The Unwired Medic

Teaching EMS providers & other public safety pros about using mobile tech to improve their practice, patient care, continuing education, scene safety, general entertainment, & productivity.

April 22, 2017
by The Unwired Medic
1 Comment

Product Review: GUNNAR Emissary Premium Rx Glasses

My desk on a good day

My desk on a good day.

Blue Light Is Harmful!

I’ve minced no words about it. I have not been ambiguous about the subject. Blue light is damaging your vision, wrecking your sleep patterns, and potentially contributing to many other health issues, and you may not even be aware of it!

In the last two years, a host of assorted health issues has been experienced by me, but it started with headaches. I had been migraine-free for three years. Three glorious years. Then like driving into a brick wall at 100MPH, BLAM! A migraine. Not just any migraine, mind you, but an 18-day duration migraine, beating my record of 4-days by leaps and bounds.

I wondered if my vision might have been contributing to my headaches. I had been wearing prescription glasses for almost a year and I was due for the annual eye exam. After a significant change in my prescription, I decided I wasn’t just going for replacements. I was going to finally buy the GUNNAR glasses I had seen at a couple previous CES (Consumer Electronics Show) conferences and was pretty impressed by what I learned and saw. Not only did I plunge into the depths of spending on high-end glasses, I went for the Premium Prescription (Premium Rx) and that set me back three hundred twenty-nine bones.

GUNNAR Emissary Glasses - Amber Lenses

GUNNAR Emissary Glasses – Amber Lenses

Believe me, it was worth every penny. My full-time gig is in IT for our region’s only trauma center.  I have 2 computers with 5 monitors on my desk, plus four 42″ wall displays giving me all the critical stats for our data center and enterprise backup operations. When I’m not there, I’m going to online college at WGU, or watching a bit of TV or movies with the family, or surfing the web and social media on my phone, and occasionally playing a video game. I’m reviewing products and writing blog articles. I’m on the patient care or education end of things when I’m not doing these other things, so I’m still in front of ePCR’s and projectors with PowerPoints. All of this takes its toll on Circadian Rhythms. It dries out your eyes. It contributes to tension headaches. It can do much worse.

Why the Premium Rx?

I knew I wanted a high-quality set of glasses, so I went for the Premium Rx, which are a bit more expensive than the standard Rx glasses, because these are computer ground precision lenses, and they are set precisely for the distance of a standard computer screen with tolerances the human eye can’t even detect. This mattered to me because I had only been wearing prescription glasses for a year. I was the last holdout in the family, with all of my family having gotten their glasses by 18, and I made it to 39. Even with this, the script changed considerably from the previous set a year earlier. I had to take a couple weeks to get used to walking with them. Now I can walk with them and it barely affects me. I still prefer to not use them unless I am reading fine print or a monitor.

How bad is the color shift?

Me, My GUNNAR Emissary's, and The Home Office

Me, My GUNNAR Emissary’s, and The Home Office

In addition to my IT and EMS talents, I occasionally dabble in graphic design and semi-pro photography. I’ll say that is when I break out the old standby’s and don’t do any color intensive work in my GUNNAR Emissary glasses. Otherwise, I can honestly say that in an office or indoor environment, I don’t even notice the color shift at all. When outdoors, they make everything brighter. I also work around a lot of LED lights that are green or amber, depending on the current system state. I have no problems distinguishing them. If the thought of the color shift bothers you, then GUNNAR has a “Crystalline Lens” option, which, naturally, doesn’t block as much of the blue light as the amber lenses. New this year, GUNNAR is also offering a Progressive Lens option, which for me will be great when I get a new set, since the eye doc says that’s no more than 3 years away.

What else sets these guys apart from other computer or gaming glasses?

That’s a fair question and it isn’t hard to answer. Let’s start with the patented technology they use. It’s more than a tint, it’s a filter. How about the double-sided anti-glare coatings? Even my expensive Oakley wrap-around sunglasses and Oakley prescription glasses reflected my own eye back onto the inside of the lens. Not a problem with the GUNNAR. In my latest office area, I have large fluorescent light fixtures shining down and behind me, and every other pair of glasses that I have worn has a huge reflection problem. How about the ultra-precise, computer controlled, prescription grind that no one else is offering? They have many styles to choose from, including WoW, Razer, and other co-op branded sets, each with a unique and styled appearance that sets them apart as the leader in the computer and gaming vision industry. If you want the science to back these claims up, they offer links on their site, and I offer them here on The Unwired Medic’s blog and social media pages.

