herbally,  I might consider also another simple decoction of Suan Zao Ren, Shi Chang Pu, and Yuan Zhi.  This combination nourishes the heart, opens the portals, and scours out phlegm which can obstruct the portals of the heart.  It might help calm the anxiety our patient feels and open him up to greater tranquility.

I would use Wu Shen San, a powder made from Ku Shen, Ren Shen, Xuan Shen, Sha Shen, and Dan Shen, when death approaches more closely. The dose is very small, measured in half-grammes.

Finally, the day of or the day before death, I would give him — assuming he can sip water — a dose of Tian Ling Xiang, Fragrance for the Celestial Soul.  This is composed of Tian Dong, which kills ghosts in the marrow (and brain); Ling Zhi, known as the mushroom of immortality; Mu Xiang, which relaxes the diaphragm, and presumably also the Dai Mai; Sheng Ma, which has an ascendant quality to open Du-20; Sang Zhi (or sang ji sheng, but choose only one of the two), to extinguish wind and bring the hun to help those who are stuck harmonise their jing and shen; and Gou Ji Zi, which nourishes goes to the kidneys yet also nourishes the hun and shen.



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