Ice Bound by Dr. Jerri Nielsen, recounts the adventures of an ER doctor who decides to winterover at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole research center in Antarctica. The climax of the adventure occurs when Nielsen discovers a mass in her right breast. From there it’s incredible how people outside of Antarctica work to get her the medicine she needs and arrange a way to get her out before it’s too late. It’s an autobiography, and while I was engrossed in the story the writing style was somewhat lacking.
The best part about the story was her adventures in Antarctica. I’ve always been fascinated with the Arctic and Antarctic adventurers and I knew there were research stations on the Antarctic continent, but I’ve never really known much about the people who are there and what they actually do. Nielsen’s account gave an inside glimpse into what it would be like to live at the South Pole during the 24-hour darkness of the austral winter.
One of the points that stands out is how close everyone becomes. You can imagine living under a small dome for six months with 41 people in sheer darkness you’d either all hate each other or become a close-knit tribe. Luckily, it’s the latter in Nielsen’s case. What I found difficult to relate to, is that she doesn’t develop her sense of acclamation to the tribe. She shows up in the austral summer and seems to immediately think of her self as a part of the tribe. I don’t know whether this is because she left out how she wove herself into the group of those wintering over, or whether she was in such a need of friendship that she just glommed onto the group.
Reading her autobiography has ignited my interest in reading some of the biographies of the Antarctic explorers such as Amundsen and Scott. Maybe because Antarctica is one of the last frontiers, and will never be concurred, but I think it’s the fact that anyone who goes to Antarctica has to come face to face with their good and bad sides as well as constantly be faced with their mortality. Antarctica is like a crucible and those who chose to put themselves in that situation seem to be more confident and aware of what life really is all about.