San Diego Safari Park Fun with Ava

In January, Ava and I got a membership at the San Diego Zoo / San Diego Safari Park. So far, we have twice gone to the Safari Park, including yesterday. Ava is the perfect age and loves to see all the animals. We haven’t gone to the zoo yet but I think we will in the next couple of weeks. We got a Curator’s Club membership, which means I can bring any adult guest any time I go – it’s great. So yesterday my sister Caroline came. We only stayed for about 3 hours, but went on the Tiger Trail, visited the bats, watched the cheetahs, and enjoyed the Africa Tram. Can’t wait to go back soon.

 

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Instrument Checkride Oral Portion Prep: Explaining Wind Shear and How to Handle It

I’ve been busy preparing for the instrument checkride. I did well on my private pilot checkride, but this time I want to be even more prepared, so I will be less nervous. I’m going to start tackling subjects that I anticipate will be on the instrument checkride. Here is a video I made about wind shear, what it is, and what I will do if I encounter it.

New Year’s Day Flight to Catalina

Happy New Year!  Thought it would be fun to do a lyric video and since it was New Year’s Day, I tried to pick a fun song! Hope everyone had an amazing day yesterday and isn’t letting the newness of 2016 wear off. Today is Day 2 of book of 366 days! Can’t wait to see what is in store for 2016!! 

This video is yesterday’s flight out of Oceanside to Catalina! Weather couldn’t have been better and we saw a couple of whales out swimming around.  Rather than overflying the airport and doing a sort of circle back / teardrop entry on the 45 at KAVX , we flew over Two Harbors and came around the back and entered  on a 45 for right downwind for Runway 22.  Fun flight, and such a treat that Catalina is a short 55 mile hop from Oceanside! 

Government Accountability Office to Review Power Morcellators

powermorcellatorThe US Government Accountability Office announced yesterday it would be investigating the use of laparoscopic power morcellators, at the request of 12 members of congress, who cited the deaths of “hundreds, if not thousands of women in America” who have died from uterine cancer or other gynecological cancer.

Back in November of 2014, the FDA issued a black box warning to ensure physicians and their patients know about the risks of power morcellators. If you are unfamiliar, power morcellation is used in a non-invasive hysterectomy or myomectomy surgeries.  In a laparoscopic hysterectomy surgery, the uterus is minced up, (morcellated), into smaller pieces inside the woman’s belly cavity in order to be extracted from the abdomen. It can consist of a hollow cylinder that penetrates the abdominal wall, ending with sharp edges or cutting jaws, through which a grasper can be inserted to pull the mass into the cylinder to cut out an extractable piece.

But was the less invasive surgery really worth the risk? The advantage of using a morcellator device is of course, a smaller incision and quicker recovery. However, if the woman has undetected cancer such as uterine sarcoma, the breaking up of tissue can increase the risk of cancerous tissue being spread throughout the woman’s abdomen and pelvis. And this has happened a lot. Read much more on fredhutch.org. There have been dozens of reported incidents, and so far about 45 lawsuits have been filed in federal or state court.  The US Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has consolidated more than 20 lawsuits into an MDL (number 2652) which was approved in October.  Fortunately, the use of morcellators has largely been abandoned.

The companies being sued in power morcellation lawsuits include Johnson & Johnson, which makes the Ethicon Gynecare Morcellex Tissue Morcellator.

Ava Meets Olaf (the inflatable version)


Ava was gone for a few days in Oklahoma for the Thanksgiving holiday, and I missed her so much!! I had some time to do a little Christmas decorating, and while I was at Lowes shopping around, I saw an inflatable “Olaf” snowman from Frozen, our favorite movie. I knew she would just love it him, so I brought him home. When Ava got out of the car, she spotted the deflated snowman and immediately had to investigate. I went and plugged in his little fan, and whipped out my phone to capture the magic. She was so excited!

Xarelto Bleeding Lawsuit MDL Growing, More Lawsuits Filed

xarletoWe’ve been watching Xarelto lawsuits work their way through the legal system since the FDA first issued that warning letter to Johnson & Johnson back in June 2013. It was predicted that lawsuits would continue to be filed, and that’s just what’s happened. One of the legal blogs I follow, Lawyers and Settlements, reported this week that the MDL has more than 2,200 consolidated cases. That’s a lot more than 11 months ago, when about two dozen lawsuits were first consolidated back in December 2014.

