Winter Solstice in Alaska

We are past the Winter Solstice! Hallelujah these short days are now beginning to get longer!!! Growing up in Papua New Guinea I never really was aware of the solstice, because along the equator the days are all about the same length all year. Here in Nome, just below the Arctic Circle, I have become acutely aware of Planet Earth’s shifting tilt as it makes 20 hours of difference of light!

This is how much sun Nome gets at the solstice, December 21 (Picture from the Nome Nugget):

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Sunrise at 12:03, sunset at 3:56pm

The North of the Earth is tilted away from the Sun. Can’t wait till it tilts back into the Sun’s face!
Nome ↓ (up by that ice shelf)
December-winter-solstice-2013

Highlights of last week:

Lots of Christmas goodies and treats from co-workers. People so generous and lives open-handedly here! It’s a really, really cool community.

Lots and lots of medical experience! Had another trauma patient with a an eye socket blow-out fracture.

I intubated another patient with respiratory distress–this time successfully! I had a few critical patients that required higher level of critical care, for whom we basically instituted a rapid response (which in Denver we had a whole team of people specifically designated with extra training and set roles) to get them quickly taken care of.

I have done 2 ABGS (arterial blood draws), put two people on BIPAP (a breathing machine that is the step before intubating them), delivered another baby, sent several people to Anchorage.

In the meantime, every day I am learning heaps! One of the attending physicians reminded me that the learning curve out in your first year out of residency is about 60 degree upward slope. And in our fairly new hospital everyone is working to continually improve our systems to provide better patient care, and it is really cool to be at a place where everyone cares so much about our patients! It’s also kind of cool to be at a place where there are lots of improvements to make, because it’s fun and exciting to be part of developing new processes and implementing new ways to help everything work smoothly and efficiently! We have great administrators who really care about our patients and make sure the staff are well cared for.

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