Friday, October 31, 2008

Saving Willie Martinez

A couple of weeks ago at work I took a first aid certification training, with a handful of my coworkers, during which I told a brief retelling of the time I found a guy in a parking lot, stabbed in the chest. Tonight at the Halloween party at work, one of the folks that heard that story expressed an interest in hearing the entire story.

For me, this story is a tale of a real life changing event. I have told the story a few hundred times, and although my role in it might be considered to be heroic, for me it was just the least I could do.

It was a normal sort of day in suburbia and my wife and I, went to check out a Play Zone store in Fremont, California, to find out about a party for my daughter's fourth birthday. Since my daughter is now 21, that means that this was the end of July, early August in 1991. I can't remember entirely the date, but I sort of suspect August 2nd was the day -- since I think I read the Saturday paper to find out details about it the next day. So anyway my wife and I and the two kids went to this play zone in Fremont to arrange a party in the Subaru.

I am getting a bit ahead of myself. At the time I was working teaching recreation classes in painting and recently the administrator of the city of Half Moon Bay had forced an official San Mateo County first aid kit on me, since I was teaching a course in landscape painting, which I put under the seat of the car. Although I had had Red Cross first aid training, I don't think it was actually current, but the night before I had seen an interesting story about emergencies, first aid, and how to stop major bleeding.

So we are in this Play Zone checking out the party action, and book a party and leave ... I insist on going back in to pee, but find the bathroom all jammed up so leave any,way and then make a wrong turn to the admonishment of my wife and we are driving through the parking lot and there's a guy on his back the ground in the opposing lane of traffic with a panicked woman screaming on top of him and shaking him. There's blood. I reach under the seat and grab the first aid kit.

I stop the car and get out.

"What's happening?" I ask.

"It's my boyfriend, he's been stabbed. A bunch of guys, they beat him, then they stabbed him."

The right side of his shirt is soaked in blood about heart high. There's a lot of blood.
"Ok, sit down right there on the sidewalk, and I'll see if I can help him." I ask. "What's your name?" I ask him as I open his shirt. There's a one and a half inch wide puncture wound in his chest, just about where I imagine there's a huge vein. It's bleeding. Not pumping. But there's a huge amount of blood coming out.

"Willie Martinez."

"I am gonna try to help you, but I think it's gonna hurt."

"Ok." he says, and passes out.

I take a look around. I am in a lane of traffic and I am alone. I see a guy in the near distance running directly at a phone. I assume (correctly) that he's going to call 911. Willie's right hand is bleeding. I open the first aid kit and grab the biggest gauze thing I can find -- which is a 4" compress. Open it and press it against the wound. My wife asks if I need anything.

"Can you bring me a diaper, I really need a bigger bandage?" I pinch the opening closed in Willie's chest by squeezing it with my fingers. A crowd is gathering.

A woman approaches and says "I am a nurse, can I help?" I hand her the first aid kit and tell her that he has a huge cut on his hand. A large woman approches me and states that she is a doctor. I hear a siren. The doctor has trouble getting down to the ground but has a black bag. I am going though the first aid training ABC's and by now am trying to get a pulse. The doctor instructs me on finding the carotid artery, but is clearly reluctant to touch the victim.

The doctor has me roll our victim up on his side so that his good lung is up.

My wife returns with a blanket and says, there aren't any daipers -- this is all I can find. The Doctor thinks Willie may be in shock -- so we use the blanket to wrap him up and try to raise his head. The siren is close now. I now have him in a sort of hug where I am holding this little piece of guaze against his chest and pinching his wound closed between my fingers.

The cops arrive. I think, thank god -- maybe someone will take over. There is a pretty large crowd. The cop asks me what happenned and I explain the Willie got stabbed. He asks me, "How big was the knife?" I say, "I don't know," and he asks if I saw what happenned, and I say no.

