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19 December, 2000

Being sick

With 200 people living and working in close proximity to each other, when one person gets sick, it is transmitted easily and rapidly around the station. I managed to avoid the first iteration of the “crud”, but succumbed to the second version today.

“Great. So you’re sick. What’s so different about being sick at the South Pole vs. being sick anywhere else?” One might ask. Well, you feel just as miserable as you would anywhere else. However, most people are only here for a short time, and their bodies haven’t fully adjusted to the climate and altitude. So, a cold that might take two or three days to go through your system can take up to a week before you’re feeling up to full power again at the pole, although you’re usually up and about before you feel completely better. This is also true with small scrapes and bruises. Your body can take longer to heal itself than it normally would.

What happens if you get more than a cold or scrape that will eventually go away on its own? You go to biomed- the South Pole’s small version of a hospital. Here, Ron can help with most things. The station is equipped with a variety of instruments to help diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries. If things are really bad in the summer and there is nothing more that Dr. Ron or time can do, then you’re flown away from the station for further medical treatment.

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