Monday, October 06, 2008

Alaska, Part 2

More pictures from my recent Alaskan trip:

Pink salmon, about to die after spawning.
Silver salmon, hung out to dry in one of the villages.

I went fishing (for the first time EVER), while I was doing a four-day village stay to do annual check-ups and medication renewals. I didn't actually catch anything, but by the end of a couple hours, I was no longer casting into the weeds. The best part of it was that on the way out to the fishing spot, we saw a lynx swim across the river and there were a couple of bald eagles that flew by.

There was a seafood processing plant in town, where you could buy a pound of Alaskan Red King crab for pretty reasonable prices. It was even cheaper to buy the live ones, however there just wasn't a pot big enough for a full crab in the apartment and I was a little squeamish about chopping up crab guts. These suckers were spiky, but from now on, I will probably associate watching the Summer Olympics with sitting down with a pile of fresh steamed crab legs and butter.

Tundra geese:

I really wanted to get a good picture of a musk ox, but even with my larger lens, this guy turned and stared me down from about 200 yards, so I opted for a non-gored liver and a distance shot.

Ready-to-pick fresh blueberries.

As for the actual month of medicine, I delivered three babies (ok, one of them popped out before I could get my gloves on). It was actually a primary care/family practice rotation, so a lot of time was spent seeing people in the outpatient clinic while covering any emergencies. I did do several flight transports, including one harrowing one where the patient was in hypovolemic shock, and we had no blood products with us, and were down to our last 500 cc of fluid on the airplane. It was nerve-wracking to just watch someone's blood pressure fall, with nothing to do but hope to get them to the hospital (and operating room) before they arrested. Another of my patients had a heart attack, but he was transferred quickly and did well.

I worked a ton of hours for those four weeks, but it was interesting to see how patient management has to be adjusted to the resources that are available. I also learned to advocate aggressively for my patients, dealing with unknown specialists over the phone to get them what they needed. It was a good month, but I don't have any intentions of returning... at least not for work.


ru said...

And now, I officially want to go to Alaska in the summer. It looks really beautiful.

Sounds like you practiced medicine, for the most part, the way that it was practiced 40-50 years ago. Interesting how much things have changed.

ru said...

ryc: I think Ichabod is a fine name. Just think of all the wonderful nicknames that come with it (Ick, Icky, Body, etc) not to mention all the great people in literature that bear that name: Ichabod Crane with the pumpkin head, being the first one that comes to mind.

Chris said...

Chicken! A little ox scares you off from getting the best shot? Come on, you're a runner, you can just outrun him :)