"Who did?" the cop asks, and I point at the girl, still on the sidewalk. He takes his notebook and walks away. I hear another siren. The Fire Department is arriving. They run up carrying toolboxes, and whatnot. I hear another siren. The fireman look at me, and ask what's up. I tell them about Willie and they ask, "How big was the knife?" Oddly, they stand there in wonder and immobility. and the parametics arrive.

The paramedics immediately shout instructions to me -- "Don't move." "What happened?" "..."
"How big was the knife?"

"I don't know."

The paramedic ripped off Willie's shirt to examine the back of Willies body to see if the wound had gone through. It hadn't. They roll him on a backboard and I maintain my position holding him together. They setup an IV. He said to me, "Let me see what you got."

I removed my hand and showed him the wound. He made a loud gasp and so did I. Willie wasn't bleeding. He wasn't bleeding. The paramedic plastered him with a large piece of plastic tape.

I get up and walk over to the cop, "Do you need me for anything?"

"Did you see what happened?"


"You can go."

I get into the car and drive home. I wonder to myself if I just fulfilled my life's purpose.

Later that night I call Washington hospital (he's not there), the Fremont Police, and Alta Bates (the coronary truama unit -- he's there).

The nurse at Alta Bates I talk to -- and I explain I was there when it happened -- she says -- "oh you're the one ..."

I learned that he lived -- that 6 kids got arrested for beating him ,, that's everything I ever knew about it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Trade ...

Last year or maybe before that ... My son crashed on this bike and quit riding it. It's actually a bit odd that he insisted on the skinny tire road bike set up, and then crashed because of it. Any way, despite crashing -- he wants a bike again, so I am going to give him a fat tired bike to ride.

I squirted some oil on them and swapped out the pedals ... I am looking forward to riding my commuter again.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Blacktail Deer

I was so close to this buck that it got uncomfortable. It snorted and I about jumped out of my skin.

Swim: 0 yd/5150 yd.
Run: /9.55 mi. 20:00
Bike: 0/15 mi.
Paddle: 0/4 mi.
Hike: 4/19 mi.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Half-Naked Thursday


Swim: 0 yd/5150 yd.
Run: 1.6/6.35 mi. 20:00
Bike: 0/15 mi.
Paddle: 0/4 mi.
Hike 0/15 mi.

Weight: 156

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hump Day


Swim: 500 yd/5150 yd.
Run: 0/4.75 mi. 15:05
Bike: 0/15 mi. (machine)
Paddle: 0/4 mi.
Hike 0/15 mi.

Weight: 154

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Screw Ironing

I am working on the Physical Efficiency Battery (PEB). Today's run at 15:05 for 1.5 miles puts me on the map with a score of 65. There are some interesting points to note. The machine claimed a maximum heart rate of 199, which is a bit out of range for my age. It's not uncommon for me to be above 170, so it may not be lying.

I wonder how high it is when it's really pounding when I am mountain biking.


Swim: 0 yd/4650 yd.
Run: 1.5/4.75 mi. 15:05
Bike: 1/15 mi. (machine)
Paddle: 0/4 mi.
Hike 0/15 mi.

Weight: 154

Monday, October 20, 2008

Monday Wash Day ...

I swam 20 laps in about 30 minutes. Much better than last time.


Swim: 1000 yd/4650 yd.
Run: 1.25/3.25 mi.
Bike: 0/14 mi.
Paddle: 0/4 mi.
Hike 0/15 mi.

Weight: 154

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Saturday ...

I took notes today.

Today's workout:

Shoulder Press 1 x 8 @ 50, 2 x 8 @ 37.5
Lateral Raise 3 x 9 @ 50
Tricep Extension 3 x 8 @ 25
Arm Curl 8 @ 31.25, 8 @43.75, 8 @ 31.25
Back Extension 2 x 8 @50, 1 x 8 @ 75
Abdominal 8 @ 50, 2 x 8 @ 75
Row 3 x 8 @ 100
Lat Pulldown 8 @ 87.5, 2 x 8 75
Leg Extensions 8 @ 75, 2 x 8 @ 50
Leg Press 8 @ 140, 8 @ 160, 8 @ 180
Hip Adduction 3 x 8 @ 100
Hip Abduction 8 @ 75, 8 @ 62.5, 8 @ 50
Chest Press 10 @ 106.25, 10 @ 81.25, 10 @ 55.25
Fly 8 @ 40, 2 x 8 @ 20

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday Night at the Laundromat


Swim: 0/3650 yd.
Run: 1.25/3.25 mi.
Bike: 0/14 mi.
Paddle: 0/4 mi.
Hike 0/15 mi.

