Ice Bound: A Doctor's Incredible Battle for Survival at the South Pole

Ice Bound: A Doctor's Incredible Battle for Survival at the South Pole

Maryanne Vollers

Language: English

Pages: 384

ISBN: 0786866845

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Jerri Nielsen was a forty-six-year-old doctor working in Ohio when she made the decision to take a year's sabbatical at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station on Antarctica, the most remote and perilous place on Earth. The "Polies," as they are known, live in almost total darkness for six months of the year, in winter temperatures as low as 100 degrees below zero--with no way in or out before the spring.

During the long winter of 1999, Dr. Nielsen, solely responsible for the mental and physical fitness of a team of researchers, construction workers, and support staff, discovered a lump in her breast. Consulting via email with doctors in the United States, she performed a biopsy on herself, and in July began chemotherapy treatments to ensure her survival until condition permitted her rescue in October. A daring rescue by the Air National Guard ensued, who landed, dropped off a replacement physician, and minutes later took off with Dr. Nielsen.

This is Dr. Nielsen's own account of her experience at the Pole, the sea change as she becomes "of the Ice," and her realization that as she would rather be on Antarctica than anywhere else on earth. It is also a thrilling adventure of researchers and scientists embattled by a hostile environment; a penetrating exploration of the dynamics of an isolated, intensely connected community faced with adversity; and, at its core, a powerfully moving drama of love and loss, of one woman's voyage of self-discovery through an extraordinary struggle for survival.

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Ohio. 29 the Looking Glass had I than a less month ous cycle of education and certification a doctor needs to had field. I also my up clear means? up to set would be issued affairs, South Pole when you was allowed three I power of attorney a unfinished business for a year at the to to pre- emergency medicine boards, part of the continu- me suitcases, three later How and pack. finances, do you pack know what really don't that orange duffel bags (which by

My home — the Biomed building —was sheltered under a steel archway that branched off the entrance tunnel the just before Dome. Biomed was an orange metal shack reached it insulated with two- foot-thick foam. Boxes of office supplies and other commodities were stacked high against each wall. freezer door, the type this freezer The front entrance was a huge white found in a meatpacker's warehouse. As a twist, kept the cold out, not in. The building housed two-bed hospital,

every- out to the cargo berms. Mike and I inventoried the station's cache of emergency medical supplies, kept at the or emergency power plant some other catastrophe in case the forced us to evacuate. bat medical cases contained everything A stash we would Dome burned of metal com- need: medications, bandages, dressings, IV bags, oxygen and airway supplies, surgical setups, and returned to took careful note of what was needed and then stretchers. I Biomed add more

Celtic a cozy atmosphere. CD and Andy made coffee, and we told had had since childhood. community in a I that needed my was the best birthday stories. It past; me, in a place that truly mattered in it was gone. I each hats. Loree was forty-seven and surrounded by more every day about what could not control We player. wore fake eyeglasses with rubber noses and birthday clown I life. I I friends, loved, discovering understood that saw nothing in my I future but

injuries and other trauma. There were bruises but no obvious fractures. I wanted to test his mental status so I ran through a list of questions down from one hundred by "Big John, count sevens." "Ninety-seven ..." I looked into his eyes, hard, and he must have seen "Uh . . . my concern. ninety-three!" he said. "Okay, continue." He thought really hard for about frowned. "Wow," he said. "Can "Okay. What does it I fifteen seconds. Then he have another one?" mean

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