The bottom line:

These glasses are just awesome. They are stylish, custom, and every bit of what they say they are. They are even endorsed by professional gamers around the world. Check them out on social media and on their website at https://gunnar.com. Let them know that The Unwired Medic from the  #GUNNAR1337 () sent you!

Disclaimer: The GUNNAR T-Shirt was a free gift from GUNNAR for being accepted as a brand ambassador. The GUNNAR Emissary Premium Rx glasses were paid for in full by me.

April 21, 2017
by The Unwired Medic
0 comments

Product Review: Magnum Stealth Force 8.0 SZ

Magnum Stealth Force 8.0 Side ZipThe nice folks at Magnum Boots have provided me with another opportunity to review a set of their boots, and this time, they sent me a set of Magnum Stealth Force 8.0 Side Zip boots.  This has been a unique experience for me as I have never had side zip boots before, so I was excited to see what so many of my friends and colleagues have been raving about.

Magnum Stealth Force 8.0 Side ZipPreviously, I have added the lace replacement zipper modules for my Danner’s, but I never really liked them because I felt that my skinny ankles lost a lot of support by not being able to cinch them down very tight.  I honestly had no such problem with the Stealth Force boots.  I felt they provided excellent ankle support after I finally adjusted them to where I felt I got the best mix of tension versus enough looseness to allow rapid donning and doffing.  This took me almost a month to refine though.  They do untie themselves about every couple of days.  I never found a solid tie method where they would remain tied, but the knot wasn’t so bulky as to cause blisters or pressure points.  It was a give and take relationship.

Although these aren’t my favorite boots for comfort, they certainly held up well to the rain, snow, floods, mud, and daily grind.  They are a durable boot and I would consider buying a set without the side zip option.  They provided excellent traction and foot protection, and were broken-in in under a week of daily wear.  No raw spots, and with my Under Armour socks, my feet came out dry and not odoriferous.  Personally, I felt the support was better than the lace replacement for my old Danner’s, but I don’t think I gained any remarkable advantage by having the side zip.  I want to clearly note that my experience is in the minority.  I know several people with these boots and they absolutely love the side zip option.  The best I can say is to try it out for yourself.

What these boots did lack was the ability to secure a boot knife.  I tried a couple different boot knives (2.5″ blade anPrisoner In Bootsd 4″ blade) in many different positions, but they fell out every time. One, I lost walking into the IMAX debut of Rogue One when it was just a light rain and I dodged a couple awnings dripping right into my path. Fortunately for me, a group of friends attending with me were just a bit behind me and they found it and returned it to me. I find this frustrating because I like having a backup tool available that’s not too inconvenient to access, plus my boot knives tend to stay a lot sharper than my 11-year old SOG Flash II EDC folding knife, which I literally use daily.  If I were to add only one improvement, I would like to see a way to add a boot knife holder.  I saw one set of boots a few years ago that tried this, but never bought them. Maybe something that could lace through the sheath.

In summary, despite my personal preference for non-side-zip boots, they are rugged, durable, and comfortable, especially when paired with a high quality, moisture-wicking sock, and they are well worth every penny you will pay for them.  My thanks to the Magnum Boot company for allowing me to evaluate and review another pair of fine boots.

March 4, 2017
by The Unwired Medic
1 Comment

I hope your mother reads your article

So, there’s this little article from February 28th in Psychology Today being circulated about the interwebz, authored by one Peter Edelstein, M.D. and it is entitled If You Go to the Hospital, Get Ready to Yell…

It’s a story about how you can supposedly positively influence your care, or that of a loved one, by being a complete and utter asshole. Could things at the hospital have gone better? Sure, they probably could. Perhaps you considered whether to call an ambulance for your mother, whom you suspected was having another TIA, but you didn’t. I shudder to think of how you would have treated the EMS providers, had you been present in time for them to provide care and transport. Your faux pas has even inspired GomerBlog to depart from medical satire and offer critique onTwitter about how you could have handled that like a sensitive 90’s guy and been a better behaved man. Wow. That’s one for the ol’ CV.

