When I tell most people of how I was invited to join Dr. Bowser research group in Antarctica, it comes across as a simple process where you simply get a letter or permission of some sort that allows you to hop on a plane or boat and got to Antarctica, like a visa. Well I have to admit that I originally had a similar take on the whole thing. But let me tell you, the process was way more complicated than applying for a visa to visit another country.
Six weeks ago I left for California to attend a friends wedding and to visit a Doctor/Dentist to have them check me over and make sure that I was all good to deploy to the ice. After visiting my doctor and my dentist, and then reporting back to Dr. Bowser I found out it wasn’t that simple.
Not only does Raytheon (the company sponsoring the trip) require a full physical, but they also require you to have an EKG, full blood screening, complete medical history, dental x-rays, and tetnus, flu, and whooping cough (ouch). Lets just say that I was a little surprised to find this out. So I did it all, the blood, EKG, and exams, everything they required, and flew back home to Oahu to spend a few weeks moving, relaxing, and spending time with the boyfriend before I skipped town for three months. All was going well until I got the email back from Raytheon.
I was helping a friend deliver a boat to Maui for a charter when I found 0ut how much more needed to be done. By this time, I was three weeks past the deadline for everything being turned in. Raytheon requires that everything be turned in 6 weeks prior to departure. Here I was on this gorgeous boat moored off of Lahaina, four weeks before deployment, when I got the email that I had to have labs repeated and every tooth that had a cavity needed to be filled and there was a chance that I wasn’t going to Antarctica.
I broke down. After all I had done and everything I had worked for, it was all about to disappear. poof. gone.
Well I did what anyone would do, I called my mom. She came in and saved the day. Got me to a lab that night for the blood work and told me that she was buying me a ticket for California for the next day. So one week after I returned to Oahu, and two weeks early than I had planned, I flew back to California. My dentist, bless him, came in on a Sunday night and did my fillings for me, my labs came back normal, and poof, as quickly as I had almost lost my chance to go to Antarctica, I was back on the books to go!
So now, thanks to the many people who helped me get my exams, tests, fillings (which I have no desire to do again), and everything else done, I leave for Antarctica on September 29, 2011!