I got a call around 2:30 this morning to come in for a medevac. It was for preterm labor in an outlying village. I got up, gathered my things, drove to the hospital. Checked again with the doctors to make sure it’s ok that I go on the medevac. And again it strikes me, *I am it; I am the doctor now.* (!!!!) We gathered the medical kits from the hospital, and then the paramedics got their life-saving equipment from the airport. The team was made of two flight paramedics, an OB nurse, me and the pilot. We flew out to the village in the dark on the King Air.
The King Air, after sunrise in Anchorage
There was a full moon out, that we could occasionally see through the clouds, reflecting on the Bering Sea, so beautiful! It occurred to me that I’ve never flown in small plane in the dark before. Only in the day, or big jets at night. I started feeling a little nauseated, but the paramedic gave some alcohol swabs to sniff, and it worked!
We arrived at the village around 4:30, and the pt was still have faint (but diminished) signs of preterm labor. Even though I didn’t think she was really in active labor, after talking about it with my colleagues who have been here heaps longer, we decided that instead of going to Nome, it would be best to go to Anchorage. Since we can’t do much for pre-term labor in Nome. Plus there was a recent preterm delivery where the baby wasn’t doing well, so we are extra erring on the side of caution. It’s really, really good for me to learn these things.
I had some great conversations with the awesome paramedics. One of them has been working here for 30 years, and he and his wife also went to Papua New Guinea!!! Out to New Ireland. I love the people here!
We got to Anchorage ~ 2 hours later, into a strong headwind that made for some turbulent skies! It was lovely to see the daybreaking over Anchorage. We landed and then got picked up by ambulance, which took the patient and us to the hospital. If I thought the hospital in Nome was kind of a museum, Anchorage Native Medical Center (ANMC) really is a museum!
They had hundreds of dolls and figures featuring native dress from all over the state of Alaska:
Waterproof bags made from stomach and bladder and heart-lining:
Fish skin baskets:
We then got to go eat breakfast and do a few errands around town. If there is time, it is nice for the team to be able to pick up a few things while in Anchorage (ie. Donuts and McDonalds for the crews back home, and cheaper fruits/veggies and flowers).
Then we were off again. This time, because my stomach was still feeling queasy (I’m such a wuss! :)), I got to sit in the front! with an awesome pilot, who has been flying here for 15 years, and has been a pilot for 22 years. It was so much fun to talk with him and hear his stories. He has a little plane that he takes his family out to cool camping spots and the hot springs around here. He pointed out the active volcano, Mt Redoubt, that blew off ash a few years ago. WE got back to Nome, and I went straight to radio traffic. Since I had gone in at 6:30 yesterday am (for the delivery), and I had been home ~ 4 hours before being called in for this one, I was tired! early night tonight!