Tuesday, May 6, 2014

"Ice Bound" by Dr. Jerri Nielsen with Maryanne Vollers

We selected this book it combined my interest in science and Tami's interest in autobiographies. 

Summary: This is the story of Dr. Jerri Nielsen, an emergency room doctor who lives in Ohio. She talks about her personal life and how her family fell out of her reach. This moved her to a mental space where she was lost and uncertain about her future. She decided to apply to be the winter doctor at the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station on Antarctica. She describes the process of getting ready for a year long stay at the pole and how one gets there. She talks about the summer crew she met when she arrived and the "night shift" when the summer folks flew out. Once the summer ends, the team is in total physical isolation without any planes able to safely land or takeoff at the pole. Even their communications is limited by the brief windows of satellite reception available at the pole. They learn to make do with what supplies they have and keep a very close eye on all critical systems. She talks about the kind of people who choose that sort of job and way people behave while they are down there. There were 41 people total on the winter crew and they got to know each other very well.

The doctor describes the sorts of training she received before and during her stay. As an emergency doctor she saw a lot of different injuries, but at the pole there would be only one doctor who would be expected to treat any and all injuries. Unfortunately for her, she ended up becoming her own patient! Trapped on the station with limited supplies, Nielsen led her own medical treatment with the assistance of specialists via satellite. Eventually, after deciding her life was in danger the US Government decided to risk a dangerous flight to the south pole in the middle of winter!

What I Liked: It is always interesting to hear people talk about their lives, especially when they are doing something exciting in an exotic place. I learned a lot about the south pole and doctors from this book.

What I Didn't Like: We listened to the audiobook, which was read by the author. She is not an experienced voice actor, so it was distracting.

Rating: This was a very good autobiography.

Also Read by this Author:  None.

Reviewed by: Nick

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