Friday, September 20, 2013

LOLA Advanced Assessment Stethoscope

As an EMT, one generally carries a variety of small tools for completing patient assessments, including but not limited to a stethoscope, pen light with pupil gauge, pen, clipboard with pertinent paperwork, trauma shears, oxygen wrench and a radio or phone. Seeing as how keeping one’s gear together and out of the way can be a little troublesome while moving about, taking vitals and performing other tasks such as taping patients to backboards, it goes without saying that a streamlined multi-purpose patient assessment tool would be of great use to an EMT or like-minded healthcare professional. It is this desire that the LOLA Advanced Assessment Stethoscope can fulfill.
The LOLA Advanced Assessment stethoscope is an innovative tool that combines several critical patient assessment tools into one package, namely the stethoscope, penlight, pupil gauge and ruler. Separately, these tools are generally of low quality and difficult to effectively manage. Combined into the LOLA stethoscope, one has an efficient and well-designed tool that will last a great long while.
I’ve had the opportunity to assess the quality and effectiveness of the LOLA stethoscope for a few months now on a wide variety of patients and in different situations and have been overall impressed with everything about it. To better describe this stethoscope, I will break this review down into features I find important.

1)    Packaging: This stethoscope comes packaged in an attractive box that is easy to open and remove the contents from. In the box is a stethoscope with clear earbuds and a small pack containing three other pairs of earbuds and an extra battery for the light. Each pair of earbuds is unique and can be customized to fit the end user.


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2)    Stethoscope head: The stethoscope head is comprised of stainless steel and the tympanum is a clear plastic. The rim of the tympanum does not have a non-chill ring. The plastic is quite rugged as well.



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3)    Light switch: Atop the head is a push-button to activate the light. The button is a constant-on switch and light is emitted from a single LED.  The button itself is rubbery and easy to activate.

4)    Tube: There is just one tube for this stethoscope and it is made of a non-latex material that is rigid yet flexible. On the tube is a pupil gauge with examples of pupil sizes from 1mm-8mm. There is also a 40cm ruler printed on the tube, complete with millimeter markings.


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5)    Ear portions: The ear portions of the stethoscope are stainless steel and end in threads to accept a proprietary metal threaded mounting bud whereupon one can fix one of four different pairs of earbuds to make a custom fit for the user.

6)    Fit: The multiple ear buds were quite useful for me in acquiring a good fit and I achieved a good level of comfort. They came in handy on two different occasions:

a.    I will often watch a show on my phone while waiting for patients but I don’t want to disturb my partner and I don’t have earphones so I just use my stethoscope and keep the volume low on my phone. Works like a charm and I can stay comfortable for over 30min at a time. I couldn’t do that without some decent fitting ear buds.

b.    My friend and I were sparring with rubber training knives one night and having a good time. That is, until he got a little too frisky and ended up sticking the tip of one in my right ear and leaving me with a good 3/16” cut in the inner cartilage (nothing serious, just painful at the time and funny now, seeing as how I used a tampon to help stop the interestingly profuse bleeding). In any case, I had to change out my ear buds so I could actually work without dreading the pain from using my stethoscope. Without my extra buds, I would have been in much more pain than I would have liked.


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See the cut inside my ear? Yeah, that one hurt pretty bad.

7)    Acoustic quality: I have compared this stethoscope’s acoustic qualities with a Littman Master Classic II, Littman Classic II SE, Littman Cardiology III and my mother’s no- name stethoscope from when she was a nurse back in the 1960s (I was a bit of a stethoscope junkie a while ago, sort of by accident) while in an ideal setting (sitting in my room, door closed, none of my sisters fighting, etc) and I found the acoustics to be equal to or better than that of the Classic II SE, Master Classic II and the no-name stethoscope, beaten only by the Cardiology III. My pulse under pressure from a sphygmanometer sounded like a hammer striking wood and my heart sounded loud as well, though not as loud as with the Cardiology III. Unfortunately, I haven’t been trained to pick up heart sounds past the normal atrioventricular and semilunar valve closures (“lub” and “dub”, respectively) so I can’t really comment on aberrant cardiac issues like clicks, rubs or murmurs. Listening to lung sounds were not a problem either.

