Tuesday, February 28, 2006

South Mountain Park hike

Becky and i went for another hike this weekend, this time at one of phx's city parks, called South Mountain Park, just south of the city. it wasnt any major hiking though. we drove to the top lookout spot called Dobbins Lookout, parked and hiked a little from there.

i usually like to include some pics right here on my blog, but lately i have been having a hell of a time pasting them in, so instead i quickly uploaded them to my online photoalbum and will provide a link below. I suggest using the slideshow option to view them.

Pics from South Mountain Park, Phx, AZ

winter is the time that most people are active in Phx, since the temps are actually bareable. it was a nice 80 degrees F and sunny. one of the things i do like about Phx is the common sight of the saguaro cactus (pronounced swaro, dont ask me why). see the picture above for an example. although very common around here they only naturally occur in a relatively small area encompassing southern arizona, part of southern california and a small area in northern mexico. its the type of cactus that most people think of when they think of the desert or the southwest. they are really neat and add a little flare to the landscape. dont get too close to one though.....ouch!!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Instructor story

a middle-aged, well-to-do female patient comes in for a simple out-patient treatment involving the injection of contrast between two of her upper cervical vertebrae. to help create a sterile field at the site of injection, my instructor shaved several small hairs from the back of the patient's neck. the patient was made aware of this in the waiting room well before the procedure was begun. the injection was quickly finished and the procedure continued normally.

weeks later my instructor learned that the patient had made clear her intent to sue the hospital on the grounds that her image had been damaged as a result of the hairs on the back of her neck being removed. her lawyers met with the hospital's lawyers and a settlement was agreed upon.

outcome: the patient received a settlement from the hospital in the form of a months worth of free beauty treatments at a local hair salon including perms, colorings and stylings, and the hospital requested that the radiology department change its policy so that only physicians could perform shaving/hair removal for any given procedure performed in the department.

CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT!!!??? there is no limit to how low some people will stoop to get a free ride. it sickens me! for all those in healthcare out there, CYA!

how i'll make my millions

*sigh* i have resorted to selling my body for money. well, more specifically parts of my body. And even more specifically my blood plasma.

our budget has become quite tight lately, since i'm an unemployed student and we're paying two rents and two food bills. since i will only be living here for another 6 months, i didnt want to have to get a job, which i would have to quit even before the training was over anyway. but i still wanted to be able to contribute, however minimally, to our family income. so i decided to check out the local plasma centers.

turns out there are several in Phoenix, and as luck would have it there are two very close to my school. so i dropped by one on the way home the other day and looked into "donation". before i knew it i was given a cup to pee into and being given a very thorough physical exam by a physician.

it was a very fluid process (stupid pun intended), and within 45 minutes i was in the back hooked up to a centrifuge with plastic tubes running from my arm to the machine. the needle was much bigger than any i have had for blood draws or even IVs, and as a result hurt more. now i am not a baby about pain. i have pain everyday in my back so i have become well acquainted with discomfort, but this needle hurt like a B!TCH! i told the nurse/phlebotomist this and she readjusted it so it hurt a little less. that was good enough for me.

i spent the next hour trying to read while, what some consider the your life force, was sucked out of me, filtered, spun, divided and returned to me all via a fun little CLEAR plastic tube and gargantuan needle stuck in my vein.

for some reason they keep the room very cold, I'm talking meat locker temperatures. Maybe this has to do with keeping the plasma viable, maybe its so people dont faint.....whatever the reason, it sucked. while your blood/plasma is in the machine the ambient temperature of the room has time to suck the heat completely out of it and by the time the red blood cells are returned to you they are about 20 or so degrees below your body temp. Once reintroduced into your body, it causes your body temp to drop, which for me is already a few degrees below normal most of the time. :-( i.e. I'm cold all the freakin' time!!

i did fine right up until the last 5 minutes, at which point i started to have a vasovagal reaction (a fancy way of saying i felt woozy). i tried to fight it. i told myself, "Dustin, its all in your head, suck it up!", but it didnt work too well. the nurse came over and asked if i was ok. i answered "i feel a little weird", and she replied "i can tell, your face is completely white.". at this point my vision started to get a little spotty, which wasnt too bad for me since it meant i no longer had to watch the stupid movie they had been playing the whole time i was there.

after about 15 minutes i was back to normal and ready to leave. they made me sit for another 5 minutes though because they said i still looked pail. i told them i just needed a tan, but they didnt buy it.

i plan to go back soon. its a good way to make some quick cash. you can give twice in 2 calendar days, but no more than twice every week. next time i go the process will be much faster since i wont have to do any of the paperwork or physical exams. and im hoping that next time i wont get so woozy.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

tip toe through the tulips.....

