Archive for July, 2012

Last night together

She stayed by his side and slept next to him one last time. She played music on the computer that he liked. The soldier never left them unguarded.

Enough said.

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Camera Roll-98

Shooting at a theatre

I want to express my deepest sympathies for the all the people hurt and all the families involved in the recent shooting. It appalled me that someone would do something like this to innocent people just looking to spend a night at the movies.

I had planned to take my family to the midnight showing in my area. It makes my heart ache that my children would be hurt in a similar situation or even have to see a shooting like this happen in front of them.

I hope the capture and eventual conviction of this man can bring some solace to all those affected.

Hate. Some say it is not good to hate, and for many things I agree. I also believe that hate can be a good thing at times. I hate rapists, I hate pedophile sadists, I hate women beaters just as I hate those who pursue making money of the misery of others. I hate this man for what he did, I hate he hurt children in that theatre and I sincerely hope he rots in hell.

Occupy EMS

I will probably be writing a piece on this article in the near future but for now just check it out. Very well said.

EMS World Occupy EMS.

Blogging apps for iOS

I love my Mac, but more and more I’m finding myself using my phone for blogging. Especially when I’m at work. It has a lot of what the full sized laptop has to offer with the added benefit of being extremely portable and always connected to the web. I am seriously considering buying an iPad with data but the price still doesn’t justify itself for me. Especially since I have almost everything on my iPhone that the iPad has.

There has been some debate over the effectiveness of different devices for consumption of media or for creation. For example it has been said that phones, 7 inch tablets and small net books are more for seeing and listening to media rather than creating. By media they mean books, magazines, videos and music. It has been said that the iPad and laptops are more suited for creating.

I am going to throw in my vote that if you want to create you can do it in pretty much any way you can. I have used my iPad, iPhone, and laptop to create blogs and edit and paste photos and video. I firmly believe that it is your desire to create and your determination that rules when it comes to creating art or content. Some of the best work I’ve ever read has been done using the most rudimentary of technology. Martin Luther King Jr wrote Letter From Birmingham Jail on the margins of a newspaper. Some of my better writing (in my humble opinion) has been done on cheap notepads and blank pieces of paper.

That being said I absolutely love these apps and don’t think I can go back to writing with a plain typewriter without a great deal of adjusting.

I am using an iPhone and am going to list the top apps I use to get my blogging done. A while back I made a quick blog about the top blogging apps for iPad and while some of the apps transfer over there are some that are still unavailable on the iPhone. I hope that changes soon especially since I’m pretty sure the iPhone 4s can do anything the first iPad can do. So let me begin:

Blogsy – iPad only (for now). $4. In my opinion this is hands down the best blogging tool on the iPad. It can post your blog to Blogger, WordPress, TypePad, Tumblr and more. It can format your text and add photos and videos easily. It can create hyperlinks in your blog post without any coding and it will work effortlessly once you post. You can write and edit your HTML but, like me, you probably won’t ever do that because you can just edit your work and the app does the HTML edits for you. It can save local files that you can work on if your away from your wifi and can post immediately or at your scheduled time. Simply amazing. I have not run into any problems with it so far. I use a Tumblr and a WordPress account with it. (I have written to the app creators and told them that if an iPhone version of the app would be made I would buy it and they have stated they are still thinking about it but they have gotten some positive feedback about making one. I really hope they do.) I added this with the hopes that the makers of this app listen and make it compatible with iPhone.



Tumblita – iPad and iPhone. Universal app. $3. Tumblita is an application for viewing and posting onto your Tumblr account. This is a weird choice for me in that it is at best a 4 star app. It doesn’t do everything I think it could and sometimes it fails. Tumblr unfortunately has been ignored by app makers on the iPhone and iPad and while this app is definitely better than the regular Tumblr app at times it leaves you wanting more. Posting is easy to do and reblogging something from one of the people your following is easy. Pinch to zoom is not seen, however, and many times I find myself using the ‘open in safari’ button. Still for one price you get both an iPhone and iPad app and if you use Tumblr unfortunately there is no better choice.



WordPress – iPad and iPhone. Universal app. Free. If you use WordPress as your blog platform this is really a no brainer. This is my go to app on my iPhone for blogging on the go since Blogsy still doesn’t have am iPhone app. It has quite a few features for editing HTML through links so I don’t have to learn code. You just highlight and then click what you want it to be, a hyperlink for example, and it does the rest. Posting is a breeze and you can even see some of your stats in the app. It is polished and for free so who can really complain?


