After only a day of delay, which is a shockingly low waiting period for this place, I flew to the South Pole with a few friends to work on teeth for the folks who can go nowhere but north. Our C-130 skied to a landing and the plane picked up about 30 folks who were heading out of there, but it soon returned because of weather issues. Since all the rooms at the station were full they became refuges on the gym floor for 5 days which was aptly renamed the refugasium. The plane sat frozen through the night in 40 below wind chills and was unfit to fly by morning, so it will be weeks before the seals can be replaced and it can head back to McMurdo, so other planes have been making the 4 hour trip from McMurdo.
Sarah the doc has been filling my schedule with folks who are planning to spend the 10 month winter season at the Pole, so I’ve been busy with check-ups, cleanings and fixing a few chipped teeth. The one highlight was a young lady who admitted that she has been told in the past that her wisdom teeth ought to go, but she said she didn’t have the funds to take care of that. I countered that I could solve that objection, so after a few minutes of contemplation, she said “let’s go for it!” The surgery went well, and when we checked on her the next day she was presented with custom earings and a necklace pendant of her former choppers, which she proudly wore to dinner that night.
I’ve fought off all ping pong challenges, won and lost a few games of Scrabble, and did a great 2 mile ski out to the ice core project called Spice-Core as they reached 1 mile under the ice to pull up a 55 thousand year old sample that is as clear as glass. It looks like I’ll be here at least a few more days to train the winter doc and PA once they make it here next week, then head back to McMurdo for a few weeks of dental care before winter returns and I head out in mid-February.
Send some news and don’t forget the sunscreen when you venture out in 24/7 sunshine.
Pole dentist Bob