In actual use, of course, situations are not ideal and are quite noisy. However, while performing my duties as the attendant, I never had a problem acquiring blood pressure readings and lung sounds, even with edemic patients.

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8)    Light quality: The light is a diffuse “cool” white color and is bright enough for finding objects about 3’ away if needed. Seeing the pupil diameter of a patient’s eye requires a closer distance though (especially in the dark) and from my use I it seems about 6-12” is the maximum distance for checking pupils diameters.

9)    Pupil gauge and ruler: The pupil gauge and ruler are both painted onto the tube and are quite clear with sharp demarcations.

10)    Neck hangability: This stethoscope hangs nicely around the neck and the tube material does a good job gripping cloth

11)    Length of the tube: The tube length is a good 21”, which is much nicer for ease of patient care and for patient comfort than my 15” Littman Cardiology III, especially for those times when I am bouncing around in the back of an ambulance and I can’t get a blood pressure on the left arm and must reach over and use the right arm from a right-sided only ambulance. Yeah, you know what I mean.

As with all products, there are a few things that I would like to either see improved upon or tweaked by the end user to make the product easier to manage, namely:

1)    I would love to see a non-chill ring on the tympanum’s rim. Sure, it isn’t necessary but it is a nice feature for better patient comfort.

2)    The metal ear bud fixtures could use a little blue (NOT RED) Loctite to stay on the stethoscope without falling off. One of mine came unscrewed while I was on the job so I hijacked the earbuds off of my old Sprague and jammed them on there so I can use them while I get around to ordering new ear bud fixtures.

Bottom line: This is a very good stethoscope for the money and I highly recommend it, especially for EMTs, CNAs and the like. There are certainly many worse and useless ways to spend your money, like buying a cheap double lumen Sprague or US government bonds, whereas this stethoscope should be with you for years to come.

CARRY ON!

-N8

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Remington .40S&W UMC Target Ammo


















So a nice lady named Heidi at Luckygunner.com sent me a brand spanking new box of Remington UMC .40S&W target ammunition for me to put through the FN FNP-40 pistol (will do a review on that bad boy after some more exposure time!). It took me a while to get to the range to test out this ammunition due to my various jobs (on-call EMT and party bus driver), my last finals (YES! I am edumacated now!) and various family obligations so I appreciate Heidi's patience and trust in this matter.

After testing out my Remington Model 12 on paper and putting a few rounds through the Tokarev TT-33, I chilled out enough to shoot the FNP-40. I first started with testing out my reloads at 7yd and 15yd intervals. Reloads tested were 155gr SWC lead cast bullets over 3gr of Titegroup.
 These loads were not tested beforehand and were just loaded up as
generic plinker loads. Here are the results of the first round. I did general testing on the first target (read: did some miscounting) with the following regimen:



Center: 2 test shots at 7 yards to determine POA/POI

Upper left: 1st shot DA, 3 shots SA, 7yds

Upper right: 1st shot DA, 5 shots SA, 7yds

Lower left: 1st shot DA, 5 shots SA, 15yds

Lower right: 1st shot DA, 5 shots SA, 15yds



Group sizes for target #1



Upper left:  2.1" (1.1" without the outlier)

Upper right: 2.1" (1.1" without the two outliers)

Lower left: 5.1" ( 2.1" without the gigantic outlier to the top right of the circle)

Lower right: 3.85" (no real compensation that can be granted with this one)




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Target #1. Personal reloads. 



The second round of shooting consisted of the Remington UMC ammunition. Course of fire was as follows:



Upper left: 1st shot DA, 5 shots SA, 7yds

Upper right: 1st shot DA, 5 shots SA, 7yds

Lower left: 1st shot DA, 5 shots SA, 15yds

Lower right: 1st shot DA, 5 shots SA, 15yds



Group sizes for this target #2 are as follows:



Upper left:  1.85" (no compensation)

Upper right: 2.6" (1.35" without the two outliers)

Lower left: To preserve my dignity, I am not going to even bother with this one.

Lower right: Dignity preservation enacted here as well. 3 bullet holes are missing.




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Target #2. Remington UMC Target



After my earth-shattering performance in round two, I gave it another go in round three.