As for me, Dr. Edelstein, I would offer you my feedback here instead as I do not subscribe to Psychology Today:

Dear D!ck… I’m sorry, Peter: That your article appears in Psychology Today is a bit of an irony as your article paints you as one with a serious personality disorder telling others how they should expect to behave overaggressively when dealing with healthcare matters.  Did you learn your professional manners at charm school? Perhaps the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine taught you to be verbally abusive to people who probably make a lot less money than you and are probably consistently working a lot harder than you. You sure aren’t reflecting well on your alma mater. The only credit I’ll give you is that you didn’t start throwing $h!t around like a spoiled brat, which, sadly, I have seen more than once. I think you gravely misinterpreted the book, How To Win Friends And Influence People. It would serve you well to watch the video from The Cleveland Clinic, Empathy: The Human Connection To Patient Care. It’s easy to find on YouTube and it will take less than five minutes of your precious time.  This video highlights how you, and all of us, really, should consider patients and fellow caregivers alike.  You see, you have no idea what the hospital staff you so easily chastise have gone or are going through, or what their shift has been like. You can’t see what is happening right outside your own ER room door. I agree that some things could have been done quicker or you and your mother (God bless her) could have been better informed, but your reaction is inexcusable. Had you done that on my shift, at the very least you’d be sitting in the waiting room with your very own security guard or peace officer to keep you company. I do, most sincerely, hope that your mother reads your article.


Now, as I penned this, I looked around to learn more about the good doctor and found he wrote a follow-up article just this very day here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/patient-power/201703/touching-very-raw-nerve, where the author backpedals about what he wrote after admitting to being crucified on social media by hundreds of nurses and a few doctors, and rightfully so. To this, I can admit to saying things in the heat of the moment, but I have learned that putting it in writing on the internet for all the world to see, then not bothering to update the original article to express how I shouldn’t have said what I said, and how I said it? That’s bad practice. You earned every bit of your tarnished reputation, sir. Say what you mean and mean what you say when it goes on public display.

Of note: Psychology Today has taken down the original article that brought forth the wrath of nurses scorned. When you try to access the article, you get this:

Access denied to the article that was posted six days ago.

Access denied to the article that was posted six days ago.

 

However, thanks to the internet that never forgets, if you wish to read the Google web cache version, it is here: https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache%3AQVgNIZzjcrYJ%3Ahttps%3A%2F%2Fwww.psychologytoday.com%2Fblog%2Fpatient-power%2F201702%2Fif-you-go-the-hospital-get-ready-yell+&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

January 13, 2017
by The Unwired Medic
0 comments

What’s (Not) Wrong With Me?

Preshospital Mental Health

Mental health issues have been given, rightly so, a LOT of attention on social media. We see it in places like the Code Green Campaign, TED talks, a Mental Health First Aid card course, and in our trade magazines. Then there is Dansun Photos and art that show a lot of what we feel. Then we reach out to the assorted forums on Facebook and we talk through it there and maybe make light of it with Gallows Humor.

anxiousI recently had a question asked in one forum where there were a couple of pediatric calls, back to back, that were what many would say are definitely emotionally taxing, except this EMS professional didn’t feel shocked in any way about what had just transpired. He treated the situation clinically. He simply moved on to the next call.

He took to the forum to ask of his trusted compatriots if something was wrong with him. This struck a chord with me because just a few weeks ago, I also asked if there was something wrong with me.  The statistical data that were available said that people with PTSD or other emotional issues, specifically related to the work we do, comprised a much smaller percentage of providers than either of us imagined.

The Social Media Paradigm

As we peak in to the information age, social media has given us a new set of realities and normalcy. Suddenly, you see issues being championed by multiple sources, whether it is LGBTQ+, racial issues, eco/environmental issues, or whatever, we as a society, are seeing much more than we would in the absence of social media. I’ve been in EMS since 1994, so I am approaching 23 years in this field. Before social media, there was only what we saw on Rescue 911 and TLC’s Paramedics. We talked it over in social cliques, or maybe at “choir practice”. We had a view of what was either within our realm of influence or what we learned about from the media.

Now, we add social media, and what we see is a growing community of people that have much in common, and we have an emotional outlet as well. In fact, social media is really giving us a myopic view of the world, so much so that my esteemed colleague and I came to ask what was wrong with us for not feeling depressed, emotionally fraught, or turning to alcohol or other substance addiction, for not being on antidepressants and anxiety meds, and for not staring down the barrel of a shotgun.