Since I am just a boring student and haven't started my clinicals, I don't really have any good stories to share yet. But our instructors do. They've already told us some great ones, so for now I'll tell those instead.

In our positioning class this week we are learning the positions for the lower extremities, which of course includes the toes.

One of my instructors came over while we were practicing the position for the big toe and it reminded him of a time when he imaged the big toe of a diabetic patient. Unfortunately, the patient's foot had very bad blood flow due to extensive arterial damage and the tissue of most of the toes was black and in an advanced state of deterioration.

Part of positioning the big toe for a laterial projection involves putting tape across the top of the toe and pulling it back so it isn't superimposed over the other toes. Well, when my instructor put the tape on the toe and went to pull it back, the tip of the toe came right off!! Fortunately (kinda), the necrosis was so bad that the patient didn't even feel it.

Of course, we asked our instructor what he did. He said that he promptly placed it in a plastic bag and sent it back to the nurse with the patient after the exam. As for what the nurse did with it, that's anyone's guess. Have you checked eBay, you can buy anything on there.........OK, sorry. Sick joke.

Monday, February 13, 2006

A hike, then Mexican

Becky and I had a great weekend. We kinda did our Valentines Day "festivities" a little early, since I will be 2 hours away on the actual day and this coming weekend she works Sat and Sun. bummer!!

We got up on Saturday morning nice a late and made what, I have to say, must have been just about the world's best omelet for breakfast. We lounged around for a while and then decided to go for a hike to burn of the muchas calorias that we planned to eat that night at Casa Bonita, a fantastic local Mexican restaurant. If you want good Mexican food, come to the Southwest!

We consulted our handy Flagstaff Trail Map and decided on Inner Basin Trail. A not-so-inspiring name for what turned out to be a beautiful trail. To get to the trail head you have to drive about 8 miles on this twisty-turny forest service road that wraps around a large cinder cone volcano called Sugarload Peak. The trailhead is located in Lockett Meadow, a beautiful, open meadow lined with aspen trees with views of several of the major peaks north of Flagstaff. Unfortunately, we got about 3 miles from the trailhead and came to a locked gate. So parked our car and decided to walk up at least to Lockett Meadow. So in most of the pictures below you will see the forest service road we hiked on rather than the trail.

Lockett Meadow at the trailhead with the San Francisco Peaks behind.

Becky in Lockett Meadow

Dustin in Lockett Meadow

Becky on a water break

Cinder cone volcano field

Grand Canyon can be seen as the little dip in the horizon.

Sunset Crater (a 5000 year old cinder cone volcano)

The Painted Desert on the horizon

Coming back down the trail afforded us with some of the best views on the hike. We could see several of the bigger attractions near Flagstaff, like Grand Canyon, the Painted Desert and Sunset Crater. That night we hit up Casa Bonita for some much needed enchilada calories.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Major radiographer slip-up

Article - Technologist Charged in Patient's Death

Can you believe that!? Scary!! Advice: KEEP THE TOXIC CLEANING SOLUTION AWAY FROM THE SIMILAR LOOKING CONTRAST MEDIA, PEOPLE!!! Plus, label your bottles.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

.....so i says to Mable, i says, rectum?! I damn near killed 'em!

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Beast

I wake up with an impending sense of doom. No, not from a pulmonary aneurysm (the nurses will get that joke), but from the knowledge that, yes, again I must drive back to The Beast (a.k.a. Phoenix). I do my homework, I pack, I clean, I do anything to put off having to leave my home to head back to the Valley of the Sun, but finally the hour of departure is upon me.

I load up my VW Jetta and pull out of the parking lot, watching my apartment building get smaller and smaller in the rearview mirror, knowing that I will be back in least than a week, but not wanting to leave just the same. I get onto I-17, the Downhill Racetrack, they call it, which will take me directly from Flagstaff straight into the heart of darkness.

In fewer than 150 miles I drop more than a vertical mile….TWICE! Let me explain. I leave Flagstaff, which lies at roughly 7000 ft above sea level, and for the first 60 or so miles of the trip, it is a beautiful, relaxing drive of gently curving highway passing through some of the prettiest land in the continental United States. Then I reach the Verde River Valley and the town of Camp Verde, at about 2000 ft above sea level, a net vertical drop of almost a mile. At this point I begin to grip the steering wheel with white knuckles, cinch up my seat belt and let my adrenal glad finally earn its keep.

