liveonearth: (moon)
Today I finally got my updated living will / medical power of attorney updated, witnessed, and notarized, and I also officialized my first last will and testament.  My friends asked me if I was planning on leaving.  It's a good question to ask a person who is settling their affairs at my age, but no, in spite of the depressing state of affairs in the world, my life is good enough that I'm planning to stick around and see what happens next.   In my living will today I specified what I want done if I lose my mind (travel to a country where euthanasia is allowed for dementia--Switzerland or Nederlands allow it as of now), and also where I want my brain to go (for research purposes, to the Oregon Brain Bank of OHSU).  I'm excited and glad to have this done.  I've been meaning to do it and rewriting it for a decade now.

The real reason I was motivated to complete these documents at the age of 50 is that I can tell that I am losing cognitive function.  It shows up in many ways, and people routinely fight me on this observation, saying that I'm fine, it's normal aging, blah blah blah.  Let me just say that I used to be very smart, and I'm not any more, and I know the difference.  A minor example is that I make more mistakes in typing, for example I switch "their" for "they're" and vice versa.  This is a mistake that I used to find utterly mystifying, and now I am doing it.

The other day I updated my lifetime river log with the rivers I have run this year.  I've done 20 new rivers around Oregon this year!  But the shocker finding was that one day in July when I went paddling on the Lower Wind, I could not remember what had happened when I logged the day.  All I remembered at the time (a few days after the actual day when I logged it), was that I had planned to go paddling with Todd.  I did not remember where we went or what happened.

What happened that day was that I hit my head, again, and had short term memory loss as a result.  I have had many traumatic brain injuries over the years, from biking, skiing, and kayaking.  This is the reason that I want to donate my brain for research.  I suspect that my brain will prove that recreational sports participants can also suffer from CTE = chronic traumatic encephalopathy.  It's not just for football players anymore.

On that day I flipped over at the top of a rapid known as the Flume, and was battered on my head and shoulders as I floated through the rapid upside down.  I was afraid to try to roll up because getting in position to roll puts you in a more open and vulnerable position, so I "went turtle" which in this case simply means to tuck tightly under the boat and get my elbows in so nothing gets broken.   I rolled up at the bottom of the rapid and was dazed but otherwise OK.  And yes, for you who do not know me, I was wearing a top notch helmet.  There is no helmet that can protect your brain from the knocking it takes when your whole head is getting walloped around.

This was the third time I'd floated through that particular rapid upside down.  It is a steep, fast, shallow and rocky rapid....brutal, really.  One of my three upside down runs I didn't hit a thing.  Twice I've been beaten silly.  I vowed after this day to not run that rapid at low water anymore.  It's much easier at higher flows and that is the only time I will attempt it.  Unfortunately the portage is difficult and dangerous too... so I may not go on the Lower Wind as much anymore.  Too bad because I do love the waterfalls.

Something else happened that day.  I've thought of it many times since my memory of the day returned.  At the end of the Lower Wind run there are four major drops, three falls and one slide, not in that order. We'd run the first 12 foot falls without incident and were running the tallest single waterfall, about 18 feet vertical.  It's so high that you can't see if the person ahead of you made it, so we just wait a few seconds between boats and then go.  Todd went ahead of me and I waited probably eight seconds, then committed to the drop.  When I crested the horizon line and could see my landing zone at the foot of the falls, he was swimming in it.

He had plunged too deep in the hole below the drop, gotten caught and held, and wet exited from his kayak in the hole.  It took him a while to surface and start floating downstream.  When I saw him I was already mid-air and headed straight for him.  I was afraid that the bow of my kayak would plunge into the water and hit him in the abdomen, rupturing his organs and killing him. That didn't happen.  Thankfully I'd hit a good enough boof from the top that my bow skipped off the surface of the water and I went right over his head.  But the trauma of believing that I was about to kill Todd has not left me.  I am going to require a better signalling system for running blind drops from now on.  I need to know that the landing zone is clear.  We have had trouble at this drop before and still we are too casual about it.
liveonearth: (moon)

Willing to die,

You give up

Your will, keep still

Until, moved

By what moves

All else,

......you move.


