Saturday, June 28, 2008

Got the huge packet

I got an email from RPSC containing the voluminous PQ (physical qualification) forms. These lengthy forms are a thorough medical history and examination forms for my doctor and dentist to complete. I need a full-mouth x-ray, EKG, and a Treadmill Stress Test. There are a host of laboratory tests that need to be done too. As a site physician, I am glad to know how thorough the PQ process is and the quality of the records to which I will have access during my tour of duty.

It's hard to get appointments with local doctors during the summer, so I will try to cobble together a variety of sources to complete the testing and examination process.

I also got a note from RPSC that they will no longer be providing non-prescription sunglasses to participants. Sunglasses of the highest quality are required at all times outdoors in Antarctica. The sun and its reflection off the snow and ice can cause snow blindness or severely damage the eye if it is not protected from all UV rays. Fortunately, RPSC has arranged for wholesale pricing on high quality mountaineering sunglasses. I've ordered three pair because I'm sure to lose a pair and sit on another pair.

I also received a Participant Guide. This is the everything-you-wanted-to-know guide. It is extremely comprehensive and complete. Reading this was invaluable and answered questions I didn't know I had. It also contained a well written history of the continent and related treaties.

Monday, June 23, 2008

In the beginning....

After 27 years as an obstetrician-gynecologist, an opportunity crossed my desk that was too awesome to pass up: an opportunity to apply for a 20 week tour of duty as a physician in Antarctica. The US Antarctic Program runs three stations on Antarctica. They were seeking physicians for each location.

After successfully negotiating a lengthy screening process including background check, references and credentials verification, I was notified last week that I was selected to be the staff physician at McMurdo Station. The tour of duty runs from October 2008 through February 2009.

In coming posts, you will learn more about the stages of getting ready, training, travel, life and work on station, and returning home.

Many thanks to my wife, Briana, for her flexibility in letting me be away so long. Briana and our daughter, Meris, are very understanding and kind for letting me be absent for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Don & Briana's birthdays, Christmas, New Year's, and Valentine's Day.