I pass the small town of Camp Verde and before me looms the Verde Ridge, a steep rock escarpment which, after much twisting and turning, will bring me back up to about 6000 ft in the space of about 15 miles. Normally, this would be fun…great views, fun twisty driving….and it would be except that I am not the only one on the road this day. Unfortunately, there are lines of semi trucks slowly trudging up the slope and Grandpa Irving who thinks that if he passes 60mph he will spontaneously combust. Or, from the other end of the spectrum, Mr. Mid-Life-Crisis in his sports car, which if he lived to be 150 years old could never pay off, weaving in out of traffic and Billy Bob in his F-one-bazillion-fifty riding my ass with what I am pretty sure is a Chevy Aveo stuck in his grill like a sad little grasshopper. Either way, the next 15 minutes will be nerve racking and a test of my driving skills to say the least.

I do my best to pass slow vehicles in a timely manner even though we are heading up a 6% grade and my little four cylinder Jetta has balls about the size of juvenile humming bird’s. With luck I make it to the top and come over the crest of the ridge with not just my sanity but also my life.

The next hour of driving is fairly uneventful. By now I can do the twists and turns with my eyes closed and I can tell you exactly where the first saguaro cactus will show up. It’s when I hit the town of Anthem, the northern most suburb of The Beast, that I have to get my game face on. One would think that once you reach the suburbs, you aren’t far from the city. Not true in the case of The Beast. The city defines the term “urban sprawl”, from top to bottom it stretches almost 40 miles and is almost double that from side to side.

Lucky for me, I live in North Phoenix, so it is just another 15 miles, which amounts to 30 minutes of travel time with traffic, until I get to my place. In this time I am cut off twice, almost rear-ended and told I am “number 1” by a woman who looks to be in her mid to late 70s. Yeah, they drive aggressively around here. (If you didn’t get the “number 1” joke, click here.)

I finally make it home, in one piece, luckily. The drive from Flagstaff is such a contradiction. Most often, the trip goes just how I described it above, stressful and not very fun, but at the same time I am driving through some of the most beautiful country there is. It’s really a shame that I don’t take more time to enjoy the scenery rather than stressing about the driving habits of Grandpa Irving. When will I learn?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The creepiest site on the internet.

You Know You Are from Arizona When.....

You notice your car overheating before you drive it.

You no longer associate bridges or rivers with water.

You know a swamp cooler is not a happy hour drink.

You can hear the weather forecast of 115 degrees without flinching.

You can be in the snow, then drive for an hour...and it will be over 100 degrees.

You discover, in July it only takes two fingers to drive your car, because your steering wheel is so hot.

You can make sun tea instantly.

You run your a/c in the middle of winter so you can use your fireplace.

The best parking is determined by shade.....not distance.

Hotter water comes from the cold water tap than the hot one.

Flood insurance isnt even an option.

It's noon in July, kids are on summer vacation and yet all the streets are totally empty of both cars and people.

You get second degree burns from opening the car door.

Sunscreen is sold year round, kept right at the checkout counter.

You put on fresh sunscreen just to go check the mail box.

Some fools will market mini-misters for joggers and some other fools will actually buy them. Worse.....some fools actually try to jog.

You know hot air balloons can't rise because the air temperature is hotter than the air inside the balloon.

No one would dream of putting vinyl inside a car.

You can say "Hohokam" and people don't think you're laughing

You see more irrigation water on the street than there is in the Salt River

You can look around a restaurant and realize you are the only non-Native American there (especially in Flagstaff).

there is plenty of sun, plenty of heat, but no beaches.

You can pronounce"Saguaro", "Tempe", "Gila Bend", "San Xavier", "Canyon de Chelly", "Mogollon Rim", "Moenkopi", "Wupatki" and "Cholla"

You can understand the reason for a town named "Why"

You can fry an egg on the hood of a car IN THE MORNING!

You hear people say "but it's a DRY heat!", and then want to punch them.

You buy salsa and sunscreen by the gallon.

Cactus no longer seem exotic.

Your Christmas decorations include sand and 100 paper bags.

You think a red light is merely a suggestion.

You can be driving 85mph in a 65 mph zone on Loop 101 and still get passed by someone going 15 mph faster than you.

All of your out-of-state friends start to visit after October but clear out come the end of April.

Your lawn consists of gravel painted green (especially in Sun City).

You think someone driving wearing oven mitts is clever.

Most of the restaurants in town have the first name "El" or "Los."

You think 60 tons of crushed red rock makes a beautiful yard.

Your house is made of stucco and has a red clay tile roof.

You think driving with the windows down in the summer is for dare devils.

Most homes have more firearms than people.

Kids will ask, "What's a mosquito?"

People who have black cars or black upholstery in their car are automatically assumed to be from out of-state.