Got up early this morning to go and do a mass casualty incident drill. I always get butterflies in my stomach before these types of training events (like mock codes in residency), mostly because it makes me think about the real-life scenarios. There is so much to think about, triaging patients, doing the right interventions in the right order. All to keep patients alive. And there is even more to think about out here, like difficult communication and limited resources. For example~we have 12 units of blood, 4 O negative (blood for anyone), 4 O positive (most common blood type, can use for almost anyone, except if they are pregnant), and A positive (2nd most common blood type). There are four airplanes to take patients to any higher level care in Anchorage; each airplane can take a few patients. We don’t have a lot of ventilators or respiratory therapists, pharmacists or extra supplies for people (like intubation kits, chest tube kits, imaging…etc). If there really were a lot of real patients, I wonder how all of the details that we glossed over verbally would all go. At least we become more aware. These drills are invaluable for helping us to identify problems and figure out what to do now, before it really is real lives.
After the drill, I walked out to the main hallway around 10:30am to the golden glow of sunrise streaming through the windows! It feels like early, early morning, the normal time of sunrise. But it’s not! It’s trippy.
Then we got to hear a great presentation on H.pylori, a bacteria that causes stomach ulcers. It is so much more prevalent here in Alaska than the Lower 48. but interestingly, the rates are more similar to the “circumpolar” areas of the world (ie the part of the globe around the Arctic Circle). This area of the globe–even though it spans so many countries (like Canada, Russia, Greenland, Finland, Norway) has more in common together than Alaska has with the rest of the United States. It’s so cool–they share in many activities, conferences, events, symposiums together. For example-the other week I went to a Circumpolar Reindeer Herding Class at the University of Fairbanks NW campus here in Nome, and it was about how all the people in this northern part of the globe share information and traditions to sustain the practice of reindeer herding.
This is such a unique place to work!
Then I had an interesting clinic. I’m amazed at all the different people who live up here!
The sun was shining so brilliantly and beckoning me to come outside and enjoy the light! So before I finished my charting, I went down to down to the beach. It is much colder today–there is a North wind blowing in with a smell of “freezing” in the air. It is now 32 degrees (10 degrees colder than the last few days!). The mud puddles are iced over and the muddy ground is now hard! Time to get serious.
Flying into the sunset.
The end of the set