Is there anyone on the plane with medical training?
Thursday, March 14, 2013 - 22:04
Flight Attendant: Excuse me, but is there anyone on-board with medical training?
Well, that's not exactly how it went, though I have had that happen before on a flight. But this time it started with people in my section looking to the starboard aisle. At first, I thought someone had just fallen in the aisle but when I noticed no one moving, and everyone staring, something in me started yelling "Get up!" Before I knew it, I was up and across the plane and at the side of a guy who was in a bad way.
I honestly don't even remember getting that far. It was all automatic, reflex from years of EMS. For a long time, I was an Advanced Life Support provider as both a volunteer and professional. I worked for a private ambulance company as well as two clinics and an Emergency Room. I took classes, I was certified and I lived it 24/7. Then I left it all behind to move to North Carolina and a more lucrative career in computers. But all that training, all that experience, it never really left me. Not in the least.
And there I found myself, kneeling next to an unconscious white male in the starboard aisle of a Boeing 777-200, half way between Tokyo and Washington, DC.
It was amazing to me how it all came back. How effortlessly I started an assessment and made sure all the basics were covered. Airway? Yep, it's clear. Breathing? Yes, but shallow. Circulation? No distal pulses, but carotid is there. Sternum rub, shake the shoulder. Nothing. Diaphoretic. He had all the symptoms of hypovolemic shock. But he obviously wasn't bleeding to death, unless he had something nasty like a ruptured aortic anyeurism, but if that was the case, there wasn't much I could do.
So treat the shock to start with. Elevate the feet and start checking vitals again. And then, almost like magic, he opened his eyes, took a deep breath and sat upright. At this time, the flight attendants had arrived.
"Are you a doctor?"
"No, but I play one on TV."
Well, that's what I thought, but in reality, I just told them I had training and let it go at that.
After the guy had a moment to get his wits about him, I asked about a history of seizures, because despite the shock symptoms, he looked as though he had just had one (and with the mild twitching when he was out, seizure did cross my mind). But then, perhaps something related to meds? Ah hah!
It would seem, that on a long flight, at 38,000 feet in the air, taking a vasodilator while dehydrated is not such a good idea. What happened is that he took the pill an hour or so before. It kicked in, and he started feeling nauseous. Thinking he was getting airsick, he got up quickly and headed to the lavatory. So add in standing up quickly to all of the above, and the blood drained from his head and over he went. Luckily, this went well He woke up after a few seconds. I escorted him back to his seat to make sure he was OK and the flight attendants brought some water.
I suggested he re-hydrate well and not get up too quickly for a while. I think it was probably a combination of dehydration, altitude and meds that bottomed his blood pressure and caused him to experience a nice syncopal episode.
What really surprised me, though, is how quickly it all came back to me. It's been a LONG time since I was an active EMS provider, and yet all that training came flooding back to me as soon as the adrenaline started flowing. In hind-sight, I was lucky. I really didn't want to work a code there somewhere over Alaska, half-way though a 13 hour flight. It all worked out for the best and everyone gets to go home to their families tonight. The Flight crew were very thankful that I had jumped in to help out, and to be honest, so am I. I miss that part of my life sometimes. I'm glad that I still have it, and that I know, in an emergency, I can still do what needs to be done, at least to a basic degree.
The future already started. You missed it, but it's coming soon!
Friday, October 5, 2012 - 23:31
It started with a post to an e-mail list I'm on of fellow disenfranchised geeks who wanted a place where we could crack wise, talk of off-topic things and be most assuredly politically incorrect, feelings be damned. In a typical thread derailment this was said:
PC aren't dying, they're in transition. There won't be a time where you don't need a PC. Tablets and smart phones have gotten good, but they still can't replace a powerful general purpose PC.
This is not a difficult statement to make. The ubiquitous PC has been around for longer than many of us today have been alive. However, some of us DO still predate the PC and have seen it grow from the boxy white bricks like the IBM PS/2 to today's myriad shapes and sizes, full of glowing neon, water or oil cooling systems and more power than older supercomputers.
But then, another member of the group made this simple statement
People used to say that about watches. I haven't worn a watch in 15 years.
Which is some sort of indication that both PCs and Watches are anachronisms only fit to serve as curiosity pieces or statements made by elitists and hipsters. And yet millions of watches are still sold every year. I wear a watch almost daily even though I have the time displayed on every computer I own plus my iPhone. Heck, even my coffee maker has a clock built in. Then again, I collect analog watches so I have a biased opinion on the death of the watch. But again, millions are sold every year.
