The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down Glossary


drugs used in the treatment of epilepsy


a bacterium that causes diseases


a malevolent spirit


an anticonvulsive drug used to treat epilepsy

dermal treatments

traditional healing techniques such as:  acupuncture; massage; pinching; scraping the skin with coins, spoons, silver jewelry, or pieces of bamboo; applying a warm cup to the skin; or burning the skin with grass or cotton wool

febrile seizure

an epileptic seizure associated with a high body temperature, occurring most often in children between 6 months and 5 years of age

grand mal seizure

a full-blown seizure in which electrical disturbance extends throughout a wide area of the brain and the patient loses consciousness for a long period of time

hu plig

a soul-calling ceremony, in which a baby's name is officially conferred

kua quav

a beef stew made from cow's intestines, heart, liver, and lungs, finely chopped and boiled with lemon grass and herbs; literally translated as "liquid excrement"

nasogastric tube

a flexible tube passed through the nose, nasopharynx, and esophagus into the stomach


a healing spirit


a Hmong baby carrier

paj ntaub

a traditional Hmong textile art comprised of geometric or organic designs worked in embroidery, applique, and reverse applique; literally translated as "flower cloth"



qaug dab peg

the Hmong term for epilepsy, literally translated as "the spirit catches you and you fall down" 


a Hmong musical instrument, constructed out of six bamboo tubes

septic shock

a potentially fatal medical condition resulting from severe infection and sepsis, in which chemicals released into the bloodstream to fight infection trigger inflammatory responses throughout the body which can lead to organ failure

status epilepticus

a condition in which seizures continue one after another with no intervals of consciousness, instead of spontaneously stopping after a few minutes

swidden agriculture

a method of cultivation used by the Hmong in Laos, in which areas of forest are burned and cleared for farming; also called 'slash-and-burn agriculture'

txiv neeb

a Hmong shaman believed to be able to negotiate with the spirits for his patients' health


an agency which has a cooperative agreement with the State Department to provide reception and placement services for refugees arriving in the United States; abbreviation for "Voluntary Agency"