Atlas Can’t Shrug

This friday K and I will start a new adventure in twin parenting.  I am having surgery to repair multiple tears in the Labrum of my left shoulder.  Unfortunately, this will leave K to not only take care of the twins but also take care of me.  Please keep her in your prayers. I do not do well with pain or having to be helped.

For those wondering how this happened.  Well, the truth is carrying the weight of the world has cause extensive damage to my left shoulder.  But, really we are not sure when or what caused the original damage.  For the past 3+ years I have been having pain in the shoulder anytime I lift something or do push ups.  Over the last 6 months or so though the pain has been getting worse and now affects how I sleep, play with the twins, work out and generally do anything.

Two years ago I had the shoulder evaluated and the surgeon that I was referred to said there was nothing that could be done and that I would have to live with the pain.  I took that answer and pushed through.  Even when training for the 70.3 aggravated the shoulder I would push through.  After all, that is what a Soldier does right? But, I had to face the truth after completing the race.  There was something seriously wrong and I needed a second opinion.  Luckily, the surgeon here said that it was repairable and that he would highly suggest getting the surgery done.

K will effectively have three 4 yr olds.  I will need help dressing and will be unable to lift anything more than a glass of water for the next month or more.  I actually feel bad for her.  My plan is to try to be as low maintenance of a patient possible.

Please if any of you have either been through a shoulder surgery or had a significant other been incapacitated by a similar procedure pass along your tips and tricks.  I am especially curious about how military members put uniforms on while wearing the sling and being immobilized.  Also, if you had to travel while immobilized what are your pointers.  I may need to fly a week or so after surgery to attend my dear grandmothers funeral.

New Tourniquet! We need it now in the Army.

Sorry for the long time in not posting.   But, today I want to do something that is not normal for my channel.  I want to bring attention to a product that after seeing it I am fired up about.  This product is not a normal geek product, game or book.  In fact it is a life saving medical device that I think needs to be included with our Soldier basic kit.  That product is the S.T.A.T. Tourniquet.

I think a little background on Soldier field medical care is in order to understand why this item has the potential to be big for Soldiers.  First Aid was first used on the battle field in the US Army at the Battle of Antietam and then again at Gettysburg and Fredericksburg.  Jonathan Letterman had devised the system of triage.  The success of his system was adopted by an Act of Congress in 1864 and was the birth of modern battlefield medicine

Twenty-two years later, Nov. 20, 1886, General Order No. 86 introduced the idea a first aid to all soldiers.  Unfortunately, it only took thirteen years for the advances to be forgotten and the Spanish American war in 1898 saw the Army unprepared to care for wounded.  But, George M. Sternberg, the Army’s surgeon general, ordered that American Soldiers be issued a First Aid packet, containing gauze to stop bleeding.

In WWI soldiers were issued a roughly similar kit, two bandages, two compresses, and two safety pins contained in a hermetically sealed metal case carried in a first aid pouch.  This was meant to stop or contain bleeding until a medic could provide further first aid and evacuate the Soldier.

WWII saw the first issuance of a Tourniquet to individual combat troops.  But, even then it wasn’t uniformly issued to all formations or theaters.  But, the kits were the first attempt at providing individual soldiers with the means to handle multiple wound types with self or buddy aid.

Post WWII saw multiple versions of the Individual First Aid Kit.  These kits varied in contents over the years but, they tended to be small and tended to take inspiration from the M-2 Jungle individual medical kit.  Each of these designs omitted a tourniquet.

Modern war saw the redesign of the individual first aid kit again with the IFAK  this kit was the first universally issued to all soldiers that contained a tourniquet.  The combat application tourniquet (CAT).  Now, this also coincided with a review of tourniquet use doctrine.  As after WWII the use of tourniquets in combat was discouraged due to a high amputation rate.  But, the improvement of battlefield transportation networks has made the use of tourniquets almost second nature to stop uncontrolled extremity bleeding.

The down side of the CAT is that it does require specific training on not just the principles of use, but the actual employment of the device.  As the tourniquet uses a winding rod to tighten and Velcro to secure the rod it can be semi slow to apply and the requires a bit of hand strength to tighten to an effective level.  These two requirements make it slightly less effective for a soldier to self administer.

The S.T.A.T. Tourniquet looks to be a logical and effective next step in battle field medical devices.  As it is functionally similar to a zip tie the level of knowledge on how to apply it is easy convey.  Also because it is a zip tie a Soldier can use their whole arm strength to tighten which is important when self applying as you may be using the non dominant hand lessening your dexterity.

I hope that the Army seriously considers this item for the IFAK.  Please if you are or know a Soldier please start talking to your leaders.  I think this is the perfect opportunity for the Soldier to influence their individual battle field medical care.

Capital Distance

This past Sunday I had the opportunity to take an extremely scenic bike ride.  I rode the Mt. Vernon Trail.  For those unaware it is a 18 mile trail that runs from Mt. Vernon to just past Arlington National Cemetery.  Along the route you get to see much of the Patomic, the Pentagon and a distant view of the Washington Monument.

I rode the trail from start to finish so 36 miles in a little over 2.5 hours and that included a couple stops one for the picture above, one for a phonecall and also to help an individual put a new tube in his tire.

Hope to go ride the national mall before I leave.  


The other day I talked about some big news that will affect the blog and me. Today I would like to announce that I will be doing my first Half Ironman ,otherwise known as a 70.3, in June. I have signed up for the Raleigh 70.3

This is a big deal for me. I have not done any length of Triathlon in almost 6 years. I used to really enjoy running sprint Tri’s and decided that I need to get back into a rigorous and fun activity. for my health and the health of my family. The required time, energy, and discipline to achieve my goal will, I hope, set an example that the twins can learn from. I realize this will also take a toll on the family as training hours become longer and I have to balance work, family, and training.