I do agree that PCs are in transition. You can't really say that smart phones and tablets are going to supplant PCs any more than you can say that PCs as we know them are never going to die. PC means Personal Computer and for all intentsive purposes (*Yes, I know it's incorrect) iPhones and the bigger Android based smart phones are quickly becoming the standard "Personal Computer". After all they are computers, there is no doubt about that, and they are very, very personal. My iPhone has more computing power than my first desktop machine did.
What I think is actually going to happen is that phones and tablets will become more and more powerful, faster, and simply better than what we know today. They will come with faster processors and with the advent of Systems on Chip (SoC) more and more cores are going to be jammed onto smaller and smaller devices. The current ARM phones already sport dual core chips. Quad core is not too far away.
What we think of as the PC today will continue becoming smaller and smaller and eventually those lines will intersect and we'll have the next big thing that WILL replace both. That, like it or not, is really inevitable. Sure there will be those holdouts that insist on a big clunky desktop. I have a Tandy TRS-80 Color Computer II sitting on the other desk, hooked up to a 13 inch television that I still write short programs on from time to time. But eventually, those two lines, phones and tablets getting bigger, better, PCs getting smaller, smaller WILL intersect and that will be the moment everything changes.
Think how much we take for granted today. Just 6 years ago there was no such thing as a "Smart Phone". People had cellular phones, people had PDAs. Some lucky few had palm-top computer type devices. Some had PDAs that were phones. But none of them worked terribly well. Then, as they did in 1984 in their Orwellian commercial introducing the Macintosh, Apple changed the world with the launch of the iPhone.
They had already changed the way we entertain ourselves with the iPod, and now the iPhone was a shot heard round the world, kicking off the never ending Smart Phone arms race that has been fought on the streets, in stores, in advertisement and in court. From there the Smart Phone gained overnight traction and the chimes of inevitability rang. Already computers were getting smaller with the Laptop, the Notebook, the Sub-Notebook and then the Net-book. Tablets were just around the corner.
So where does this lead? It is leading to a collision of cosmic proportions. For a good glimpse of this think back to 2009. A man is working his way though the airport security line when he is pulled aside to explain the strange device he's trying to sneak through security. The man goes on to explain the Motorola Atrix, a phone that's a computer. Or is it a computer that's a phone? It's a cell phone with a fast (at the time) processor and, more importantly, a dock that turns it into a notebook computer.
It's not super fast. but I think that it's a pretty good first glimpse at what we're going to see in the future. Think of how many people (aside from computer geeks like me because like it or not, we are NOT the super-set, we are a reasonably tiny subset) buy "Desktop" machines versus laptops.
Just using my own life as an anecdote: at my desk I have a 1U rack server and a Shuttle PC. The 1U serves as a test machine for when I'm testing server type stuff like virtualization hosting systems, cloud infrastrucutre, etc. The Shuttle is my media server at home that provides music, movies and photos to the rest of the personal computers in my home. It has no keyboard, no monitor and can only be accessed via the network. The rest of my personal computers are all laptops, one netbook and one thin client. Plus appliances like my blu-ray player, my xBox 360 and my Wii. I have ONE traditional tower case, and it's used as an end table. I sit my beer on it when I'm working. That's it's sole function these days.
My parents have not owned a desktop in years. Today, they only own a pair of laptops. In fact, outside of the Power User/Admin/Hacker set, I don't know anyone who owns a desktop, and I know a LOT who own tablets.
We are headed to a point where "Computer" and "Form Factor" are irrelevant, I think. We're going to get to a point where you can wear a computer on your wrist, if you choose, that is as powerful as the one you carry in your shoulder bag, that is as powerful as the one you use at your desk at work, and they may all be the same computer with
swap-able physical interfaces.
Think for a moment about Apple's AirPlay. You can queue up a video on your Mac Laptop, then pick it up on your iPhone or iPad mid-stream, then shoot it over to your AppleTV and finish watching it on your HDTV. This works. Today. This works well. I have seen it in action.
Now imagine that you have a smart phone type device. You're on the train headed to work or riding on the bus or whatever surfing the internet, reading email, doing the normal "stuff" we do when we're bored. Facebook. News. You get the idea. You get to work and sit down at your desk. You push a button on the 24" display panel on your desk and as soon as it has turned on, all that data you were looking at on your phone and more instantly starts appearing on the desk monitor. You use the wireless keyboard to type e-mail, write code or who knows what. You use a mouse or perhaps a touch device to move the pointer around the giant display.