Social media is tricking us into believing that a vocal minority is the new norm. We should keep that in perspective when we peruse and partake in it. Personally, I haven’t held onto a traumatic experience for more than a couple days before I’m the same old me. That doesn’t mean I have Aspergers or am bereft of emotion, or even a sociopath. On the contrary, I am quite empathetic and emotions do hit me. I have great respect for the gravity of a situation and those it affects, like the patient, family, friends, and even bystanders. I just have a knack for leaving work at work. It’s clinical for me, not personal.

Know when to reach out

That said, never hesitate to reach out if you do have a concern about your mental health. It no longer is something we should lose our jobs and future advancement opportunities over. It isn’t a burden the family should bear with you for your choice of career. Even the “tough guys” need to find a nondestructive outlet for what they bottle up inside.  If I had it all to do over again, I assure you I would take a lot more vacation time and spend more time with the family, especially on holidays.

Nex Band

November 17, 2016
by The Unwired Medic
3 Comments

Product Review: Nex Band Smart Bracelet

Nex BandAt CES 2016 (the International Consumer Electronics Show), I saw a pretty inventive company that was making a smart bracelet with interchangeable modules that you snap in an out, and each of these smart modules was programmable to allow different features. Neat concept overall. Honestly, I didn’t write about it until now because it was still a proof of concept and not quite ready to market. It was a neat idea, but it was bulky, and the overall sentiment for smart watches was they couldn’t be too bulky, even for the sake of new and expansive features. But, I kept them in mind for when they evolved their device into a production ready unit.

That’s all changed as of today.  The Nex Band has arrived. Far upgraded from the concept I viewed at CES, this device is no less than incredible and the possibilities are endless.  The video below will show you more of a social aspect to the band. It can be integrated into your home’s smart devices, like garage door openers, gate openers, security lighting, or join with many other smart devices in your home. It has a great social aspect, such as being able to detect close proximity to friends, auto message sends, tagging locations for reminding you about things, like making a Yelp review, or adding a restaurant to your favorites list.

It has a gaming aspect as well. Imagine playing a virtual “tag, you’re it” game while working in a System Status Management agency. When I worked at MedStar, a traditional game was to place a special bowling ball on another crew’s ambulance, in a cabinet, on their gurney, etc., so when they took a corner, accelerated, or braked, they had to call their unit on the air and declare that they had the ball. So every crew tried to avoid the crew with the ball. Sometimes, the mass of six or seven ambulances at a hospital would mysteriously disappear and the ball was left on the driver’s seat. The Nex Band bracelet could be used like this too, along with a “no tagback” rule.

Check this out…

Seems pretty cool, eh? So let’s talk about the serious aspect of the utility that the Nex Band can provide.

Let’s say you have a family member that has Rheumatoid and Osteo Arthritises (sp?), or COPD or CHF. Maybe they’re getting some knee replacements shortly since there is literally no cartilage left in their knees. They also have been given their first smartphone, like a Samsung Galaxy J3 V, with “Easy Mode”. They aren’t moving the best and we’re afraid they might fall again (one visit from the fire department for a lift assist is enough to realize it’s getting worse and they don’t want to be in an assisted living facility). As much as we would hope they would carry their phone everywhere in the house, it isn’t going to happen for a late night bathroom visit, or just to get up and get a meal. Enter the Nex Band. A slip and fall can be dealt with by a simple push of a pre-programmed button that calls their son or daughter, or sends a pre-programmed text message saying they need help, or dials or texts an E9-1-1 PSAP. Another button turns on the speakerphone so they can talk from where they fell. A medication reminder may be programmed for another button. Another could remind them to do their physical therapy and respiratory exercises. Another can open the garage or unlock the front door for emergency responders and turn the lights on.

How about for us in EMS and public safety? We could use it as a panic button for when we find ourselves needing the cavalry on a call, since pushing a button on a bracelet is far more discrete than picking up a radio or phone and calling a MAYDAY alert, and that might get you shot or make you the target of an aggressor. It could be used by a flight crew as well (I’m okay, I need help, MAYDAY, on scene, transporting, etc.).