Xarelto, generically known as rivaroxaban, was first approved by the FDA as an anticoagulant or “blood thinner” back in July 2011. In November 2011, the FDA approved it to reduce stroke risk in people with atrial fibrillation. In November 2012, the FDA approved Xarelto for deep vein thrombosis.

Xarelto is different than Coumadin / warfarin, the blood thinner that’s been on the market for decades. Unlike  Coumadin, patients taking Xarelto do not need to undergo routine blood tests. However, there is no antidote for Xarelto. With Coumadin, if a bleeding event occurs, a patient can be treated with Vitamin K, and usually the bleeding can be stopped. In a patient treated with Xarelto, a bleeding event is potentially life-threatening.  Bayer, the manufacturer of Xarelto, is working on an antidote. The first Xarelto-related death was reported to the FDA in November 2011.

The thousands of lawsuits that have been filed allege that patients were not warned that there was no antidote to Xarelto, One of the more recent lawsuitd was filed by Ashlie Fluitt, whose grandmother, Hattie Deville Goodwin, was prescribed Xarelto in September 2014 for her deep vein thrombosis. Two months after she began taking Xarelto, Deville-Goodwin experienced an intracranial bleed, which was irreversible and fatal. She passed away on November 14, 2014.

The first bellwether Xarelto cases will likely go to trial early in 2017. From the thousands of cases now in the MDL – and those projected to have come forward by the start of the New Year – 40 cases will be shortlisted. Plaintiffs and defendants will choose 10 cases each, with another 20 cases chosen at random. If you’ve experienced a bleeding event while taking this drug, you should contact a Xarelto lawyer – as soon as possible.

 

Flying Adventures From Oceanside to Carlsbad, Chino, and Back

Yesterday, I did a quick little cross country flight up to Chino, a county-owned “reliever airport” right next to the big Ontario Airport up there in San Bernardino County. As part of my cross-country training, I need 50 hours of cross-country flying time. For the FAA’s purposes and logging,  a cross country flight includes “a point of landing that was at least a straight-line distance of more than 50 nautical miles from the original point of departure.” From my home airport, Chino is a straight line of 48 nautical miles. But, if I fly from Oceanside to Carlsbad Airport (KCRQ), and take off there, it is a 54 NM straight line. So I flew from Oceanside to Carlsbad, picked up Andy and a friend, and we flew that hop up to Chino and back to Carlsbad. Then, I popped in the cockpit GoPro and flew home. Here’s footage of that short six mile flight from Carlsbad to Oceanside.

Checking the Sensitivity of the VOR Receiver (for the IFR Written Test)

CDILet’s talk about radio navigation, VOR’s, and OBS’s.  Three of my favorite things! There are quite a few questions on the IFR written about VORs. And there is one particular  question on the IFR written test about checking the sensitivity of a VOR receiver, and how many degrees in course change there should be as the OBS s rotated, all the way, right or left. This is not the same as checking the accuracy of a VOR (you need to check the accuracy this every 30 days if you’re flying IFR). You turn the knob to move the course deviation indicator (CDI) from the center all the way over to the last dot on either side. The selected course should not exceed 10 degrees or 12 degrees on either side. Each dot on the CDI represents 2 degrees.

 

YouTube Playlist Specifically for Studying for the IFR Written Test

I’ve been busy studying for the IFR written test, which I plan to take in the next month. When I took the Private Pilot written test, I found it helpful to listen to test questions while driving around in my car. There were some good apps for this, but I nothing on Youtube. For the IFR written, I’ve decided to make my own study guide, and publish it on YouTube. I’ve been putting questions together on a YouTube playlist. I cover everything from hazardous weather to aircraft icing, airport signs to gyroscopes. I’m trying to add videos daily. Some of the questions are “easy” and some are harder. I do some questions that are challenging to me, and some questions that I think might help others. Check it out!

Taylor Swift Quote – “There are two ways you can go with pain”

taylor-swift-there-are-two-ways-pain I am a longtime Taylor Swift fan. I admire her confidence, talent and wisdom. This quote about pain is one of my favorite quotes from her. I am not sure when she said it, but it is widely attributed to her. It is a reminder to all of us that when bad things happen, there is always a choice.