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September 2007:

9/05/07

Having finally completed the Physical Qualifications (PQ), I am now moving forward with the job. PQ is a real mixture. 

On the one hand, you get to experience the joy of multiple trips to various medical providers. And, blindly sending off a blood sample never to know exactly what the results are or even the scope of the testing. Although they do provide a sheet to say what they are looking for, it would make sense that even deeper tests are run. Cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, STD's, AIDS...you get the idea. It's a good thing there was a high-quality treadmill in the house. By the time I gave my blood sample, I was in the best condition I've been in for a long time. Of course, that's not actually saying much. All of the medical and dental people I dealt with were all very good, and seemed really interested in life at The Pole. The only snag was an over-zealous doctor reviewing an ultrasound of my abdomen. I only asked that the gall bladder be examined (per Raytheon). But, they looked at all organs. The reviewing doctor, who works for the imaging facility, thought he saw something abnormal on my liver. He recommended some much more expensive testing. So, I went back to this facility for a CT scan of my guts. No anomalies found. That's good. The other bad thing about these doctors office visits is that everyone in the waiting room is sick. I don't get sick. I don't like being around sick people. In fact, the only time in recent memory when I had what could be called 'a cold' is the day after my 1st doctor visit. The place is a germ factory. Stupid kids. At least I know there will be no children at The Pole.

On the other hand, you get to find out if you're actually healthy or not. The testing is pretty thorough. This makes sense. Once you're at The Pole, getting home or even to an up-to-date medical facility can be impossible.

Communication from Raytheon has almost always arrived in time. I head to Denver for fire-fighting school, trauma school, crisis management school, and a psychological exam. The Psych eval is only required for those staying through the winter; which I have been invited to do. Today, an email arrived (which I was copied on) that was apparently to a shuttle service. It gave names and arrival times for some of my fellow Winterover colleagues. I still don't know exactly when I depart Phoenix for Antarctica. I'll be in Denver until 9/27. I suspect the journey south will begin around 10/1.

9/11/07

 

Six years have passed. May the lost civilians and KIA/injured soldiers find peace. 

Today in congress, weasel politicians called a four-star general a liar and a puppet. Is there hope for the USA?

 

As I'm sure you can envision, there are a million details I need to address before I can leave for The Pole. So far, I have sold a house and two cars, about $10k worth of other items, closed 3 or 4 bank accounts, been medically and dentally evaluated, and moved my remaining possessions to a storage unit 40 miles from home. Add to that several other financial details, and that's been my life the last couple of weeks.
 
The fun part has been buying all the cold weather clothing over the internet. All the exterior clothes are provided by Raytheon, but everything underneath I have had to buy. Living in Phoenix these last 15 years really hasn't given me a reason to buy flannel-lined jeans!
 
So far, the whole experience has been very cathartic. It's great to cut-free from the job, possessions and "normal" responsibilities. I have always done well in small group scenarios, so living at The Pole should be a good fit for me. Time will tell.

 I have been asked to participate in the emergency response team (thus the training in Denver). In the past, I would never volunteer for such duty. However, I finally feel ready to accept greater responsibilities. I look forward to contributing to the safe operation of the station. It may be nice to be a leader rather than a follower for a while.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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