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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Medical Heater-Cooler Devices Warning │ Musings on Medical Device 'Hacking' │ Medication Interactions

E-mail composition kept me up last night until almost midnight. 

It was 4:18 a.m. when I checked the time during my first break in sleep overnight and got up to use the bathroom.  There wasn't too much sleep after that; I continue to have issues with clogging nasal passages.

And it was almost 7:00 a.m. when I later checked the time, deciding that it was futile to try for further sleep.  Nonetheless, I remained in bed for at least five minutes before forcing myself up.

I never realized it, but my youngest step-son Pote was not home.  I was alone in the house, but unaware of this.

I put some further work into the edit I am making on an old post at one of my hosted websites, but I had an errand to run that would cut the work short.

It had likely rained all night, and it continued to do so today ─ a fairly steady drizzle that sometimes reduces to a near stoppage.

I had a couple of letters to mail at Pearl Photo / Canada Post a mile or so away over at Surrey Place (Central City), and then I had some shopping to do at Save-On-Foods a little farther on.  I had failed to get out and do it all yesterday.

I was just about set to go shortly before 11:00 a.m. when Pote showed up.  I suppose he had to go to work early for a partial shift ─ he said that he rose this morning at 5:30 a.m.  I would imagine that he drove his older brother Tho to the SkyTrain so that Tho could get out to Burnaby to work, for Pote had Tho's car.

Pote said that he was going to try for a nap, so he locked the door behind me as I left.

The rain was just enough to be refreshing, and my eyes felt perfectly normal with all the damp gloom.

In Surrey Place (Central City), I noticed a table with an elderly couple set up to take donations for poppies, but I held off getting one just in case there was going to be someone doing the same over at Save-On-Foods ─ and I was right.

As soon as I walked in the door, an older gal was seated with a bit of a stand upon which were her wares.  So I decided to donate there, and dug out my wallet to stuff a $10 bill into her donation box.  The $10 were actually my winnings on a lottery ticket that my younger brother Mark had gotten me for my birthday last month.

God bless our vets ─ 'tis a truly worthy cause to give to.  I will try to remember to have change on me anytime I go out between now and Remembrance Day so that I can contribute a little bit further. 

She not only gave me a poppy, but also a 'Lest We Forget' bracelet ─ and she stood up and insisted on affixing the poppy onto the flap of the left chest-pocket of my denim jacket.  

I had forgotten to make a final check of some lottery tickets that my wife Jack had left me, so I did that while cutting back through Surrey Place (Central City).  A Set for Life scratch ticket merited another free ticket ─ I had not even noticed that it had won anything, and was fully prepared to be discarding it.

I have it set aside for Jack ─ she can scratch it after she gets back from Thailand November 21st.  Maybe we will finally be blessed.  We'll certainly be in some need by then.

I want to post the following photo whose description I am lifting from the Google album where I have the photo stored:

This is one of my favourite photos of my wife Jack ─ taken back in late January or early February 2003 on a Koh Samet beach before we were yet engaged.

I rather wish that the lighting was not such that her front is as badly shaded as it is.

I have always found the imagery to be haunting because of the memories it evokes within me.

When I had to return to Canada just a few days later, it was like being returned to a prison.

And I knew that I would be unable to afford to return until the following year.

Leaving her at the airport when it was no longer possible for me to dally with her and avoid entering the restricted area, was excruciating.

My eyes burned from tears they could not contain.

It was pure desolation, and I wanted to die rather than go back to my cold and barren life in Canada.

I very recently posted about this warning over medical cooling devices used in heart and lung surgeries, but it bears repeating.

From what I understand, Consumer Reports may have brought the problem to the attention of the world with reports like these three:


America's FDA seems to have its focus on just the LivaNova Stöckert 3T heater-cooler:


 However, the Canadian government has a broader concern:


The nontuberuclous mycobacteria are generally harmless, but the cooling devices can aerosolize (convert into a fine spray or colloidal suspension in air) the bacteria, and spray it into the chest cavity where the microbes can establish themselves.

And since some strains of the bacteria grow so slowly that it can take as long as six years for symptoms to emerge, and the infection is so rare that doctors hardly ever test for it, people who have had surgery some years back are still at risk if one of these devices was used.

Of course, not many hospitals are interested in alerting former surgical patients ─ after all, what the patients don't know can't likely hurt the hospitals, can it?


We keep hearing about the potential of implanted medical devices to one day get 'hacked' by monsters with malicious intent.

The Animas Corporation (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson) was recently obliged to issue a warning to patients concerning its OneTouch Ping Insulin Infusion Pump:


Back in 2013, a warning went out that researchers at cyber-security company Cylance said a hard-coded password vulnerability affected roughly 300 medical devices across about 40 vendors. This vulnerability could lead to a change in critical settings or enable the modification of medical device firmware, according to the Department of Homeland Security's Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team report.


If such a device is the implantable type ─ like a pacemaker ─ then the simple hard-coded password cannot be changed.  Not remotely, anyway ─ it would have to be removed.