I also did a little workout.

3 sets of 8 each of:

Bench Press 50
Butterfly curl 30 20 20
Curls 50
Pull up 120 80 80
Dip 80 120 120
Leg Press 100
Hip Adductor 50
Row 100 80 80

40 sit-ups

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Now that I've Admitted to Belching Often ...

... I mean, well, being old. I guess I can talk a bit about it. I went to the Doctor with a list. 1. I burp too much, 2. I had a tick bite on my abdomen that wouldn't heal. 3. A bump on my foot that bleeds when I hike 10 or so miles, 4. I needed to establish a relationship with a Doctor for a change.

All pretty minor stuff. The Doctor talked about my history, did I smoke, drink, whatever. family health, hypertension, blood pressure. How old I was ...

Suddenly we were all talking about a physical and screenings for colon cancer ... and she was putting on that single glove. Ok -- well what about the bumb on my foot, I am saying ... We'll get to that later, once we do all this other stuff.

I see the Gastroentorologist, or whatever. I still have no idea why I burp so much. I ask -- he's not sure. I explain about the Grand Canyon and being force plunged into the river and the water being forcwd into my stomach and lungs ... and how I had giardia and was treated for it and when that started all the burbing, and does that have anything to do withit, is it a bad "flora" or a yeast, can we test for that? I have a lot of questions.


Wellso I had the colonoscopy, now recommended for folks over 40 with a history of colon cancer in the family. 50 other wise. I also had an endoscopy, which is recommended for folks with a lot of gas and pain shortly after swallowing right in the general vicinity of the heart. I am sure this is going to be a real blast ... I am thinking, remembering my father's drinking 750 gallons of liquid to clean him out, all in a single night.

So, like I said, I had the thing. I drank the go-litely (now just a half gallon). I went in and had the morphine (the only real drug that I had never tried). I don 't remember any of it. It was done in a few hours. I saw the pictures. I heard about the 5 different biopsies. I liked the morphine -- I could get used to that.

One of the biopsied polyps was pre-cancerous. Every thing else was normal, and that I have an inflammed esophagus and stomach, and no explanation of why. I lived. I should continue to live. The tick bite has formed a decently ugly scar which may never go away. I don't seem to have lyme disease. The dermatologist scraped off the bump on my toe and had it biopsied ... Again normal. I don't have any intestinal parasites.

I still have no idea why I burp so much. I take a drug called protonix every day which helps -- but I am not going to take it forever. There' no real indication that it will stop the gas after it's done, or that the inflammation will subside.

I am not sure I am entirely right after all that. My throat is irritated and I have a twingy pain sometimes in my stomach. My faith in medical science is slightly a jar. My confidence that drinking from the Colorado River isn't that great of an idea, is still pretty intact, however.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Swim: 500/3650 yd.
Run: 1/2 mi. Time 10:00
Bike: 0/14 mi.
Paddle: 0/4 mi.
Hike 0/15 mi.

I ran a 10 minute mile this morning. My fastest ever on a treadmill. My PB for a mile is 5:54 when I was about 14 or 15. I don't think I am going to be able to do that again, but I'll settle for a ten minute mile indoors.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Mokelumne River Trail

From my trip a week ago.

Notice the bit about "advanced wilderness skills required".

Mokelumne River.

Swim: 500/3150 yds.
Run: 0/1 mi.
Bike: 0/14 mi.
Paddle: 0/4 mi.
Hike 0/15 mi.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

These are my bike buddies immediately after one of them crashed, shortening what was promising to be about a 10 mile ride, down to about 5. There's blood in that picture -- if you look.

