Archives for January 2004

Previa Comes Home

We have gotten our Previa back! We bought it new, a ’92 model, when I was a couple of months from finishing med school in ’93. We had three kids, and I had a Chevy Caprice that I liked but that had been Texanized: the catalytic converter had been torched off and replaced with a pipe, and all the air pump stuff was gone (all done prior to my purchase). I had orders to California, and I was well aware that the Chev, much as I loved it, wouldn’t pass smog without thousands in repairs. Plus, I was rich! I was finally graduating from med school, and had the O-3 salary to look forward to.
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Glad you asked

So, what has happened that I haven’t been blogging at my normal (OK, abnormally spastic) pace? I’ve been getting ready for a CME lecture to nurses.

I was asked several months ago to give a lecture on Eye Trauma to a convention of nurses in conjunction with their CME activities. I was asked because I work at the host hospital and because I have given a lecture to the ED nurses before, and (as was related to me) I didn’t talk down to them or go over their heads.

So, I worked hard a few months ago to accumulate the basics of a talk (really gross eye trauma photos, etc). Unfortunately, I’m very deadline motivated, and about 4 days ago I had to finish the talk. So, before and after ED shifts, there I was, PowerPointing away. I finished Friday night, with the talk going Saturday morning. And, I’m a bit obsessive, and I like to be overprepared despite my deadline orientation (OK, it sounds pathologic, but it works for me), so I had 93 slides. For a 45 minute talk.

The talk went well, I suppose, as no one booed and I ended on time. I would have had a couple of extra minutes, but the speaker ahead of me unplugged not only his computer but the interface to the projector, resulting in some akward time spent pushing CTRL F8 over and over and assuring the tech people my computer was OK. The unplugged interface was found, and the race to complete the talk was on.

I enjoyed speaking professionally, and always have. I am a loud person by nature, but am not a talker naturally; however, give me a topic and a slideshow and I’m off to the races. I had a little joke ready about being glad to be asked to speak, and that usually people ask me to stop speaking, but the projector snafu screwed that one up. (Note to my own ED nurse readers: that joke will come out in the future, feel free to laugh).

Anyway, I had fun, and that’s why the posting has been light.

Diet Help

A Chance to Cut is a Chance to Cure

Bard Parker over at Cut to Cure has some other things I can add to my Atkins diet. Thanks for the suggestions!

Diet Day 4

We’re on the Atkins diet here, and it’s doing two things. It’s making me ketotic (the point of the exercise), and it’s also making me cranky. Or it’s the night shifts.

Now, it doesn’t take much to make me cranky. I could as easily be GrouchDoc as GruntDoc. I just wonder if it’s my body starved for those sweet, sweet carb calories (cue Homer: aaaahhhhhhh….).

One thing’s for sure: after eating all these fats and burning off the carbs, I’ll be nice and thin come cardiac cath time!

If you’ve subjected yourself to this diet, I’d be interested in your (non-profane) opinion.

Wind and Windows

We had a bit of an adventure here at home yesterday! I was at work, and my wife went outside during a windstorm we were having. She reports that during that time it seemed like the wind was coming from all directions; she walked around the house trying to find a calm area, but couldn’t.

She came into the house and heard a loud bang. So after looking around, she went upstairs, and found that a window had blown out of the second floor. The amazing thing is that the double-paned window that blew out fell to the first floor patio, and didn’t break! Both panes, still attached to their aluminum inner frame, perfectly intact. Plastic was applied to the opening, with about 1/2 a roll of duct tape, apparently.

Today, the window folks came, and scratched their heads. They couldn’t believe it fell 2 stories (well, one and a half) and didn’t break. Their best explanation was that it’s tempered glass (the window was over a bathtub), and that it must have landed nearly-perfectly flat. Twenty minutes later, it’s sealed back into place, none the worse for its trip.

Crazy, and lucky.

Another webworm – Tricky ‘MyDoom’ e-mail worm spreading quickly – Jan. 26, 2004
Repeat after me: I will not click on attachments for people I don’t know. And, I will not click on attachments from people I know who usually don’t send me attachments.

How can you tell when two months have gone by?

Rick has a new blog entry, that’s how.

Thunderbirds Accident Report Released: with Photo

Press Releases and Media Advisories, from the US Air Force

(Photo by SSgt Bennie J. Davis III - Still Photographer, USAF)

LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. – Pilot error caused a U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds F-16 aircraft to crash shortly after takeoff at an air show Sept. 14 at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.

The pilot ejected just before the aircraft impacted the ground.

According to the accident investigation board report released today, the pilot misinterpreted the altitude required to complete the “Split S” maneuver. He made his calculation based on an incorrect mean-sea-level altitude of the airfield. The pilot incorrectly climbed to 1,670 feet above ground level instead of 2,500 feet before initiating the pull down to the Split S maneuver.