--Wendell Berry

liveonearth: (tiger approaching)

1. Anyone can survive for three hours without maintaining the core body temperature.

2. Anyone can survive for three days without water.

3. Anyone can survive for three weeks without food.

SOURCE

http://peaksurvival.com

Of course these are debatable but the gist of it is true.  What this perspective does is help you prioritize your actions.  The first thing you must do is maintain core body temperature.  Next, find water.  Then concern yourself with food.  Get obsessed with something else when you have no backup, and you may not survive.

liveonearth: (Kiva)

There is a great deal of difference
between loss, change, and transformation.
A loss is a step backward;
a change is an opportunity;
transformation is a step forward.
The common denominator in these three realities
is the fact that one must
give up something.
It is possible for both loss and change to lead to transformation,
but it is not possible for transformation to occur unless
something is lost and something is changed.

–Anthony Padovano

liveonearth: (critter 2)

Don't forget: We live during the least violent time in all of recorded human history. We have done this by abandoning tribalism and embracing the, cosmically speaking, very new ideas of compassion and empathy. What we are seeing are the death throws of an old morality, where honor and vengeance and the death you could inflict were how you judged yourself as a person.

So the proper response to a terrorist attack shouldn't be hate or bloodlust, but pity; pity for a group actively choosing to be forgotten and disregarded by the long eye of history.

--Keegan Blackler

liveonearth: (dont_be_heavy)

  • This epidemiologic analysis revealed that mortality rates are increasing in the middle-aged white male population, largely due to preventable conditions like poisonings and overdoses.

  • Reductions in mortality were seen in other racial groups.

ARTICLE from Medpage, primary care )


SOURCE

http://www.medpagetoday.com/PrimaryCare/GeneralPrimaryCare/54456
liveonearth: (skull candle book)

The relief of suffering and the cure of disease
must be seen as twin obligations
of a medical profession that is truly dedicated to the care of the sick.
Physicians' failure to understand the nature of suffering
can result in medical intervention
that (though technically adequate) not only fails to relieve suffering
but becomes a source of suffering itself.

--Eric J. Cassell

liveonearth: (old books)

I have been increasingly conscious, for the last 10 years or so, of deaths among my contemporaries. My generation is on the way out, and each death I have felt as an abruption, a tearing away of part of myself. There will be no one like us when we are gone, but then there is no one like anyone else, ever. When people die, they cannot be replaced. They leave holes that cannot be filled, for it is the fate — the genetic and neural fate — of every human being to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death.
--Oliver Sachs
(New York Times, Opinion, “Oliver Sacks on Learning He Has Terminal Cancer,” Feb. 19, 2015)


This from the FFRF blog: )

*Created tags for reason and humanism.

SOURCE
http://ffrf.org/news/blog/item/23735-remembering-oliver-sacks

liveonearth: (moon)
Over the Edge: Death in the Grand Canyon
by Tom Myers and Michael Ghiglieri


This book logs all the mistakes you can make at the Grand Canyon.  There's an interview with the authors here.  There have been some changes since the first edition.  There are more environmental deaths, climbing deaths down in the canyon, and suicides than when the book was written. There are fewer deaths overall and fewer falls from the top of the canyon. Perhaps the park has improved safety and access to cliff tops to cause this change.

Q: What are common risk factors for death at the Canyon?

A: "Men, we have a problem," Ghiglieri said to an audience at NAU's Cline Library this winter, displaying a graphic with a skull and crossbones.

Being male, and young, is a tremendous risk factor, he and Myers found.

Of 55 who have accidentally fallen from the rim of the canyon, 39 were male. Eight of those guys were hopping from one rock to another or posing for pictures, including a 38-year-old father from Texas pretending to fall to scare his daughter, who then really did fall 400 feet to his death.

So is taking unknown shortcuts, which sometimes lead to cliffs.