So -- 5 mile cycling and 900 yards swimming. Why, you might ask? Ummm, errr, it's like Sunday.

today/this month

Swim: 900/2650 yds.
Run: 0/1 mi.
Bike: 5/14 mi.
Paddle: 0/4 mi.
Hike 0/15 mi.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

20 laps today ... I think I might have had a bit of a break through. It took me about 45 minutes to do that, because I had to stop and catch my breathe a lot. It's to be a 25 yard pool, so that's 1000 yards.

I was actually able to put several laps together without stopping to catch my breath.

Swim: 1000/1750 yds.
Run: 0/1 mi.
Bike: 0/9 mi.
Paddle: 0/4 mi.
Hike 0/15 mi.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ho Hum ...

So it's Friday night. I remember in college when I didnt have a date on Friday night. I would go and do my laundry at the laundromat and see if I could run into some other person "too busy" to go out on a Friday night. Another option might be to go to the gym, or the pool, or a women's basketball game.

I just got back from the gym, surprisingly it's much busier on Thursday night than Friday. Last night I ran a 1/2 on the elliptical and a 1/2 on the treadmill, 15 minutes on the rowing machine, and did an awesome upper body workout, along with 15 minutes in the spa.

Tonight 15 laps in the pool - mostly freesytyle sprints with a lot of gasping for air in between.

Swim: 750 yrds.
Run: 1 mile
Bike: 0
Paddle: 0

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Oh, to be on Sugar Mountain ...

So, one of the interesting side effects of turning 50 is that you're older in the eyes of the Doctors. When you show up because you've got some gas, or some bumbs on your skin, or a big ugly tick bite that won't heal, they really want to talk about taking blood for tests and several critical screenings for cancer, and they offer as often as possible to give you a perscription that you might need to take for the rest of your life. They really don't have a lot of time for the tick bite you've got that won't heal, and, sometimes, they don't remember why you've shown up for an appointment, even though they asked you to come.

So today I looked over the results of the first panel of "labs" that I have had done, which found that my cholesterol is high, and that my glucose is high. "Did you cheat while fasting?" No. Sorry, I really did fast. There were some very positive things. My PSA results indicate that I probably don't have prostate cancer, although the Doctor didn't actually speak to that directly. It's 0.37 while the acceptable range is from 0.00 to 4.00. Despite a few too many beers over my lifetime, it appears my liver and kidneys may still be working occasionally.

After discussion my normal exercise routine, we decided I should try to manage my glucose and cholesterol with (increased) exercise and diet (rather than take some cholesterol reducing drug for the rest of my life), which the doc was confident wouldn't work. She recommended that "Paleo" diet, which is basically a diet based on foods that man would have eaten prior to agriculture or the domestication of animals. As you see in the picture above, the potatoes and the steak from the dinner during my recent hunting trip, are both perfect in every way. They would both be unacceptable according to this diet, because the potatoes are harvested agriculture, and the beef is domestic. Wild animals that one might hunt or capture, collectable fruits, nuts or berries, or just perhaps generally starving due to the inability to find or capture anything, seem to be the key constituents to this diet. It seems I may need to sharpen my bear hunting skills.

I did recently join the Y near my house. They have a pool and hot-tub, and classes, and weights and machines with tv's. I am not sure how to increase my workout, because I usually climb 3 times a week and paddle once or twice, and then mountain bike once on the weekend. I suspect I need to either one, have more sex, or two, start working out the remaining days of the week at the gym in a very aerobic way. I think I will buy some tight fitting tees, some new shorts, and get a hair cut ... and start hanging out more often at the gym, and see if I can change my exercise pattern.

So -- My new plan:

M-F cycle to gym, work and home
M W F -- Climb in the AM. 5k Run PM.
T -- Go to the gym and swim AM. -- Weights.
TH -- Swim AM. -- PM, Kayak
training in the pool. Weight training after.
S -- Paddle 8 miles.
S -- Hike 5 miles, hot-tub.
There's a problem or two with this -- so it's just tentative. Once I squeeze 40 hours of work into this -- there isnt going to be any time to eat, much less gather nuts, fruits and berries.

