(Gr)Attitude Day 34

Today I am grateful I made it safely in Albuquerque despite a phone with a dodgy charging circuit (plug is slowly breaking) and without credit card being turned off (new debit card didn’t arrive in mail before I left). I am now most of the way to El Paso to visit my family after an a meeting regarding Plan B.

Ah, Plan B. You have a backup plan for going to the Ice, don’t you? You should. Or at least I feel I should, as much of my life has been improved by having sufficient planning and preparation. The medical checks all seem good, but we still have the psych eval next week to go before we’re in the homestretch.


(Gr)Attitude Day 33

Tonight I got to talk a bit with someone I appreciate a lot. I’ve rarely gotten to see her since around New Years because she’s been so busy. Now that School 2.0 has wrapped up, I might get to say howdy a couple of more times before I deploy. If something ever developed there, I’d never look back at Texas, that’s how cool this lady is.

Well, ok, that’s not true. I’d rarely look back at Texas. And it would be pretty easy to do. So it was a privilege to visit and catch up.

Today in pre-deployment psych eval hoops

Things truly are progressing. Today I was emailed to schedule the psych evaluation. Well, not so much to schedule as to say, “We have a session this weekend, can you make it?” Unfortunately I cannot, as I will be visiting my parents at that time (and possibly see my grandmother for the last time ever). Hopefully we can make the psych eval session next week work though.

I concur with what the reply to my reply said: the sooner the better. I want to be assured whether I can go since an offer of employment in Antarctica is contingent on passing all the requisite screenings. In the meantime, work on Plan B continues.

(Gr)Attitude Day 32

Sometimes it’s the simple things. Like a blood draw that you didn’t pass out during, or pesto on your benedict.

Other times it’s the acro class that went really well, where you could manhandle your flyer into place even when he has failed to grasp the idea of bone stacking (as climbers often do, since we spend so much effort pulling instead of pushing with arms during climbing). The evening went well.

(More) Today in pre-deployment medical screening hoops

This morning started with the medical screening portion of the Physical Qualification process. By 11am I had been poked and prodded and queried more than any time since 2010. Everything went well:

  • The doctor’s scale confirmed that the weight loss seen on my home scale the last few months is accurate.
  • My blood pressure, which was quite anomalous at the dentist in Feb, was spot on for where it should be.
  • Balance tests with closed eyes were fine. It’s amazing that such a simple test can let them determine if there might be an extra hole in your head. Well, I guess technically an issue in these tests might indicate a brain tumor, but yeah.
  • My post-LASIK eyes continue to perform magnificently.
  • EKG is A-ok.
  • TB exposure test is negative (which is puzzling since I’ve tested positive before).
  • The blood draw took record time with no dizziness. I totally was able to aim for the cup in the urine sample moments afterward.

USAP gives you a pre-deployment checklist of things for the MD to review but not a list of what each test is screening for. I asked about some of the tests, why they are done and what they indicate, for example, why not spirometry (I had that done at my last physical). The tech I was working with noted that some of it is just being thorough before one goes where there is basically no medical care, but that also some things are no longer required in a lot of situations due to cost-cutting at some companies, and perhaps that’s what happened here. I forgot to ask why I was peeing in a small coffee cup (seriously, even the same lid type for the sample container), which was a bit surprising since I did a drug test for this position only a couple of weeks ago.

(Gr)Attitude Day 31

And here we are, a full month into this year-long effort. I still have no idea if this is feasible for 365 days straight because it will be dependent on both desire and Internet access at the South Pole. But we’re going to keep at it.

For today, I am grateful that I got to head out to Jurassic Park with a nice group of friends/climbing partners. We had a good time, and everyone who wanted to got a chance at that iconic route, the Edge of Time. Like, seriously, it’s so iconic it’s the photo on one of the guidebook covers. I busted up a finger in a small tumble on Evans the day before, so I struggled on even basic routes (seriously, you don’t know how much you rely on the pointer until you can’t). It’s an interesting and appreciated bit of knowledge to know that this digit functions correctly most of the time.

(Gr)Attitude Day 30

A friend recently moved up from the Gulf Coast to this area. Today we met up and had a great time going up Evans, his first 14er. I think he’s going to enjoy living in Colorado in a way he never did enjoy Houston, so I’m happy for him.