As for the blog what does this mean? I will be refocusing and integrating the Training, prep and experiences into the blog. I plan on starting to post weekly, probably Sundays. What can you expect from blog posts during this period? I plan on incorporating three elements into each post. First, I will give a quick review of the weeks training and how I feel/performed that week. Second, will be either a review of a piece or equipment, clothing, or gadget related to the Tri and or my training. Lastly, an update on the twins and or a little geekery. Please staytuned and understand if this gets to a rocky start.

Day 11… Lava, Sand and Trees

First off let me apologize for the tardiness of this post. This will also be the last post from the trip. Unfortunately, Life got away from me and I lost all the notes for the remaining days. Really nothing happened after this day. Hope you all enjoyed the telling.

Day 11 started early with homemade breakfast burritos and coffee. Thank you mom for taking the time to wake up and make breakfast.

Heading out of Belen my first stop was the Trinity Test Site historical market.  Here I said a brief prayer for all those that have given their life to protect our freedoms and way of life.

The next stop was the Valley of Fires Bureue of Land Management Recreation area. These lava flows from 1,500 to 5,000 years ago area simply beautiful.  You get to see how the plants and animals have adapted to living here.  The views are amazing and the nature trail was beautiful and relatively short allowing for a quick stop. Unfortunately, it is hot there and if you are not prepared the short 1 mile nature trail will be less than enjoyable.   Bring water and I suggest shorts and a hat also.

The next stop on the route was White Sands National Monument.  Here you get to see and play on beautiful white sand dunes. The park is beautiful and the sand is amazingly soft to the touch. Once again though, if you plan on hiking or just playing in the dunes bring water, a hat and sunglasses.  Sunscreen is also a good idea as the sun reflects of the sand. I took the time to climb a couple of dunes and even did a little sunbathing. For those with kids I suggest bringing or checking out a saucer sled as the dunes make for perfect sledding. Lastly, the visitor center is a treasure trove of information about the dunes.  It is also a national parks passport stop for the kids.

The last scenic stop of the days drive was the Mexican Canyon Tresle in the Lincoln National Forest. This site pays tribute to the old growth Forrest that once stood there and has been replaced with secondary growth Forrest after the loggers removed almost the entire forest. It also shows the ingenuity of the loggers to get the trees down the mountain given the steepness of the mountains. 

I finished the day in Abilene. Anticipating the link up with K, L and S the next day.

Bonus: I made a little Friend in Valley of Fires, and it rained on me at White sands.

Spoiler: The next few days/weeks could see some developments in my life and plans for some future events.

Day 10…Grandma, Burgers and History

Day 10 was a rest and visitation day. Mom and I started the day off with a good home cooked breakfast.  The jalapeno bacon was on point as was everything else.

Then I took the Freedom Panels off Jeep and we left to pick Grandma up to go get Green Chili Cheese Burgers in San Antonio. Grandma and Mom really enjoyed riding in the Jeep with the wind blowing and the morning sun coming in.  

Now San Antonio is a quite little historical town. The Scientists and engineers working the Trinity Site used to stop in here for dining at the Historic Owl Bar and Cafe. If you are going through the area it is a great little stop for history and putting a dollar on the wall along side many celebrities and historical figures. It also used to be the premier Green Chili Cheeseburger place.  But now that honor goes to the Buckhorn Burgers.  

After lunch Grandma, Mom and I took a quick trip out to visit the Very Large Array only 20 miles from Grandmas house. The has been featured in multiple Sci-fi movies including one of my favorites Contact.  The I may partial do to my Jodie Foster infatuation. This Radio Telescope Array is beautiful and has been in place since the 1970s.

Leaving the VLA we headed back to Magdalena my moms home town and a quite community that heralded as the trails end for cattle drives until 1971.  Fun fact my Grandfather used to ride as a hand in the drives as a young teenager and he helped to build all the roads travelled out of Soccoro.

The last activity of the day was I changed the Oil in Black Betty before mom made a wonderful steak dinner for us. It was a wonderful day all around. 
Bonus: Grandma bought me a huge bag of homemade beef jerky and we saw a beautiful rainbow at mom’s house.

Day 9 … Sunrise, Impact and Touchdown.

Day 9 started early I woke up at 4am and was on the road by 430 headed for the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

I entered the park and got to first view just before sunrise and was able to watch the sun rise over the canyon. The simple majesty of the view reminded me how grateful I am to have all those that care for me and my family in our lives. With out the support of all those I love and who love me I wouldn’t be who I am today.

I then stopped at a few other views along the park road before hitting up the South Rim.

After the Canyon I headed East.  Along the route I stopped at Meteor Crater Arizona.

I ended the day stopping at my moms house in Belen, NM.  It was great to see my mom and She made Red Chili Enchiladas, fresh Guacamole and Margahritas on the rocks. She loves me.

Bonus shot: Black Betty and the canyon.

Day 8: Ambitious Failure

Having slept pretty well in the back of the Jeep I hit the road early knowing I had some miles to cover.  First stop was Salt Lake City Utah. 

In Salt Lake I met an old friend from Mississippi. Where he treated me to a wonderful lunch at a local Thai Restraunt.  It was great talking to him and catching up.  Also good to know he is doing well.
I love the view in Salt Lake and they remind me of Anchorage seeing the mountains just driving down the road.

My next planned stop was supposed to be the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Unfortunately I failed to make that.  But along the way I saw many beautiful sights.

Like the original Spanish trail.

And the the Mt. Carmel scenic by way.

I ended the day at a pull off on old historic highway 89.