Course of fire was as follows:



Upper left: 1st shot DA, 5 shots SA, 7yds

Upper right: 1st shot DA, 5 shots SA, 7yds

Lower left: 1st shot DA, 4 shots SA, 15yds

Lower right: 1st shot DA, 3 shots SA, 15yds



Group sizes for target #3 are as follows:



Upper left:  3.225" (2.475" without the outlier)

Upper right: 2.1" (no compensation for this group)

Lower left: 1.85" ( 1.35" without the gigantic outlier to the top right of the circle)

Lower right: 1.35" (no real compensation that can be granted with this one)






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 Target #3. Remington UMC Target, second round. 




Recoil for the Remington UMC Target ammo was moderately stout and feed and extraction in my pistol was flawless. The bullets punched cleanly through the paper, as any good target ammunition should do. 



Looking at the targets and group sizes, it goes without saying that I am in need of some more practice, though at the end I was able to focus a little better and squeeze out some pretty nice groups. An exacerbating factor that may have affected my shooting ability is that I was running a very fast heart rate and high blood pressure due to an idiopathic reaction to medication I have been taking for years. The day after I shot these groups I actually had to go to the ER to get assessed and scanned. I am fine now and will be getting on some different medications here pretty soon (in case you were wondering). As some of you may know, he isnt stoked with 



In addition, I have noticed that the FNP-40 seems to shoot low.
Like, really low. I don't quite know why that is but it is something I
would like to correct.I had to compensate for the drop by aiming at the 12:00 position about 3-4" high. Some of the outliers you see are from when I failed to do so.



Overall, this is a consistently loaded ammunition with good target characteristics and firm yet gentle handling characteristics. Results may vary amongst guns but I think at least the average shooter (since I am an average, if not regrettably a subpar average shooter) will find good results with this ammo.



Until next time, CARRY ON!









   
   
  

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Gear Review: 5.11 Tactical Stryke pants with Flex-Tac

When I think of tactical pants, I pretty much only think of pants from 5.11 Tactical; they are versatile, durable, and I can go anywhere in them and use them for anything. I am no stranger to the other 5.11 brand products. I used the 5.11 Select Carry pack as my LUCC (Locked Unloaded Concealed Carry)* bag until it was stolen and I regularly wear a pair of the less “tactical” and more streamlined 5.11 pants to go to semi-formal events like church, work or even weddings. All of these clothing items have been nothing but exemplary in quality and they fulfilled their designated roles quite well. But after trying out the new Stryke pants, the same can be said for them!


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(Please excuse the wrinkles, I just took them off when this photo was taken)

When I first got my pair of Stryke Flex-Tacs, I was rather impressed with the quality of construction and materials. All the seams are double stitched, there aren’t any rough stitching spots that could annoy one’s skin and the fabric is a low-maintenance rip-stop fabric consisting of 41% Flex-Tac® polyester, 24% polyester and 35% cotton (don’t quite know what Flex-Tac® is myself but it seems to work well!). As many people already know, a poly/cotton blend doesn’t require ironing (if hung straight away from the dryer) and doesn’t require extra work to eliminate tougher stains like oil. Add on the ability for polyester cotton blends to stretch, dry quickly and respire, and you get a pair of pants that can be used for just about anything.


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Pocket flap detail


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When I tested them out for a few hours just around the house, I noticed several very cool features that aren’t typically seen on run-of-the mill pants, at least in my experience. For one, I noticed that I didn’t have to adjust my nether anatomy quite as much, if at all (one of my greater annoyances). I came to find out that is because instead of a normal crotch where the seam runs the entire middle of the pant, the Stryke pant is “gusseted,” which adds breadth to the fabric and breaks up the seam, making the garment just… well, fit better. You will notice in the photo below what I am talking about. This might not be a completely revolutionary idea but it is something I haven’t come across at all in all my clothes and it makes the fit really, really comfortable.