Do you see where I am going here? There is no limit to the amount of benefit to the pre and peri-hospital and general medical fields. The Nex Band can help with nearly any home therapy or call for assistance we can provide. It can be a safety device for crews that cannot speak or use a radio. And it’s waterproof. It’s still a bit bulky, I admit, but it isn’t like any other smartwatch out there. You can adjust each module from the app, or you can hack each module if you want even more customization. When I saw them at CES, you could even integrate it with IFTTT.

Learn More:

They’re getting ready to come to market soon. If you want to learn more, you can sign up on their site for more information here: The Nex Band

November 14, 2016
by The Unwired Medic
2 Comments

Product Review: Magnum Response III 6.0 Boots

I see this question often on Facebook and Twitter: “What boots should I get for EMS?”

About a year ago, Magnum was looking for wear testers and I signed up to see if I could join in. It’s a neat program that allows you to check out a few Magnum product and you can keep them. They do put out requests for wear testers on their social media pages, so make sure to follow Magnum on Facebook and Twitter.

A few months ago, they sent me a welcome package with a t-shirt, water bottle, some decals, a guide book, and my first product to test and review.  I was asked to review the new Response III 6.o boots.

 

Magnum Response III 6.0 BootsThe last time I wore Magnum/Hi-Tec boots was in the Marines in 1995.  I only got to wear them on duty for about 3 months, then the regs changed and we couldn’t wear them any more. In that 3 months, I completely wore them out. They were comfortable, like tennis shoes. They were very popular among Marines (at least at MCB Pendleton). Since then, I have worn Danner, almost exclusively. Other brands were just not comfortable and able to handle the daily grind of working in EMS and for recreational hiking.

Get Kilted - Get Checked

Get Kilted – Get Checked

That I was able to review these boots was perfect timing for me, with my latest Danners wearing out. I have been wearing these boots for about four months now. They have proven to be quite durable and very comfortable as well. I have even worn them with my kilt during the annual September Kilted To Kick Cancer campaign.

What’s this all a-boot?

I wear a 10.5 to 11.0 boot and these boots fit like a glove right out of the box. I found them comfortable to wear, with good padding throughout the footbed, and they provided me with good arch support. The sole is flexible, but firm. It appears to be a non-replaceable rubber/plastic hybrid. There is a good amount of grip on them with broad grooves (great for channeling water away) and even walking across wet surfaces, I found I didn’t lose even a little traction. The other nice thing is that they don’t collect junk, which is important for me, as I work full-time in our area’s local L2 Trauma Center’s IT Data Centers. One of the two sites I work at has two retention ponds and a creek between them. So, it is blessed with a large flock of annual resident Canadian geese. They leave mushy poo everywhere, and as good as the facilities team is about keeping walkways clean, they are simply outnumbered. It is important not to track stuff into a data center. We keep the rooms as clean as a high-end hospital’s trauma bay. Not quite sterile, but exceptionally clean. Anti-static also is important, and the rubber compound does not disappoint. I walk across sticky mats before each entry to the data centers, and when I step on them, I look at the footprints left and they are pretty clean… moreso than the Vibram soles I have on other boots.

You may think that doesn’t reflect what we do in EMS, but I can tell you that I am frequently kicking freight boxes and pallets, climbing in and out of raised floors and metal server racks, running carts, climbing ladders, and much more. I often catch the toes on snags of metal and server rack doors. I’m pretty rough on my boots.

As far as EMS goes, I have worked a couple shifts and found them to be very supportive for the ankle, easy to quickly put back on when the tones drop. They have one catch on each side for speed lacing. I would prefer true speed lacing loops over the catches, personally. Splashing through decent puddles (1-2″ deep) is no challenge and no water leaks into the boots. When I wear them for 12 hours at a time, my feet come out dry and cool. (Note, I usually wear Under Armour boot socks with any boots.) By the end of the 12 hours, I am ready to take them off for a while, but I’m now in my 40’s, so that seems to be the case with any footwear for me.

I think my Magnum Response II 6.0 boots are more durable than the Shadow Trooper's!

I think my Magnum Response II 6.0 boots are more durable than the Shadow Trooper’s!

