Sunday, June 20, 2010

Update Mania!

It's been a while I know, but I have good reasons I swear! A lot has happened in 2 months and I'll try to be brief. Skip around to specific sections if you like, I won't be sad.

This Blog
I just updated the look and feel of this blog to be up to snuff with the new blogger templates and designs. I rather like the new interface, although I could choke myself on the abundance of fixed width designs out there. Glad to see Plone still hasn't jumped the shark on liquid design. Oh wait...

I also went and updated code snippets from old posts with gists. I'm really happy with the support and although it's no posterous built-in it's easy enough.

Lately I've been blogging a lot more which means I've become pretty passionate about divvying up my blogging so content streams are consistent. I would hate for people to have to fiddle through stuff they aren't interested in. As a result, all of my Plone blogging is now on the PloneChix blog. If that's all you care about then head over there! It's also syndicated to PlanetPlone for your simplified user experience. I also started an unofficial idea blog to help me focus some of the cockameme ideas I've had since I "went solo". It's probably not appropriate for anyone really. This blog will remain my official point of contact for non-Plone tech posts, especially high level ideas, with the occasional personal update.

San Francisco/Work
The move to San Francisco was great and I'm super excited to be here. In short I'm extremely happy with the decision and life is already unfolding some very promising ventures.

In an surprising turn of events my company received a huge some of investment capital. It's not official yet so I can't explode the details but it's a crazy story nonetheless. This means I won't be spilling beans anytime soon about my departure and despite the funding effort, I have already migrated to a contractor role with the company.  The primary focus here will be a Plone 4 migration. After that I'm hoping to hand off the project to those who are happy to work in large system services interfacing - something I loathe entirely. The project has really grown up in the last 3 years, interfaces are solidified and features are stable, so I'm happy to pass the reigns to those that can take it the next level.

I will be dedicating 50% of my time to that effort at least until the end of the summer. The rest of my time is currently dedicated to exploring other opportunities, mostly in technology, and exploiting a new "tech bohemian" lifestyle. More on that in a later post.

Accident Report
Those that know me well will not be surprised by this at all. 1 week ago I was in a bike crash and am stuck inside for the next 5-6 weeks with 5 fractured ribs and a pneumothorax. I clipped a post on a multi-use trail which included me somehow crushing my ribs on my handlebar. I've probably fallen on my road bike 20 times and mountain bike plenty more but this just happened to be the unlucky one. Of course I clipped the post because I was not paying attention. I was not paying attention because 1) I was geek+climb talking with @sudarkoff and 2) I was feeling overly comfortable because I was on a "protected path". I usually ride in the road because Bernat claims that bike paths "are just asking for trouble". We used to argue about it but he definitely won this one. Just goes to show that comfort/apathy, no matter what sport you practice, is more dangerous than any most extreme situations.

And now it's time for consequences. I already did 1 triathlon this year and luckily had put off signing up for 3 more do to being lazy. I am going to bypass the rest of the season to focus on recovering and rebuilding. Although I was running and swimming my fastest ever before the crash, set backs like this are always a great time to rebuild with better technique.

Climbing will be halted a little longer, since climbing from my left upper body is especially precarious.  My trip to Pinnacles has definitely been cancelled and while I most likely won't make the Colorado Tweetup I'm shooting to be back in full force for the 2nd Annual Joshua Tree Tweetup. On a happier note, this injury will force me to do what every climber tries which is focus on feat, feat, feat!

On CT Scans
A quick little aside for anyone interested in a medical tidbit. When I was in the hospital I had a few x-rays and an abdominal CT scan. When the scan was done the radiologist said my kidney had spots - noise from a bad machine reading. My attending doctor said it may be blood clots and dosed me with a blood thinner (heparin) for a few days. A specialist finally looked at it and said "we'll just do another one later". When I was about to be discharged, the attending physician said that he didn't think the spots were "worth the risk" and discharged me without a followup CT.

Of course the specialist called me later that same day and wanted me to still come back for the scan. I had some insurance stuff to work out but then had a thought, what did he mean "worth the risk"? So I did a little research first. Turns out that an abdominal CT scan has the radiation equivalent of 400 x-rays, and the leftover radiation will stay in the system for about 2.7 years. Yikes!

Would I have turned down the first scan? No way. I absolutely needed it. However, I will be taking the risk and turning down the follow-up. I had no symptoms whatsoever of kidney problems and have already racked up 3 abdominal CTs in my life from a previous injury.

I am sharing because I was never informed of these risks, and had I not been discharged would have blindly gone in for the second CT scan. So if you took the time to read this blip and you or a loved one comes across a non-urgent decision to do a CT scan, especially abdominal,  please research the risks involved. When in doubt, get a second opinion!

That is all! See you at the next life changing event.


Kasey Hinchman said...

So glad to hear you are recuperating. This is a great post and very close to home for me; I thought some of the numbers below might interest you and clarify some of the risk:

* 1 CT is approximately equivalent to 3 years of background radiation

* The average radiation necessary for a chest x-ray is very small (.1 - .25 mrem) when compared to the 100mrem we receive a year from cosmic rays.

* You receive the same amount of radiation from standing in the sun for 30 seconds on a sunny day as you during a chest x-ray.

* Due to elevation residents of Denver, CO receive six times the amount of X-Ray radiation yearly when compared to the residents of Los Angeles, yet rates of cancer per capita are much worse for LA than they are for Denver.

* a chest CT is ~600 mrem or about the same as the background radiation experienced while living in Colorado for one year

* people who travel cross-country in airplanes are subject to cosmic radiation equivalent to approximately 25 chest x-rays each way

In my particular injury, the CT was necessary to find lost ligaments that had recoiled into my shoulder muscle after detaching from my elbow.

There was a study done at MIT last december stating some 20% of CTs and MRIs are unnecessary and present increased costs and risks for the consumer.

Fluids leaking in the chest cavity are pretty scary. The CT may not have been necessary, but I am still glad that they did it on you because it is the very best non-invasive study we can perform on a patient!
Get well soon!

eleddy said...

Hey Kasey! Thanks for the stats - for some reason I didn't get notification of the comment earlier :) Hope the arm is doing better as well!