You're done for the day, so time to head home. You pick up your smart phone thing and turn off that big 24" monitor, and out the door you go. Back on the bus you've picked up where you left off at work and continue doing things on the device as you head home. At home it's time to catch up a bit with your friends. You sit down at your desk and open up a thing that looks a bit like the laptops we have today. Power that on and again, your smart phone begins sending all it's data to that machine instead. Now you have a small laptop like device to type on. The built in camera lets you video chat with your mom, 1000 miles away, before dinner by wirelessly sending that data through your phone.
Dinner is over and it's time to watch some television. You look up the show guide on your phone device and notice that there's a new episode of "Ow! My Balls" on tonight. You click that and it begins playing, not on your phone, but across the room on your 60" 3D HDTV. You spend the rest of the night watching mind numbing reality television and then head off to bed, to start the cycle over again tomorrow.
We're not there yet, but the bits and pieces individually for every piece of that already exist today. From things like the Atrix to IPTV to FIOS and ubiquitous wireless data access (wi-fi or cellular). It's all there. Every last bit. The trick is bringing it all together. Smashing one atom of Personal Computer together with one atom of Smart Phone and one atom of Tablet. That will kick off an explosion of interconnected technology that many can not even imagine. Just like the way IBM couldn't imagine why people at home would want a computer of their own and thus turned away a young Bill Gates. And we all know where that led.
OMGGWTF ur defriended LOLZ!!1!
Thursday, October 4, 2012 - 19:27
Given that it's national election season again in the US, the expected upswing in idiotic ramblings from uninformed party-line partisans has kicked into high gear. People on all sides of the political polygon feel it is their duty, nay, their divine mission to bring those poor uneducated fools on the OTHER side over to the light. Politics is the other religion and it is alive and well here in the Colonies.
An interesting result of the advent of social media sites like FaceBook, MySpace, Friendster, Flixster and the infinite multitude of websites that act as anonymous watering holes or family reunions is that anyone and everyone feels free to post even the most insane ramblings. This, in turn, is visible to their "friends" or connections and in some places, appear on those people's personal pages and on and on in a sort of Six Degrees of Lies, Damn Lies and Lying Liars.
The truth is, NONE of them are completely right. In this election, the Romney supporters spout all sorts of nonsense about Barak Obama while the smug pseudo-intellectuals on the other side throw back masturbatory barbs of their own in equally inane ways. The fringe party supporters like LIbertarians, Communists, Socialists, Green Party and so forth, the ones who collectively make up the political middle are left somewhat in the crossfire watching the Zingers lobbed back and forth. Poste, reposte.
What is somewhat disturbing, however, is how we treat each other at times like these. I see so many people posting things to their Facebook walls these days that sound a lot like this:
I am so sick and tired of your political views that are not my own that I will now remove you as my "friend" and never listen to your insane, stupid, incorrect ramblings again. I will only see items posted by people who believe the same as I do! Nana nana boo boo, stick your head in $PRESIDENTIAL_CANDIDATE'S butt!
And this got me thinking. For starters, groups of friends usually share some sort of common bond. Generally, humans are gregarious and flock to each other naturally. The "recluse" is the outlier in any human society, from the dawn of man, huddled together in small familial units in caves to clans comprised of extended famlies which eventually grew to villages, towns, cities and nations.
So given that, if your "friends'" beliefs and desire to talk about those beliefs are so repugnant that you feel the need to "de-friend" them, were they really your friends to begin with? More importantly, however, is that if YOU were such a good friend, would you really sever ties with someone based solely on one aspect of them? I, personally, do not. In fact, I welcome diverse views and beliefs among my friends, close or otherwise. I enjoy the different points of view, the personal opinions, the differing ways of looking at the same thing.
I learn so much from NOT solely hanging around people who think and act like me. That opportunity for growth would be denied me were I to just "de-friended" people because they said something I didn't agree with. And so I think it's sad to see people severing ties over someone else's political views. If we only associate with people who believe the same things we do and sit back and smile while smugly fellating each other with our moral and intellectual superiority over "those other guys", how can we really grow?
If neither side is 100% right, then both sides are at least somewhat wrong, and that will never change as long as we refuse to listen to someone else's view points. If everyone's political and religious beliefs and affirmations are taken in aggregate, EVERYONE is an illiterate, uneducated, blind fool following an equally stupid chicken fucker down the highway to hell.