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Another thing that got me stoked about these pants are the pockets. The back pockets are deep and practical and are attached with Velcro, making access quicker than normal buttons and more comfortable than snaps. The leg pockets have Velcro closures as well and have internal pockets or dividers for tidily holding important objects like magazines and cell phones. There are even pockets in the front for magazines. If someone were to get frisky enough to need it, you can literally pack six 30rd magazines in these pants, with two in each leg and two in the front. Of course, at over one pound per loaded magazine, things could get annoying rather quickly. Trust me, I drove 60 miles and went to a shooting range with four fully-loaded 30rd AR-15 magazines in my leg pockets and while I accomplished it in relative comfort, it was interesting slinging around that much weight on the legs for a few hours. I think it is safe to say that these pants aren’t necessarily for long-term transport of magazines; for tactical drills or real-life scenarios, it would be just fine. The side pockets are standard fare but there is a reinforced area for knife clips in the lower corner, which is always appreciated for those that use knives with the “wave” feature like the Spyderco Endura 4 Wave or some of the Emerson blades.


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A hidden but welcome feature of these pants is the pair of hidden kneepad insert pockets. Being hidden, you can’t get to them from the outside so you have to turn the pant leg inside-out to gain access these pockets. I didn’t have a chance to utilize this feature during my review but for those that kneel or slide around a lot, I can see this feature as being really convenient and even necessary. What I appreciate most about them though is that there isn’t a zipper or other unseemly fastener to cause irritation in the knee area.


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Like my “dressy” 5.11 Tactical pants, the Stryke pants have a sort of elastic harness system that fits the pants to your waist. Seeing as how every once in a while I do go off the caloric deep-end and binge (my garden has been quite prolific so I have been experimenting), the stretch feature is really nice for giving a bit room for weight variation that tends to occur in normal day-to-day life. The only downside to this elastic feature is that sometimes your undergarments can show through the side pockets so keeping your weight to the lighter end of the spectrum and your waist closer to your true size will prove to be more comfortable.

Some other small features of these pants that I appreciated are the bilateral badge holder slots (I used my EMT badge for pictorial purposes), the wide belt loops (up to 1.75” belt!) and the sturdy snap for front closure. The belt used below is my Simply Rugged Real Man's Belt (1.5" wide)


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Overall opinion: These pants are well-made, comfortable, and above all, very functional, practical and easy to maintain. I haven’t owned these pants long enough to say anything about their durability but being a 5.11 Tactical product it is backed by an excellent reputation so I cannot imagine anything these pants as being less than durable.

Click here to see some tactical pants

Click here to see more tactical gear.

CARRY ON!

-N8

*For the uninitiated, LUCC is a concept that is, as far as I know, unique to California. It basically allows us peons to carry a firearm with us anywhere a firearm isn’t otherwise prohibited as long as it is unloaded and in a locked case.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Esco cops don't like bows either...

A small blog post for the sake of some humor...

So I spent today in Escondido with my older brother while his truck got fixed over on Escondido Blvd. Knowing that it would be a while, I brought along my bow and some arrows so I could walk over to Willow Creek Archery to get some new fletchings and a peep tube. The distance from the auto shop to WCA is about 3.2mi, so 6.4mi round trip.

During the whole time walking (4hrs) we saw about 10-12 cops. On the return trip, I noticed one cop look out his window like he just saw Mila Kunis in a mini skirt. Knowing this would probably initiate a contact not directly related to tea and crumpets, I turned on Cop Recorder 2 on my phone (If you do not have this app, get it. One of the best apps ever.)

Sure enough, about 2min later, the cops rolled up about 30' behind me. Here is how it went:

Officer: Sir, SIR! You with the arrows!
*I turn around*
Officer: Can we talk with you for a second?
Me: Am I under arrest?
Officer: No.
Me: *Salute* See ya!

These two cops followed me for a few blocks, probably radioing frantically to dispatch trying to figure out how to stop someone in possession of even a college campus legal weapon. After we passed them near Peterson's Donut Corner ( or maybe it wasn't... in any case, the reference alone is hilarious!) they turned back north and left us alone.

I have audio of the encounter but they were too far away to be picked up by my phone so it is just me with my two lines.

So yeah, that's my story for the day.

CARRY ON!

-N8

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Hoorag.com is sending me a sample!

A lady from Hoorag.com is sending me a Dark Digital Hoorag to review! Pretty stoked! Stay Tuned!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

July 4th Fun!

Went out OCing with firemark and we had a day with pretty much no issues. We also met a photojournalist and his girlfriend who followed us around the boardwalk taking photos for the Beach and Bay Press.

Here is the highlight of the whole day.

http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=453630

CARRY ON!

-N8

Friday, January 28, 2011

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