When he realized something was wrong, the pilot put maximum back stick pressure and rolled slightly left to ensure the aircraft would impact away from the crowd should he have to eject. He ejected when the aircraft was 140 feet above ground — just eight –tenths of a second prior to impact. He sustained only minor injuries from the ejection. There was no other damage to military or civilian property.

The aircraft, valued at about $20.4 million, was destroyed.

Also, the board determined other factors substantially contributed to creating the opportunity for the error including the requirement for demonstration pilots to convert mean sea level and above ground level altitudes and performing a maneuver with a limited margin of error.

I love to see airshows, and the Thunderbirds put on one heck of a show. I’m partial to the Blue Angels, but it’s subjective, I know. The act of getting out, 8/10ths of a second prior to impact, took some real guts, and I’m always amazed at our pilots’ abilities.

It’s a cool photo, but I don’t know the source (“the Internet is your daddy”); if it’s yours, please let me know. I’m not trying to rip anyone off.
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Dr. Gupta’s Marine Save

On the main CNN page today in the “video” section (which requires a paid newspass), Dr. Gupta interviews a Marine and his parents. The Marine sets the stage, relating being struck in the head with a bullet.

Amazingly, there is footage of Dr. Gupta performing a field craniotomy (cutting open the skull) to remove clot from the brain, saving the man’s life. It would have been easier for him to walk away, and I’m very impressed he did what he did. (It does raise questions about who is allowed / authorized to preform medical procedures on our troops. I don’t think there should be a hard and fast rule, but the commanders and docs should exercise their judgement. Nobody expects there to be a neurosurgeon roaming the battlefield with a camera, but it was fortunate in this case).

The Marine didn’t escape without injury. Film of him in rehab shows he has some balance problems, which hopefully he can overcome.

Thank you, Dr. Gupta.

The CNN video link, if you’re interested.

A perfect death
The BMJ has a letter to the editor about the death of the authors’ friend. It is a moving story, without maudlin sentimentality.

It is also a tale of courage in the modern age of medicine, where too many people die in ICUs of terminal illness, surrounded by well educated and well meaning strangers, instead of in their comfortable surroundings with their loved ones.

Death is the ultimate loss of contol. Hospice, along with a strong will, allowed the death with dignity most people want, but few get.

via Black Triangle

Spirit of America report

Citizen Smash – The Indepundit
LCDR (sel) Smash reports on the Spirit of America effort to win hearts and minds, spending yesterday filling bags and containers with donated material for their return to Iraq.

It’s fun to read about their time spent helping others, and to see the pics brought to you by Capt. Poopdeck.

Others there, who have blogs: Da Goddess, Armed Liberal, and AmericanDigest.

Many thanks to all who donated!  If you didn’t, it’s an ongoing effort, so there’s still time for you to help. 

Spirit of America.

Thanks, HIPPA!

Overlawyered: More medical privacy madness
Read these and wonder. Hospitals aren’t run by idiots (despite your experience with the billing office); they’re run by very very smart people who are increasingly risk-avoidant. And, when then risks of divulging the wrong information include whopping fines and jail time, guess what? They’re going to be as circumspect as possible.

Thank your congress, not your hospital, for this crap.

Volunteers needed tomorrow (Wed.) at Camp Pendleton

Spirit of America Blog

Recently, I mentioned that the Marines are going back top Iraq, and had asked for donations to Spirit of America for goods with which to win hearts and minds.

The donations are in, and they need to be loaded. For those saying “why can’t the Marines do this?”, you have to have been getting ready to go to know what a hassel another task is in an already full schedule.

So, if you have the time and are geographically suitable, give them a hand.

And you might get to:

Armed Liberal and Lt. Smash will be there. Meet them live and in person.

via Instapundit

Another valuable anti-terrorist measure

dogtulosba, ink. – soapiate of the masses: Did I Miss Something Yesterday?


Soldiers’ families allowed past airport security Soldiers’ families allowed past airport security

Families of soldiers returning to Iraq will be allowed to accompany them to the gate at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, but federal officials may not be able to put the change in place by Saturday morning.

“The TSA holds military families in the highest regard,” TSA spokeswoman Andrea McCauley said Friday evening. “We’re doing everything we can do to coordinate these complex security procedures with the various entities and we’ll do the best we can to have it available tomorrow (Saturday), but there’s no guarantee.”

At the prodding of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, the TSA issued a directive to its airport security directors to let military family members pass through security without tickets.

“I am grateful for TSA’s quick and positive answer to my request,” Hutchison said late Friday.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, persons without tickets have not been allowed through security, with the exception of people accompanying small children, senior citizens and handicapped passengers. The move constitutes the first major exception granted to non-ticketed people since the terrorist attacks.

This is pandering, but to a really worthy, and low-risk group. Airports are built to house people after security, not outside the checkpoints (as anyone who is meeting someone and needs either a bathroom or a snack knows).

Maybe we’re getting ready to go ‘back to normal’ and let us see grandma off at the gate.