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Year in the Wilderness ...

Alpine Lake in the Rain.

or ... oh man, is it raining.

It all started innocently enough. Vacation ... 7 days in the Mokelumne Wilderness looking for bear. I left Thursday, with a truck load of gear and a general plan to camp near the road at 7000 feet in Hermit Valley. And each day, hike into the wilderness. It's a trip like one I made with my father when I was about 17. It interesting to be car camping again, so many luxuries.

Friday morning I woke with an uncharacteristic warmth to the air and a thin wispy overcast. The predictions for a storm must be true, I thought. Ok -- so it could snow. I can wait it out. I set up camp, and took a quiet walk up the hill to get acclimated and have a look around. It's a brisk 720' climb in about a mile and runs up a rough jeep trail to a knob just above camp. At the top of the hill there is a crisp wind. I am a bit winded.

By the time I return it's raining lightly, just a mist falling really, but falling steadily. I start a fire, cook, eat, and the wind starts to hum a bit above me in the trees. I secure the tent a little better. I test out the ice chest (such luxury ...) by choosing a cold beverage, and set up the chair (a chair?) near the fire. I realize that I have forgotten my rain pants, but put on my ultra-lite anorak. and determine to stand to reduce the water falling on my lower body.

Alpine Lake Still in the Rain

I stoke the fire. A family of European travelers inquires whether I have any "gasoline" for sale ... We have a brief conversation about Markleeville being about 30 miles away. We talk about bears and that the family is traveling from Yosemite. I explain that they will be ok if they have to spend the night in their car, and that here the bears are wild, and the humans have guns, which means that the bears are afraid of the humans, unlike in the National Park. I offer my gas can and they decline ...

It is now raining in earnest. the wind above me has risen to a mild cacophony and ... "I think it's going to really storm" goes through my head. I stoke the fire again and secure the camp against the wind.

The wind rises to a roar in the trees about 150 feet above me. Although I am at 7000 feet, it's still about 2-3000 feet below the tree line. I think that qualifies the climate zone to be subarctic, but just by a bit. Back to the wind. The howling increases, helping my mind to wander. I think of Frost, Thoreau and Whitman, and other great men of the wilderness, I think of Abbey, and John Muir. The roaring above me increases, but it's not really windy here on the ground. Is this what inspired Muir to climb a great tree and whether a storm at the top? The roar continues to increase in intensity.

The rain has been increasing too. The rain in Northern California is different from the rain in Arizona. It can rain 3 inches in 15 minutes in Arizona, and everything is dry 15 minutes later. In California, it takes a day to rain 3 inches and 3 days to dry out. The rain in California usually has an ocean behind it. I think about my dead brother, and how whenever we went camping it rained. I hope I haven't somehow been cursed with that.

That's when I start thinking about my time in the wilderness. The Eel river, Russian river canoe trips, crazy inner tube rides in Cache creek, the Colorado, the Sierras, the redwoods, Yosemite, Puget Sound, the San Juan Islands, San Juan river, and the San Juan mountains, Vancouver Island, Zion, Joshua Tree, the Sisters, the Kalmiopsis wilderness, the Superstition wilderness, and my totally ever present home, the Santa Cruz Mountains. It started before my earliest memories. Trips to the mountains, the country, the wilderness.

I did a brief calculation. Since I am now 50, I have seriously been traveling to the wilderness for about 40 years, usually 2-3 times a year for a week or so. So I figure that it's somewhere around 100 weeks, but since I can't really say for sure, I'll just call it 52 weeks. Which is a year in the wilderness. I've spent a year in the wilderness.

That may help explain why I am standing in the rain, in the dark, when it's about 40° out, staring at a fire, thinking about John Muir riding a storm out in the top of some fir tree, and wishing it would snow.

Camp de Shawn

P. S. For those of you that follow these things, it appears that Snowshoe Thompson has a beverage™ named after him.