Going solo is a risk factor in deaths from falls, climbing (anticipated or unplanned) and hiking.

Arrogance, impatience or ignorance also sometimes play a part.


SOURCE
http://azdailysun.com/news/local/canyon-deaths-and-counting/article_ba588a05-e816-55be-87f6-80f15b76f744.html
liveonearth: (No Fear Mudra)
The only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism. It is not a creed. Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I want nothing more.
― Ayaan Hirsi Ali
liveonearth: (moon)
I am just home. The man who died was in his early 60's. He has three children. We were on the Farmlands section of the White Salmon. I am not accustomed to feeling completely useless but there I was unable to save a life. Many of us there unable to save a life, only 6 feet from shore. We were still trying to get his body free from the log when the search and rescue guys showed up with a chain saw, got him free in moments, but it was already too late, he had been under water for 40 minutes. Lots of processing going on.
liveonearth: (critter 2)
It's simple. All we have to do is let Ebola decimate the human population.
http://www.evolutionnews.org/2006/04/doctor_doom_eric_pianka_receiv002118.html
We are not the only or most important species, but we think we are.

Somehow it helps me to keep the big picture in mind. We live, then we die. Our species rises to dominance, then fades. The planet goes on. The Universe goes on.
liveonearth: (moon)
...is worth overdoing. That was their mantra.

Completely Recommend.
is worth overdoing. )
liveonearth: (officer?)
Statistics show that the "stroke belt" is also where you have the highest likelihood (in the US) of dying of cardiovascular and lower respiratory disease (smoking), cancer and accidents. Obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome are probable causes, but what about accidents? Why do southerners have the most accidents? Bless their dangerous little hearts....

SOURCE
http://consumer.healthday.com/cardiovascular-health-information-20/heart-attack-news-357/southeastern-states-have-highest-number-of-preventable-deaths-687436.html
liveonearth: (arched back)
If we don’t slow aging,
what’s the point of curing one disease
—we’ll just get another.

--Nir Barzilai
liveonearth: (Homer Simpson "D'oh!")
My notes are behind the cut. These ladies review some recent FDA approvals and critique the process. The upshot is that the FDA is fast-tracking drugs without following their own rules regarding the supposedly scientific and independent review process. My take: Don't Use New RX drugs until they've been on the market at least 10 years. Otherwise YOU are part of the longterm followup studies that they aren't doing before approval.

SOURCE
http://healthaffairs.org/blog/2013/01/25/antibiotics-when-science-and-wishful-thinking-collide/
my notes on Zuckerman & Yttri article )
liveonearth: (davinci cat)
Today I picked up this pet that I call "Kitten" and she felt significantly heavier---more like a cat than a kitten at eight years of age. She is so kittenish most of the time that the name is no stretch. She has been very good company this last week.
ruminations )
liveonearth: (moon)
If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together, there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart.. I'll always be with you.
~Winnie the Pooh



...and a fond goodbye to Dr Wilson, who taught us well and with great humor... he died two days ago in a motor vehicle accident...
liveonearth: (moon)
http://genealogy.az.gov/

Nobody expected it to get so many hits when they put it up last year. You can look up births and deaths in the state of AZ.
liveonearth: (moon)
The other day while challenging us with a case in which the patient needed extensive advanced medical care the prof asked "OK, what next?". I responded with "Does the patient have medical insurance?" And the professor joked that first on the TO DO list is a "wallet biopsy". We laughed. It is necessary to assess people's ability to pay for treatments, but too painful to use such terms with a patient. But at that point I decided that I need to begin collecting medical slang, not jargon but the most offensive and borderline slang that I hear. I have always been interested in language.

So tonight I was working on my homework assignment for clinic synthesis, and trying to find the abbreviations for a few things, when I ran across the wikipedia page listing medical slang. I have pilfered the entire contents of the wiki page, and started adding to it. I think this may be the beginning of something especially perverse. I LOL'd when I saw the definition of the acronym TEETH.

medical slang list here, not all offensive, moved forward from 2/20/09 )

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