The toes are not reinforced on these boots, so if I had the option, I would prefer at least a reinforced toe, or a steel toe option. Ankle support is less than an 8″ or 10″ boot (which I prefer), but not bad for a 6″ boot. I haven’t rolled an ankle on a hike over semi-rough terrain. Aesthetically, they look like black work boots. I’m finally at the point where I feel a good polishing is due. They have held up well to scuffing so I haven’t needed to do that yet.

The Verdict:

Overall, I’d give them an 8/10. I am not sorry I got my hands on these boots. They are comfortable, durable, and attractive. I wear them at work and off duty. They provide good support and protection. They are comparable in quality and durability to much more expensive boots, like Danner. If the speed laces and reinforced/steel toe were available, they’d have scored a perfect 10. Not bad for a MSRP of $79.99.

Learn more about the Magnum Response III 6.0 boots and the Response Boots series at http://us.magnumboots.com/response-series.html

Do you have a favorite work boot? Share yours in the comments!

November 3, 2016
by The Unwired Medic
0 comments

I’m tired of Facebook EMS forums

Most Facebook Forums

It is more than a little disheartening to find so many EMS forums on Facebook that are focusing on less important issues. You can find hundreds or even thousands of posts with essentially what amounts to gore porn, and asking about the best boots to wear, which stethoscope should I buy, and, literally, “I failed my exam twice. Do you have any tips to pass the exam?” By the way, about every five posts is an advert for Teespring or some other shirt maker hawking stupid slogans like, “I’m here to save your ass, not kiss it!”, and “Being an Emergency Medical Technician is not a career, it’s a post apoloclyptic survival skill!” Give me a break.

What I don’t see much of is EMS pages on Facebook that talk about clinical excellence, best practices, evolutionary tactics and treatments in EMS, alternative uses of medications, expanding our knowledge base and clinical aptitude and competency. So when I do come across groups like that, I tend to stick around, and occasionally I even help admin them. My blog and Facebook followers are higher caliber providers and I know that most, if not all, of you want to learn and be the best medics you can be for your patients. I’m going to give you a list of pages worth checking into for more about actual medicine and less about hero worship and people too lazy to research questions before posting yet another redundantly redundant, no-skill, knowledge-less, drivel ridden post.

Where to look to learn and contribute to the improvement of your care and all of EMS:

Believe me when I say that these pages are chock full of the latest peer-reviewed science and medical evidence. There are some real superstars of EMS lurking in these forums. Big national names, quiet, unassuming medics, flight medics, post-secondary educators, biologists, attorneys, expert witnesses, ER nurses, EM physicians and medical directors, public health people, and yes, there are some egos that tend to bump heads, but there really should be all of that. Without some vigorous discussion (that doesn’t decay into a childlike tantrum), we may never see improvement. It’s fun. It’s the stuff you’ll need for ACLS EP/CCEMT-P/FPC/CCP preparation, protocol and guidelines development, tips to improve your presentations, and oh so much more. Closed groups are closed to keep the average time-clock puncher out of the way. If you can be serious about what the forum exists for and use it to sharpen your sword, then ask to be let in. Most likely, you’ll get in. Be prepared to see far more than anything you’re likely to encounter in an ordinary EMS CE course.

September 18, 2016
by The Unwired Medic
0 comments

Kilted To Kick Cancer Campaign 

Kilted To Kick Cancer LogoSeptember is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. I volunteer my efforts to support a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization called Kilted to Kick Cancer. All of September, an army of men wear kilts when practical to start the conversation, because people are naturally inquisitive about “what’s going on under there?”

This conversation starter opens the door for us to proselytize about male-specific cancers, including Testicular and Prostate Cancers. People openly talk about Breast Cancer, and you see pink ribbons and shirts all over. Rightfully so. 1 in 7 women will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer in their lifetime and 1 in 30 will die from it. The PR machine for raising awareness and funds is tremendous. A few women in my family have died of breast cancer, which can put my own daughter at risk.

As serious as those statistics are, we pay attention to them, but men don’t really talk enough about their own sex-specific risks. 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in their lifetime and 1 in 30 will die from it. You read that correctly. The statistics are the same as for Breast Cancer.

Get Kilted - Get Checked

Get Kilted – Get Checked

What can you do about it? 

First, talk about it! Let’s make it as conversational as Breast Cancer! It is no less or more serious.