Pastebot – iPhone and iPad (not optimized for the bigger screen). $3. This application is amazing. If you ever wanted a clipboard editor so you could just copy on a web page and then store different quotes, links, notes or anything else you want (yes even pictures) this is the one. You can turn on the app and then copy something in safari or from your notepad and it’s instantly in the app. The main clipboard can hold over 200 items, but you can create folders that hold as many as you want. I have one folder dedicated just for my EMS blogs and I can manage any of the items any way I want. I like to link to articles I read and give proper credit when I am quoting someone or talking about something I read online and this is perfect. I turn on the app, then I can copy the web address, copy a piece of the article I’m going to quote, copy the authors name, maybe a picture or two and then I can paste them as I want in my article. They’re all saved and a quick pop into the app to select which item I want to paste is all I need to switch from copied item to item. Simply a great time saver, I’m still looking for something this great on my Mac. Only downside is it is not a universal app and thus makes my iPad use the 2X feature when I want to use it there.




Pages – iPhone and iPad. Universal. $10. For anyone that says the iPad can’t compete with a normal laptop because of business oriented apps I put forth Apples iWork apps. With Pages you get a full fledged word processor for a fraction of the price a Windows based word processor costs. For 10 dollars you get a universal app that works on both the iPad and the iPhone. It can save in Apple’s pages format or Windows docx format. On both devices you can use it horizontally or in landscape mode. If you use iCloud you can sync your apps together. Whatever you are working on in one device will be saved onto your other device. This is great if you are working on a longer project and like to do minor touch ups on the go. If you add a bluetooth keyboard to your iPad with Pages you will have a laptop word processor with most of the bells and whistles that programs at 3 or 4 times the price range have.




Reeder – iPhone and iPad. Different app for each device. I have many RSS feeds I follow and if it wasn’t for Reeder I would never be able to read as many or keep up with some of the blogs I follow. It is a very easy to use program and once you set it up with your google reader account it syncs all your feeds. What makes this app shine in my eyes is the amount of extra tools it puts at your disposal. From inside the app you can send any story to your Instapaper, Readability or Pocket accounts. It is a one time set up and then it is fluid in sending the items. It can open the link on Safari or if you want it can save the link so you can paste it into your blog. The only downside I see is that it is not a universal app and you have to buy a separate app for each of your devices. I really like the way it works so I went ahead a bought it. In reality you don’t need this one as much as the others to blog well. It does make it easy to get inspiration, however, since you can read the headlines and blog about whatever your interests are. I have feeds from EMS blogs to music to photography to the latest trend in technology. With Reeder I am able to quickly read and discard those articles I don’t want to read and then send to my Instapaper account those that might take me longer to read.

The next few apps I have used for less time and while I find them pretty good so far I still am not 100% sure of their benefit.


Byword – 3 dollars, universal app. I have not downloaded this for the iPad. I have been using it for the iPhone and the Mac app. So far it has been fairly effective. I like being able to write and have it able to export onto your clipboard in HTML with one button. You can create and preview your documents and it shows your markdown just how it’s going to look on the web. If your still not used to at least some HTML….. well there’s really no reason you shouldn’t be. On my phone its one of the better text editors.

I hope these apps help some of you create your art, blog or not, and at the very least help you get inspired. Are there any apps you use? Let me know.

Obese isn’t as bad as being underweight, news flash they’re both still bad.

Obese isn’t as bad as being underweight?!

A new study by the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine is showing results that go contrary to what we’ve been being told about ideal weight. As soon as I read the title I also went into my skeptic mode.

The study showed that it may in fact be more dangerous to be underweight than to be obese unless the obesity is extreme in nature. Gizmodo in commenting on the article pointed out:

Jerant and his team surveyed almost 51,000 Americans of all ages over a period of six years to gather data for their research. Upon analysis, it transpired that those participants with BMI that determined them “underweight” showed a risk of death twice as high as the “normal” participants. Weirdly, it was considerably safer to be “severely obese” than underweight. Those with a BMI classifying them as such were just 1.26 times as likely to die as “normals”.

What I hope doesn’t happen is unhealthy overweight people decide to use this as an excuse. I heard about a march that was protesting against bans on unhealthy drinks where parents marched with their kids drinking big gulps. Msnbc showed pictures of it in their photoblog.–120708-gulp-jb–01.grid–6×2.jpg

Now let me be clear, I’m all for personal responsibility and freedom to choose.

I’m also for being smart.

In the next few years “couch potato syndrome” will kill or contribute to more deaths than smoking or trauma! Sedentary lifestyle causes more deaths than smoking.

