Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Not Much To Say...

I haven't been doing much of anything these past two days due to my having contracted The Crud! The Crud, if you'll check your handy dictionary, refers to the mish-mash of viral and bacterial germs that new people bring when arriving to McMurdo en masse. These colds/flus quickly circulate among the population since everyone stays inside, eats communally, etc. My doom was probably the decision to actually be social and get out to meet people and go to get-togethers. I woke up Tuesday morning totally unable to go to work and went straight to the clinic. My colleague, Jim, was a trooper and went to work anyway even though I told him he shouldn't since it wouldn't be fair. I got some meds from the Doc and slept the day away. All the army medics in the clinic stopped by to giggle with me since I had been hanging out with them a fair amount. After my check-up, Mike gave me a mini-tour of the clinic, and I saw the neatest, old-school hyperbaric chamber, used for pumping straight oxygen into a body that has sustained severe altitude sickness or decompression sickness. It looked like a vintage time machine! But alas, I didn't have my camera, so I found some pictures online that look almost exactly the same.

Looks a bit like a mini-submarine!

Apparently, they haven't had to use it yet this season, but they often use it at least once per season. The Pole is very high altitude. So, after sleeping through lunch yesterday and feeling like a bum because I didn't do any work, I had to move rooms because the geniuses here decided I should get a better room even though I'm leaving in a few days anyway! So now I have a pretty chic room in a different building with just one roommate who works on bacteria samples from the Dry Valleys. Look up the McMurdo Dry Valleys sometime on wikipedia. They are one of the modern geological wonders - being one of the driest places on Earth, they approximate Martian terrain quite well and they are also home to the Blood Falls, which is quite literally a waterfall that appears to be spewing bright red blood.

Today (Wednesday) I didn't feel any better even after sleeping for so many hours. But I still made myself be useful. After breakfast, I wandered over to our little ARRO station which is now in town! They moved it out of the snow and all the way to town yesterday. So I took care of the batteries which meant borrowing a truck and hoisting 9 batteries that weigh about 80 lbs. a piece into the bed of the truck and driving them over to Science Cargo where they can appropriately deal with the hazmat situation and get them ready for shipping back to the US. That took until lunchtime, after which I promptly went back to sleep. And guess what I'm going to do after dinner? That's right, sleep time. Doc says if you don't take the time to rest, it gets a lot worse and stays for longer. Plus, we're almost done with our work now. We should have everything packed up and ready to ship by the end of Friday. And I absolutely have to have my strength back enough to see David Attenborough speak tomorrow night! So send me good, healing thoughts!

{Actual posting date: Wednesday, January 20th, dinner time}

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