Second, get checked. The PSA blood test is far too unreliable, so you need to get the gloved finger treatment. Don’t like it? Suck it up! Women have mammograms done annually and they’re uncomfortable. Women also have pap smears annually. They endure. Man up and get in to your doctor annually and get it checked. If found early, it is very treatable.

Third, visit www.kiltedtokickcancer.org and make a tax-deductible donation for Prostate Cancer research. Click on the “Donate Now” button. You can make a one-time donation, and new this year, you can make a monthly donation. The donation billing form has a place to select a team at the top and I’d appreciate it if you select “Team Unwired Medic” so I can get some bragging rights with other fundraising teams. Thank you!

Fourth, make your own team! Get Kilted! Become a champion of this cause! Then go forth and spread the word and fund raise!

 

F.A.Q.:

Do I have to be Scottish to wear a kilt? Not at all. In fact, utility style kilts, like the ones found at Alt.Kilt are getting to be quite fashionable and a regular sight! They’re extremely popular at fairs and events, like Burning Man. There are other, inexpensive ways to get kilts, but they are not made as durable as a traditional Scottish kilt. Economy kilts can be found at many places on the web, and they’re great for wearing for less formal occasions and for daily wear. I got my Leatherneck Tartan kilt as a package with sporran, sock flashes, kilt, and shirt at Sport Kilt. The royal blue utility kilt (seen in picture above) was a project my mother-in-law helped me make and we found patterns with a quick search on the web.

What’s the difference between a kilt and a skirt? A kilt has an apron in the front and is pleated all the way around. A sporran (the bag that sometimes has tassels on it) is commonly worn with a kilt, but not always. For the rest, I will have to leave that to your imagination. 😉

What do have going on under there? It’s a kilt, not a skirt! 😉 Also, see the previous question.

Can I start my own fundraising team? Absolutely! Either use the contact form on the KTKC website, or e-mail justin@kiltedtokickcancer.org

Do you play the bagpipes? Not yet. They’re a bit pricey, at least $1400 for a decent set and I have my eye on a custom Marine Corps edition for $5,800, but I’d be happy to learn if I could get my hands on one. Playing the bagpipes is not a prerequisite for wearing a kilt, and in fact, when playing the pipes, a different style kilt specifically for pipers is worn.

 

More articles to read about male-specific cancers:

Note: My blog links will include other links to kilt makers, D-I-Y kilts instructions, and much more…

“Man up, Marines!” http://unwiredmedic.com/2015/09/03/man-up-marines/

“Let’s Talk About Your Dangly Bits” http://unwiredmedic.com/2015/09/03/lets-talk-about-your-dangly-bits/

“Are You Kilted?” http://unwiredmedic.com/2014/09/18/are-you-kilted/

The Ambulance Driver (Kelly is a great sport about all this, even helping out the underdogs, like me): http://www.ambulancedriverfiles.com/kiltedtokickcancer/

August 25, 2016
by The Unwired Medic
0 comments

EpiPens too expensive?

So it’s all over the media and social media platforms. EpiPens have jumped in price more than 400% in recent years. I was advised by my allergist to carry them in 2007, and I did for about 4 years. Then they became too cost prohibitive, and that was when they weren’t in the $400/set range. I had to stop buying them every year.

Fast forward to last year, and I suddenly have an episode of anaphylaxis and status asthmaticus. I spent a few days in the hospital and was on high-dose steroids for a couple months.  Those EpiPens were looking like a bargain now. I was able to get a set of Auvi-Q epinephrine autoinjectors, but they were later found to be ineffective at delivering full doses so they were recalled and I got EpiPens, which were now (again) without competition in the marketplace.  Lack of competition means that their dollar and fifty cents worth of drug in an auto-injector could be priced at whatever they want to price it at. Even with insurance from my primary employer, they were cost prohibitive, so I went to the EpiPen website to see if they had a copay savings card, and they did. My card reduced my copay to only $5. This year, the makers of EpiPens made the copay card even better by reducing the copay to ZERO dollars and it is good for up to twelve EpiPen sets (the two-pack, not the singles) per year. Then the card expires and you have to sign up again.

