10 June 2018 Getting PQ'd!

Dear DoctorThis is a note to my doctors about why I’m getting these tests and the conditions that scientists on the Antarctic have to be physically capable of enduring.

The end of school was just days ago. A long, hot and humid Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania summer is looming. The approaching summer is so very different from what I’ll be experiencing in Antarctica. It is hard to wrap my head around the fact that in just a few months, I’ll be on “the Ice”.
I am just starting my PQ (Physical Qualification) process. It is rather extensive. 14 pages of forms, and a three-page instruction email. Then there is the required battery of blood tests and screenings and visits to my doctors and dentist. Then all of those results are submitted to the Center for Polar Medical Operations, Antarctic Support Contract, University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston, Texas. If everything looks good, I will be officially “PQ’d” and cleared for deployment. If not, I’ll have to scramble to address anything that they identify as a problem. My doctor’s appointment is tomorrow morning, and the appointment with the dentist and the blood work are Friday. To be honest, I'm a little nervous. I'm in decent shape, but I'd hate to get this far and have something unexpected prevent me from contributing to my team! So, I've been really conscious of what I've been eating. I've changed my normal workouts to include more cardio. Tomorrow a doctor will evaluate me for being physically and medically qualified to be on "the Ice" (and literally more than a thousand miles from a hospital). Wish me luck, there is a lot riding on (hopefully) positive results!


Good Luck!

Yeah, they aren't as picky about the arctic folk! Sounds like a painstaking process, but you'll be fine!

Thank you! So far, so good.

Thank you! So far, so good. The physical went fine, now for the bloodwork!

Michelle H
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You will pass with flying colors!

Mike, you have been through much tougher challenges physically and mentally. I too am nervous because I too want to be able to be part of the Ice Cube Project. I think that is a good sign that we want to succeed and will do what we need to succeed. Good luck and have fun in the process. I am doing my PQ physical this week as well.

I know how you feel Michelle!

I know how you feel Michelle! The physicals are very....thorough. They check everything....and I mean everything. I hope to see you at "Pole" in December!

Kevin Dickerson
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I’m glad all you folks are

I’m glad all you folks are blazing the PQ road for me. I hope ya’ll will share your PQ test answers with me so i can also pass.

PQ test answers!

Ha! I have you covered Keith! I wrote down all of my passing answers for the Tuberculosis test, the HIV test, and several others!

Congrats on the PQ

Hi Mike! Congratulations on the PQ - I remember the feeling of relief when I received mine! I am a 2016 PolarTREC teacher and I traveled aboard the R/V Nathanial B. Palmer around the Western Antarctic Peninsula to study diatoms. It was an amazing experience! I can't wait to follow your story. Just wanted to pass along a funny story - my Dad was reading the Pittsburgh Post Gazette the other day and recognized your 'big red' in the picture. He said he new you must have been a PolarTREC teacher! We are everywhere! Have an amazing trip!

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Woo-Hoo! Good luck!

Woo-Hoo! Good luck!

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What are you doing there?

What are you doing there?

Antarctic Journey

TEC, I'll be installing and maintaining Automatic Weather Stations in Antarctica!

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physical tests

Hi we are from Dansville middle school. Me and my group were wondering , Do you think you have a good chance in passing your physical tests?

Physical Tests

Brandy, I have actually passed all of my required medical and physical tests. It was a big relief because I have had some injuries and surgeries in the past that I thought might be a problem, but I passed!

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whether weenies

what are whether weenies

Weather Weenies

Landen, I think what he meant when he said "Weather Weenies" was that these were some of the best and brightest minds that are working in the field of meteorology and climate science. He didn't mean it as an insult. Rather he meant that these people are completely engrossed in their science!

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What will happen if your health goes bad when your there?

Hi this is Chloe from Dansville middle school we were wondering what will happen if your health goes bad?


Chloe, This is a very good question. Any American going to Antarctica has to go through a very thorough medical and physical qualification process. While being determined to be "Physically qualified" can not guarantee that I will not get sick or have an injury, it can screen applicants for unknown or underlying medical or physical problems that could become a life-threatening problem. While on the at the South Pole, it is about 3800 mile from a hospital. That could be a three or four-day journey the best way to avoid medical problems on the ice is to be well prepared here at home.

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Mental health

I'm excited about you finally getting pq'd and passing, but the antarctic is such a harsh climate I'm wondering what they are doing to address mental health needs? And what you are doing to address them?

Mental Health

Jessika, That is a good question. Much of the interview was about how I handled stress, stressful situations and if I had ever been in helicopters. Another big question was how I handled delays and sudden changes of plans. I think I'll be just fine. I know that if people are going to stay there over the winter (called "Winter-Overs") they go through a much more extensive medical and psychological evaluation that I had to go through.

Team Member

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Journal Details

Location: Home
Latitude: 40° 26' 26.246" N
Longitude: 79° 59' 45.197" W
Weather Summary: Thunderstorms likely
Temperature: 75 degrees F
Wind Speed: gusts up to 35 knots

Antarctic Automatic Weather Stations 2018 Journals

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