Now, even though I don’t believe we should all aim for zero percentage body fat, we shouldn’t just dump any drink into our kids just because they like how it tastes. For those of you in EMS you know that one amp of D50 is 25 grams of carbs. Just as an example to anyone that isn’t in EMS, one of these can bring a person back from being completely unresponsive because of low sugar levels to a walking, talking and sometimes refusing patient. Remember: one of these, one can make a diabetic with a sugar level of 45 go to 145. Now take this into consideration:
One Dr Pepper from McDonald’s 32 ounce has approximately 80 grams of carbs. That’s more than 3 times the amount we use to bring back a diabetic patient from a coma!

Now I’m all for personal choice and freedom and liberty. I’m all for science and research. But sometimes we just have to look at something and common sense should say, maybe we shouldn’t.

In comparing weight maybe we shouldn’t compare overweight to underweight. Maybe the comparison should be overweight to normal and underweight to normal.

Maybe it shouldn’t be freedom to buy as big a Big Gulp as you want, maybe it should be that we strive to teach our kids a better way to eat so that they don’t have to go through the problems we and our patients are going through.

Common sense, seems to be a running topic for me, maybe because I’m used to seeing so little of it.

The Art of Self-Reliance

The Art of Self-Reliance

No man who is not willing to help himself has any right to apply to his friends, or to the gods.-

I teach occasionally. The first thing I start with when I teach any first aid or CPR courses is explaining how important it is for everyone to be self-reliant. At least to a degree.

Now let me explain, I’m not talking about having 6 months worth of food in a bomb proof underground bunker (if I could afford it I might consider it) what I’m talking is about being self-reliant with the basics of survival. I’m talking about everyone knowing basic CPR, yes the no breaths version is perfectly fine. Everyone should know the basics of the Heimlich maneuver. Everyone, and I mean everyone, from Elementary school to adults should know the basics of controlling a bleed.

I have been called to assaults where a small laceration to the temple area have made people look like they were shot with a 50 cal just because no one on scene decided to apply pressure. The times that a tourniquet needs to be used on an artery or venous bleed are far less common and so I don’t consider them extreme necessities but they do occur and I don’t understand why people wouldn’t want to have this skill. It’s one of those skills that I would rather have and never need than need one day and not have.

What about anaphylactic reactions? Come on people, every day there are more and more people having allergic reactions to a wider and wider range of items. Learning simple symptoms can save someone’s life. Learning the difference between an allergic reaction and an anaphylactic reaction could give a person a fighting chance. I’m not talking about the technical terms either, just know if someone is showing a lot of itching, trouble breathing, hives, swelling or a sudden case of wheezing they are having an anaphylactic reaction. Knowing that over the counter Benadryl (diphenhydramine) can help but is not the definitive treatment if it’s a true anaphylactic reaction is also crucial.

Or what about this one, get called out to a residence for possible MI, because the person has left sided paralysis and they’ve already administered aspirin. Knowing the difference between a heart attack and a stroke is pretty extreme. Even so I see many people mistake the two. Know that weakness to one side of the body, facial drooping and slurred speech is a sign of a stroke and remembering that the time of onset of the symptoms is vital to a possible recovery. A heart attack usually presents with pain to the chest radiating somewhere and does not improve with breathing or position of the body. Both have time fighting against them, but each has their own treatment protocols. Aspirin should not be given to a possible stroke patient under any circumstances unless a physician is ordering it for that specific patient.

Another common problem is dehydration and heat related emergencies. Just because young kids have tons of energy and are able to run around like if they’re never going to run out of steam doesn’t mean parents should let them. Knowing that dehydration is something easier prevented than dealt with once you are having symptoms is important. Once someone that is dehydrated begins to vomit it is going to get more difficult to get him hydrated. If, however, parents, coaches and trainers can remember to keep everyone hydrated during exercise, sports events or just a hot day out in the park you can avoid any problems. What if the kid doesn’t want to drink water during play? Make it mandatory in order for them to continue to play.

The main thing about being self-reliant is also knowing when you are reaching your limit. I have touched a few times on the misuse of the 911 system and in the future will be trying to look at that issue further, for now however, I am going to say that while self-reliance has it’s purpose there is also a limit. Everyone needs to know that there are certain things that we are going to need help with, such as a real injury, an ongoing stroke, an active heart attack, and a thousand other things that should prompt us to call the emergency number. No one should ever wait to see if the left sided paralysis they are feeling is going to wear off. No one should see if that chest pain that is causing them to have shortness of breath and dizziness will be helped by an Rolaid.

It’s crazy that sometimes the people that least need an ambulance call for one and the patients that should have called wait until hours if not days later to call?