EpiPen Copay CardThe only requirements are that you have a commercial insurance plan, and you are over 18. If that fits you, then go to their website and sign up and print your card, then take it to the pharmacy. The bad news is this is for individuals, not for organizations like volunteer fire and EMS, and if you have Medicare, Medicaid, or TRICARE, you are ineligible.

https://www.epipen.com/copay-offer

August 1, 2016
by The Unwired Medic
0 comments

TempTraq – Product Review

TempTraq is a wireless temperature monitor for consumers, but it has the potential to be quite useful for healthcare applications and for prehospital/perihospital care.

How does it work:TempTraq by Blue Stacks Technologies

TempTraq by Blue Tracks Technology is a single-use device for wireless temperature monitoring that is compliant with ASTM E1112-00 (standard for accuracy in digital thermometers).  It uses a simple push-button activation on the temp probe that activates it and then it has a life-span of 24 hours after initial activation.  You connect to the wireless temperature monitor via a smartphone app for Android or iOS and your device’s Bluetooth connection and can configure the app to display Fahrenheit or Celcius.  The wireless temperature monitor connects with the app and your smartphone using a unique identifier.  The app has the ability to allow the user to configure parameter alarms, for instance, in case a temperature spike is encountered.  The app gives digital and graphical readouts of the monitoring results.  No patient identifiable info is transmitted via the temp probe, so if an eavesdropper comes in to range with several of these devices in operation, there would be no way for them to know which device belongs to which wearer.

Although the technology is still confined to the consumer workplace, it could be of value to us in EMS even now.  Temperature monitoring with a full capability monitor is not always feasible.  Think of Foley temp probes, for example.  Invasive and expensive.  This would be useful in monitoring a febrile child with seizures or an infection and could be transferred to the receiving hospital upon transfer of care.  If a patient were to be seen in an Urgent Care or ER, then they could be monitored periodically by staff to see if their fever has broken or spiked.  Oncology units could use this to monitor patients receiving chemo infusions.  Long-distance transfer patients could also be monitored for temperature spikes.

My product evaluation:TempTraq Wireless Temperature Probe

TempTraq wireless temperature monitoring was easy to get going.  I downloaded the free app from the Google Play app store and got it running with Bluetooth active on my smartphone.  I simply followed the directions on the packaging for the wireless monitor and applied the temp probe to my left axilla.  I connected it by performing a search in the app for the unique “Patch ID”, which you can customize with a personalized name (perhaps a child’s or patient’s name).  You can monitor several devices at a time, so let’s say you have a house (or waiting room) full of sick kids and you need to track all their temps, you shouldn’t have any problem as long as you are within a few yards of the person wearing the TempTraq, which should be easy to achieve in a waiting room or in a typical single-family home.  It is removable and re-applicable for bathing and should not be applied over any open skin wounds.

TempTraq App ScreenshotIt would be easy to see first responders and prehospital care providers use a system like this.  Say a first response crew arrives on scene, they could add this device to the patient’s axilla in a clinically appropriate situation, and then activate it, documenting the findings.  When the patient care/transporting crew arrives, they can assume monitoring and collect all the temperature recordings logged to that point, and continue monitoring throughout transport.  When care is handed to the hospital staff, they can keep using the system and uploading the temp logs into the patient’s chart.

I wore the monitor for a full 24 hours.  It was noticeable, but not uncomfortable.  I can imagine a toddler absent-mindedly picking at it.  The adhesive seems to be consistent with hypoallergenic tapes, making it usable for sensitive skin.  The monitor collected readings of my temps throughout the night while I slept and when I reconnected the app and phone, it downloaded all the data from the time of my last connection.  In short, it worked exactly as described.  I did not attempt to induce any false temperature elevations during my trial of the TempTraq.  The app allows custom alerts to be sent and allows the user to add notes, like when a medication is given to the wearer (for example, if Tylenol is given to the wearer with a fever).

What would I make different:

I think the product documentation could be slightly improved by explaining the normal ranges of temps for axillary temps versus oral or rectal temps.  The company is already working with various health partners in the US to integrate readings into EMR systems, like Epic.  I had to perform a hard reset of my Android device after using the TempTraq and as a result, I lost all the data from my product trial, so there is no cloud account to retain information.  The simplicity of the app is a strong benefit to using it, giving a very small learning curve to the user, which helps eliminate confusion in usage.  Otherwise, I don’t see any need to improve or modify the system.

I wish to thank the reps at TempTraq for giving me this opportunity to review the TempTraq wireless temperature monitoring system.