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drone saved life

My Drone Saved My Life *WARNING* Graphic Images

My drone saved my life. I know I never make personal blog posts but this post has a good message.

What has 4 motors, 12 sharp blades that spin at 45,000 RPM…your race drone.

This past weekend at the MultiGP Texhoma Quads qualifier race and an incident happened that put me in the hospital for 4 days.

A little background on what happened. Around 6/14 I started taking a prescription med Lipitor to help keep my cholesterol levels in check. Then Thursday night of 6/28 I started noticing all these little red dots appearing all over my body. Next day it got even worse. I didn’t think much of it. Probably just some weird rash from the Lipitor so I stopped taking the meds. That morning I bit both sides of my cheeks while eating a bagel. Usually no big deal but these bites turned into huge bloody blisters inside my mouth that didn’t stop bleeding for 3 days. Strange, but wasn’t going to stop me from going to fly.

Next day at the race, I had red spots all over my body and was swallowing blood all day. Also my quad was acting a little funny. The two practice rounds went fine. Quad flew fine, nothing out of the ordinary. Then the first heat, I tried to take off and my quad just flipped off the ProLaunch. I thought I had a wrong prop on or something. Tried turtle mode and it did the same thing. After the race, I checked the quad and everything was ok. Did a hover test and it was fine. Next 4 heats quad flew just fine.

On the last heat 5, I didn’t change anything from heat 4 except a new battery. I put my quad on the ProLaunch, took a few steps back and gave it about 10% throttle to make sure everything was ok. It happened so fast so I don’t remember all the details. I remember seeing the quad lift, yaw like crazy, spun around and full throttle into my arm. I know absolutely for sure I didn’t give it full throttle because there were other people setting up their quads. The quad nailed me pretty good. Felt like blocking a body kick the impact was that hard so I know it was at full throttle. It ripped my arm pretty good.

Plugged the quad back in, did a hover test and it was fine. Put it back on the Pro Launch and did a quick arm 20 feet away, all was good. Noticed the cut on my arm was gnarly. Two superficial cuts and one pretty deep gash. Didn’t wanna keep everyone waiting so I wiped up the blood with some napkins and continued with the race. I didn’t do too well in that heat. My mind was too occupied with my bleeding arm. Hit a gate and ejected the battery.

After the race the first aid crew at Texhoma Quads helped patch me up. I was bleeding pretty good. They finally poured some WoundSeal on the cut and it seemed to stop the bleeding enough to put some gauze and tape on it.

When I got home and showered, the cut on my arm was bleeding pretty good and wouldn’t stop. I also noticed the red dots on my body were getting pretty bad so I decided to go to the ER clinic. Two birds one stone…

Thrombocytopenia What?

At the clinic they did a blood test and found my blood platelet count was 4! Normal is in the 200-400 range. So essentially I didn’t have any platelets in my blood. Platelets are what stops your body from bleeding. If you get a cut and don’t have platelets you will just keep bleeding.

I didn’t even mention the cuts on my arm but they saw the blood oozing. They glued it together with some Steristrips.

drone saved life

So all those red dots all over my body is called Petechiae. Essentially because I didn’t have many platelets, my capillaries were hemorrhaging under the skin.

They diagnosed my condition as Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP). Idiopathic is a term they use in medicine that pretty much means they don’t know the cause. Thrombocytopenic means not enough platelets in the blood. Purpura is a condition of red or purple spots under the skin caused by bleeding under the skin.

Turns out ITP is an autoimmune disease that tells your body to kill off platelets. They started me on some a corticosteroid to stop the attack on my own body. Since my platelet count was so low I was transferred to the hospital.

At the hospital they did all sorts of tests, head CT, chest x-ray, brain MRI, ultrasound scan of my stomach, liver, spleen, echocardiogram and even a bone marrow biopsy. Good news is it’s all clear, no cancer! Bad news they don’t know why my body is killing platelets. They started immune globulin infusion to help boost my immune system and platelet infusion to bring the levels up.

I have never heard of any of this stuff before Saturday, now I’m an expert!

By Sunday my count dropped to 3! So really, if the quad didn’t hit arm, I may have never gone to the ER for the start of the meds, my levels could have dropped to zero. A small hemorrhage in my brain would have killed me.

drone saved lifeAnyway, long story short, I spent the next 4 days in the hospital getting poked and pumped full of drugs and platelets.

The worst thing is the “idiopathic” part. They don’t know what’s causing it so they can’t fix it. It’s killing the OCD part of me. Feeling so helpless and not knowing. The standard way of fixing these kind of things is to keep trying different meds/procedures and hope something works. The hematologist is talking about pumping me with some nasty drugs with tons of side effects or removing my spleen. WTF

Even though the doctor doesn’t think so, I’m really hoping that it was the Lipitor that caused this mess. Before I started the Lipitor my platelet count was normal, 213. Two weeks later it’s 3.

Logically it makes sense. There’s still tons of tests to do but I think I’ll wait a little before removing my spleen or starting low level chemo.

The pic on the right is me finally getting to see my monkey after three days in the hospital.

Quadcopter Safety

Our local MultiGP chapter is thinking about implementing a new safety rule. A 10 foot square box at the staging area where you aren’t allowed to arm your quad until everyone is out of the box.

It may sound like a hassle but accidents happen. I’m glad that my quad hit me and not someone else. Can you imagine how you’d feel if your quad went full throttle into someone’s face?

Let me know your thought in the comments below. Do you think MultiGP should implement this rule? Or have you had any freak accidents like this that caused yourself or someone else to be injured. Let me know I’m not the only unlucky person flying FPV!

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