Self-reliance, at least to a moderate degree, should be something all of us strive for. We never know when it might come in handy.

Just unplug once in a while.

It really is good to sometimes just unplug. There are many things going on all the time sometimes it’s hard, believe me I know. For us in EMS sometimes the ways we unplug are not the healthiest. There’s always the alcohol that seems to infect every social gathering, there’s the going out to eat that is never as healthy as we intend. Sometimes our lives take unexpected turns and it gets hard to just relax.

Word of advice, you have to do it.

You have to unplug or risk becoming someone different. It won’t look like it initially, you won’t feel it happening, but it will. You will become a different person than you are. You might become crankier with the kids, snap quicker with a patient, get frustrated with a boss. Whatever it starts to do to you it makes your outlook change and then it’s hard to get back on track.

I’m not saying I have it down. I’m not saying I’m an expert, sometimes after a hard day of work I get cranky. I have had the occasion of coming home and being slightly short tempered with my children or wife.

It happens.

We all have to figure out how we can de-stress and recharge. Some take up exercising. I keep telling myself I’m going to take this up too, just hasn’t happened yet. In fact I’m in the process of getting a membership to a local gym. Sure hope I don’t start dropping money there and don’t use it. Maybe I will keep you guys updated and somehow get motivated to at least not be a lazy slob in front of my readers.

Yesterday I took my family out to a small outing at the beach. Let me tell you that even though we had our little problems, minor irritations when the kids wouldn’t listen, slightly bigger irritations when I found out how much I was spending for lunch (thanks a lot menu with no prices on their drinks), I still consider it a huge success.

There are moments from yesterday that I think will stay with me for a long time. The day was perfect, the weather was nice and the water was warm.

Beach five

I have never really considered myself a beach person, but yesterday the feeling was infectious. South Padre Island is usually not as packed during the summer as it does get during spring break, and believe me I won’t be taking my children there during that. With it being the weekend after 4th of July and summer in full swing it was still pretty populated. There were all sorts of things going on, from the banana boat taking people out to sea and dropping them every single time I saw them, to sky divers landing a few yards from where we had our chairs and umbrella.

My kids obviously loved the water and it always amazes me how much enjoyment children can get from the most mundane thing. You can give them a huge present and they play with the box, you give them a toy and they use it, but to imagine something totally different. I give you a beach, my children find digging in the sand for animals was their highlight!

Beach two

Don’t get me wrong, once I showed them how we could walk out into the beach and jump over waves they were all over it. My Little One, that’s what I call my daughter, would hang on to me for dear life as the waves would roll us over them, but then a kiss on my cheek would make any sand I tasted because of the water feel like fine wine.

They say that having children and raising them is not the happiest times of an adult life, but that there are moments of such pure joy that the bad parts are covered over by those memories. I have to agree with that, my kids can be a handful, but when they show little signs of complete love and trust it floors you.

Beach three

I have also taken up a bit of photography as a side hobby and so far enjoy shooting clouds a great deal, I think I would really love to shoot portraits of people but it is far harder to get people to not be self-conscious in front of a camera. If it wasn’t for family and responsibility I think I would really enjoy shooting a major storm making landfall here at South Padre Island. The few clouds I would see would give me a glimpse of the magnitude a major storm would bring.

Why do we sometimes find beauty in the most destructive? Awe in the fear inspiring?


Beach four

Don’t get me wrong, the medic in me would still materialize. I would still keep my kids as close as possible thinking that any wave could potentially take them out to sea. Like any kids they would test the boundaries of how far they could go and I would have to resist my wanting to yell at them when they went too far. When my two children and my niece proclaimed, “this is the best day of summer,” I knew I had done my job.

I had a great time at the beach with the family and hope to do it again soon.

As we grow up, we learn that even the one person that wasn’t supposed to ever let us down, probably will. You’ll have your heart broken and you’ll break others’ hearts. You’ll fight with your best friend or maybe even fall in love with them, and you’ll cry because time is flying by. So take too many pictures, laugh too much, forgive freely, and love like you’ve never been hurt. Life comes with no guarantees, no time outs, no second chances. you just have to live life to the fullest, tell someone what they mean to you and tell someone off, speak out, dance in the pouring rain, hold someone’s hand, comfort a friend, fall asleep watching the sun come up, stay up late, be a flirt, and smile until your face hurts. Don’t be afraid to take chances or fall in love and most of all, live in the moment because every second you spend angry or upset is a second of happiness you can never get back.
– Unknown

*All pictures were shot with a Canon t3i. I did very minor editing with Lightroom. I am adding this because I am using two different blogs and this one will not only go on my EMS site but also on my site. *