Heisenberg

Fortunately for us, we live in a part of New York City that was not severely affected by Super Storm Sandy.  Although we were forced to stay indoors for days, we did not suffer through flooding, power outages, and fires.  We consider ourselves incredibly lucky.  The biggest inconvenience that we encountered was the severe throttling of mass transportation due to flooded subways, lack of electricity, and a shortage of gasoline.  Again, we are counting our blessings.  The whole experience mad both Vanessa and myself seriously consider disaster preparedness in New York City.  As a former dweller of more rural environs, I found the experience to be more nostalgic than annoying; more of a challenge than a personal catastrophe; more of a chance to catch up on television and rest than to stress about things I could not control.  For Vanessa and myself, this meant diving into the AMC television series Breaking Bad. For those who are not familiar with Breaking Bad, the series follows the lives of Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with lung cancer; and of Jesse Pinkman, a twenty or thirty something stoner who makes ends meet by cooking crystal methamphetamine.  The story progresses as Walter or Walt or Mr. White, as Jesse refers to him, takes up cooking meth to pay for his cancer treatment.  It is a gripping storyline that is funny, dark, and not overly Hollywood.  Needless to say, Vanessa and I are hooked.  We successfully watched the first four seasons and have just started the fifth and supposedly final season. Throughout the show, we have been hyper critical...

Sudden Cardiac Arrest on the Soccer Field

In our infant and child workshops as well as in our certified classes, we always introduce the AED, or Automated External Defibrillator.  In fact, Vanessa always carries a live AED unit with her. The American Heart Association and the American Red Cross both include rapid deployment of an AED as a key component in successful resuscitation from sudden cardiac arrest. Sudden cardiac arrest is the number one killer in the Untied States, claiming over 350,000 lives annually. Realizing the importance of AED’s, state governments have been mandating their installation in public places. More specifically, the implementation of AED’s in fitness facilities is of great concern.  As most people are aware, the heart withstands a huge load during physical exertion. The likelihood of SCA occurring during or after a workout is great. No one is immune to Sudden Cardiac Arrest.  The recent episode involving English Premier League Footballer, Fabrice Muamba is a perfect example of this. Muamba is what we consider an “elite” athlete.  Coaches, teammates, and trainers all concur that this 23 year old was one of the best conditioned athletes in the entire league. Why then did a young man in the prime of his life fall lifeless on the pitch and lie there for nearly thirty minutes while medics attempted to restart his heart?  The answer lies in a pre-existing  condition called hypo tropic cardiomyopathy.  A congenital condition, cardiomyopathy equates to excess thickening f the heart muscle as a result of  an internal defect in the cardiovascular system.  The likelihood of SCA occurring in a person with SCA is ——– times higher than in someone with a...

Mr Who?

         For those of us that grew up, or spent time, in western Pennsylvania in the late 1970’ or early 1980’s there was a ubiquitous symbol that was plastered all over our homes.  I am not talking about the Steelers logo, nor am I referring to the labels of Iron City Beer.  What I am speaking of is the infamous Mr. Yuk.  Developed around 1971 by the Pittsburgh Poison Control Center, this nasty faced avatar became synonymous with household poisons and products dangerous to small children.  In the age of minimal environmental protection, harmful chemical proliferated the cabinets under sinks, in garages, and in laundry rooms.  Not surprisingly, a spike in poisonings was being observed by poison control centers.  Enter Mr. Yuk.  Complete with his own theme song, sheets of stickers were given to parents to affix on containers whose contents held any substance that could be construed as a poison.  We all knew Mr. Yuk.  Ask anyone between age 25 and 40 from Pittsburgh about Mr. Yuk, and chances are that person will start singing “Mr. Yuk is mean, Mr. Yuk is green”. As the eighties progressed into the nineties, and the nineties progressed into the new decade, the emphasis on Poison Control Education started to diminish.  New concerns such as SIDS and car seat safety became much more commonplace in the media outlets.  Recently though, there has been a resurgence in poison awareness.  In an article from The New York Times,  entitled “Poison Centers Facing Greater Risks all Around”  by Perri Klass, MD, this topic has been revisited.  In his article, Dr. Klass gives us the...