So many people actually seem eager to take prescription medications.  

And the more medications a person takes, the more likely it is that there is going to be some sort of unpleasant or dangerous interaction eventually.

It is impossible to know how every medication is going to interact with every other medication ─ it just cannot be known.  There are far too many of them out there.
No one knows how many people die each year from drug interactions, but the risks are escalating. One in 5 Americans take three or more drugs. One in 10 people take five or more — twice the percentage as in 1994.
That quote is from here:


The article opens up by telling of how "a potentially fatal heart arrhythmia" can strike merely because of taking an antibiotic called ceftriaxone (with brand names such as Rocephin, Epicephin, and others) along with an indigestion or heartburn medication called lansoprazole (sold as Prvevacid).

Whoever would have expected that?

There is no question that people are dying, and no one even considered that the cause of death was a medication interacting with one or more others.

So whether it is a prescription medication or some over-the-counter product, take as few as you possibly can.  

If possible, avoid them all!


Here to finish off today's post is a journal entry from 41 years ago when I was 26 years old, and living in a basement housekeeping unit in New Westminster

I was renting the small unit in a house situated on Ninth Street at Third Avenue.

On plan for the day was a long, long hike to visit my mother Irene Dorosh at her home in the Kennedy Heights area of Surrey.  That house is now gone, but its address was 12106 - 90th Avenue ─ it was my main mailing address.

If I walked directly to her home from my room, it would take about 1½ hours at a fast pace.

But fairly recently I started extending the route by hiking the King George Highway all the way out to Newton; and then taking to the railway tracks there, turning right onto them, and following them until I was able to access the Surrey terminus of 90th Avenue at Holt Road, quite close to Scott Road (120th Street).

My mother's home was maybe a half-dozen or so away, on the right-hand side of the road.

I had gotten to bed the evening before at 9:45 p.m.
SUNDAY, November 2, 1975

I made a choice to get up about 3:10 a.m., having awakened to discover my throat is afflicted with some disease organism which has also affected my nose.

I heard last night that the Lions blew their last partial chance to be in the Finals.

I performed all my exercises before indulging in my morning meal; I finished The Sundering Flood and have started reading Joy Chant's Red Moon and Black Mountain.

I leave for mom's via Newton, wearing my Star jeans for the first time, about 8:10 a.m.; Bill is to come there later, and I will leave a note with his car recording my E.T.A.

When I made it to mom's, I was about finished; visions of lunch kept me going.

At least my knee is back to normal.

But Bill showed up no more than 10 minutes after I arrived!

We stayed a while; Phyllis came and dropped off Sherry & Lisa.

After collecting pears, we left to launder.

Bill's mother was at his place.

He bought me a small apple spice yoghurt at the Blue Bird.   

The laundry done, we went to Art's so I could give him the week's work at the P.N.E. information; but cause his truck was away, we by passed.

Next, a trip to the drugstore where I purchased a comic, baby powder, and Clearasil; and then Bill bought a bucket of chicken at Kentucky's.  

I had 5 or 6 pieces at his place.

I accompanied him on the trip to take home his mother, and then we tried Art's again.  The truck was there.

We entered, bearing comics for the kids and pornography for Art.

Verna had already told him about the job.

He gave us each a drink of vodka and a slice of a Me-N-Ed's pizza.

Everything there seemed normal, both he and Angie being sociable to us and each other.  It was like Friday morn had never occurred.

Anyway, we rushed off lying we were to have supper with Bill's mom.

Bed at 7:00 p.m.!
My old friend William Alan Gill lived three or four blocks from me in a bachelor suite he was renting.  We just about always got together on weekends ─ often to visit a laundromat together to help pass the time more easily.

Phyllis is my older maternal half-sister, and Sherry is her daughter.  I think "Lisa" was a neighbour girl to my mother ─ Sherry and she had developed a friendship because of how often Sherry stayed at my mother's home.

My mother had some fruit trees out back, as well as a great vegetable garden, and raspberries and blueberries.

I have lost memory of the "Blue Bird" store in New Westminster.

Art Smith was an older chap in his early 40s with whom I had formed a friendship after we had gotten to know one another as part-time co-workers at a New Westminster charitable organization called S.A.N.E. (Self Aid Never Ends) that is today known as Fraserside Community Services Society.

Angie (Angelina) was his wife, and they had three kids. 

I expect that it was the previous Thursday evening when the Smiths had a party of sorts going on, and Angie caught Art in a position of indiscretion with a friend of hers.  He told me all about it the next morning when we bumped into one another at a bank.  

From how he told it,  his life might be in jeopardy!  Angie did indeed have a temper where Art was concerned.

I had worked on the Friday, and Verna (Williams?) ─ who may have managed S.A.N.E. back then ─ told me of an opportunity for Art to work for the week and be paid in cash.

I was often reluctant to just visit Art because he never wanted me to leave ─ he craved my drinking company.  So I had Bill come along to minimize the threat of not being able to get away from Art. 

Bill was truly a wonderful friend.
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