Sunday, January 15, 2006

Learning the job......and what not to do

After we had all recovered from the relief operation it was time to get down to learning our jobs. For those of us wintering there is someone here who has been doing our job for a year or two, so we can spend the summer doing a handover. In my case Mike, the current Comms Manager, has been very helpful, introducing me to all the various bits involved in the job, especially the radio stuff as that is all new to me, ensuring nothing will trip me up in the depths of winter. We've also got Richard here from head office doing some server upgrade work, so I get to have a hand in ensuring the IT side is OK.

Unfortunately I managed to throw a spanner in the works by injuring myself, meaning I've got to go back to the Falklands for a couple of weeks at least. It all started when I foolishly volunteered to go drum raising. Anything left lying on the snow here soon gets buried by snow as it accumulates (over a metre last year), so a lot of time is spent digging things up. In this case we were digging out a batch of a couple of hundred fuel drums. This involves clearing the snow and ice, then using a crane to get the drums out and onto a waiting sledge. Once on the sledge the drums are then heaved upright, using a metal bar device to give extra leverage as a full drum is pretty heavy. This is all well and good until the bar slips off the drum and flies up into your face resulting in a split lip and a chipped tooth. Luckily Vicky the doctor was also out working with us, so I had immediate first class healthcare. Unfortunately it appears that in the Antarctic first class healthcare means starting your own ambulance, as Vicky's skidoo was proving rather recalcitrant. To add insult to injury I was then told I couldn't wipe the blood off my face as it wouldn't look gory enough and people would think we were skiving.......

Once back at the surgery an initial assessment of the damage was made, the gist of which was "Stop whining you're alright, it's only a chipped tooth and the lip will fix itself". Having been put at my ease it was then decided that x-rays would be a good idea as the tooth might be fractured. This is where it started to get interesting. Luckily Simon our GA is an ex radiologist so was able to lend a hand. Now I'm no expert but I don't think the base x-ray machine is really designed for doing teeth, however after a lot of umming and aaahinng, drawing diagrams, working out angles and experimenting in the dark room, we had a beautifully clear image of my chin and part of my hand. It only took another 6 or 7 goes under the leather apron thoughtfully provided to get a passable image of the guilty denture, which was e-mailed off to Penny the dentist on the Shack. To cut a long story short the x-ray image has now been seen by about 6 dentists, doctors, consultants and radiologists and still there is no consensus as to whether or not there is a fracture. As a result I will be heading back to Stanley to see a dentist and get things sorted before the winter.

The image which has baffled the medical world

Regardless of my life threatening injury I have struggled manfully on with the task at hand, trying to understand what's involved in the job, playing pool and darts, and drinking my fair share of the beer ration. But it's not all sweat and toil you'll be pleased to hear, we find time for leisure activities too, more of which in the next instalment as it's now gone midnight, I'm supposed to be on a plane in the morning and I haven't packed.


Post a Comment

<< Home