April 22, 2010
BehindTheMedspeak: Tara Subkoff's first person story — 'How I survived a brain tumor'
Her gripping account in the current issue of Harper's Bazaar, as told to Derek Blasberg, once again demonstrates how important it is to get a second opinion and sometimes even a third if you think your doctor's wrong.
In the end, the thing that may have saved her life is that she went ahead and paid for an MRI herself after her longtime physician refused to order one, telling her she was neurotic instead of taking seriously her worsening symptoms of headaches, loss of hearing in one ear and severe bouts of dizziness.
The test show a golf ball-sized brain tumor (acoustic neuroma) on the right side of her brain.
The mass was removed in a 14-hour procedure last September.
Subkoff has permanently lost her right-sided hearing and balance functions and has constant vertigo.
She is in physical therapy, slowly regaining strength and living a rather quiet life in a small bungalow in Los Angeles (below),
a marked contrast to her heyday in the fast lane as a co-principal of fashion line Imitation of Christ.
"Made from 100% recycled paper."
Penguins on cardboard case.
5 HB pencils: $9.50 AUD.
Periodic Table of Periodic Tables
By Bill Keaggy.
Striped Huipile Jazzie
[via For Me, For You]
Shelfster — Private Beta Invites
This morning I received an invite to try out Shelfster.
Wrote marketing manager Noemi Szoke, "We hope that you will take a look at our private-beta application Shelfster. Think about sharing and discovering information in a different way."
Bonus: Not only did Ms. Szoke offer me an invite, but she added, "You can find below the link for your private-beta invitation which you can share with as many as 10 of your readers:
LCD 'Write your own message' Card
Debossed card measures 17.8cm x 10.2cm and comes with custom envelope.
Alphabet sticker guide included.
'My pilot's deceased. I need help.' — Air-traffic controllers help passenger land plane after pilot dies of a heart attack 10,000 feet up
It happened April 12, 2009 over Florida.
Joe Davidson's March 23, 2010 Washington Post story has the details, and follows.
Air-traffic controllers earn praise for a calm assist
The next time you hear someone bad-mouthing federal workers as bureaucrats who sit around bemoaning this and that, tell him or her to ask Doug White about Lisa Grimm and Brian Norton.
Grimm, Norton and other air-traffic controllers guided White to safety on April 12, 2009, when the pilot of his plane died during a flight. Grimm, based at the Federal Aviation Administration's Miami center, and Norton, who was in Fort Myers, are among the controllers that the National Air Traffic Controllers Association planned to honor Monday night in Orlando at its sixth annual awards banquet.
Six of the honorees, including Grimm and Norton, helped White after his pilot, Joe Cabuk, died suddenly while flying White's King Air 10-seat, two-engine plane in Miami airspace. White owned the plane as an investment; he did not know how to fly it.
Jessica Anaya, Nathan Henkels, Dan Favio and Carey Meadows also were being honored for assisting White.
White had limited experience as a pilot of a two-seat Cessna, but he said that trying to fly the much larger King Air was like moving from a Volkswagen to an Indy 500 racecar with no training. To fly a King Air 200, pilots need to know how to fly on autopilot, be instrument-rated and be qualified for a multi-engine plane.
"I had only been in the plane one time before," White said, "and the only thing I asked is, 'How do I talk on the radio?' That was the only thing I knew how to do up there."
That one bit of knowledge may have saved his life -- and the lives of his wife and two daughters who were with him. It allowed him to push the right button and say: "I've gotta declare an emergency."
According to a transcript provided by the controllers association, White said: "My pilot's . . . unconscious. I need help up here. . . . I need to get this thing on the ground. I'm flyin' a King Air . . . N559DW. My pilot's deceased. . . . I need help."
The controllers could hear the panic in his voice.
White: Do I turn off the altimeter or not? It's steady climbin' . . . but it looks to me like my, uh, altitude of descent is on 10,000. I dunno why I keep goin' climbin'. I need to figure out how to level off.
Grimm was called away from the flights she was working to deal with the emergency. A pilot and a flight instructor, she had flown other twin turboprops as well as Learjets.
That's the kind of person flight crew members and passengers want guiding them, especially when the skies don't seem so friendly.
Because of her experience as a flight instructor, she knew to make her directions as simple as possible. Her tone on the tape of the conversation is reassuring, and she uses positive reinforcement. "That was the goal, to convince him that he could control" the plane, she said.
But White wasn't so sure. Alarm was what Grimm said she heard in his voice.
White: You find me the longest, widest runway you can, ma'am. Grimm: November five delta whiskey, roger. I'm gonna try to keep ya . . . Hold the plane level. . . . You're doing pretty good, one-seven thousand . . . . Try to hold the plane level now at one-seven thousand . . . we're gonna start a slow, shallow descent. Just easy down on the yoke, a slight descent. We're gonna get you down to one-one eleven thousand . . . . All right, November niner delta whiskey, you're doin' a real good job. . . . You're doing . . . very good . . . keeping your heading, you're doin' a real nice descent there.
Grimm had established a rapport with White, and there was some consideration of letting her talk him all the way in. But having controllers at the Fort Myers airport, which has a long runway, handle the approach and landing made more sense because they would be able to physically see the plane.
At Fort Myers, it was Norton, with help, who talked White through the landing.
Norton: November niner delta whiskey, are you using the autopilot or are you flying the airplane?
White: I'm in the good Lord's hands flying this niner delta whiskey.
The unruffled demeanor and skill of the controllers helped, too.
"Their individual resourcefulness and the calmness on the radio is what got my mind thinking we can get this done," White said in an interview. The controllers "exuded confidence through the radio, and their specific instructions gave me confidence."
Some of those instructions were relayed from Kari Sorenson, a flight instructor with King Air experience. Favio called Sorenson, and his step-by-step directions helped ensure a safe landing.
Norton: Nine delta whiskey, the runway's all yours. You can, uh, turn left or right, whatever's easier for you. Power all the way back, and they're telling me max braking.
White: We're down, buddy, thank you.
Norton: Nice work.
Stone Necklace MP3 Player
Can your stone play MP3s?
Didn't think so.
From the website:
An MP3 player shaped like a stone that you can wear conveniently around your neck or drop in your pocket, making it easy to take with you wherever you go.
Burgundy or Black.