Thursday, 26 January 2012

Mom Comes to Provo

As you have probably guessed, my mom came for a visit last week. We had a pretty good time.  She arrived on Wednesday which was my first day off, I was able to sleep in the morning and be up when she arrived in the afternoon.  After a walk on the beach we had dinner in.

Thursday we went to the Grace Bay Club Resort. It is one of the most fabulous resorts on the island, we spent the day pool side and had a delicious lunch at one of the restaurants there.  It was a simple day but really nice. 

Friday was the snorkeling trip.  We went out in the morning on a boat and first snorkeled along the reef.  The island has the third largest barrier reef in the world, and it is beautiful.  I took an underwater camera with me, lets hope the pictures work this time. After the reef the boat took us to a calm area on the south side of the island where we dived for Conch.  I found quite a few, but the had to go back as they were juvenilles.  After we had collected a decent number of adults (one per pair/family) we moved on to a beach. There one of the crew showed us how to get the conch out of the shell and clean it up. Then he made us a conch salad.

We spent about an hour on the beach, we were able to walk around and see the TCI Iguanas that live on the island and then go back to our beach for lunch, which was our conch salad and doritios.  We also had lots of beer and rum punch on the boat which was cool. We saw plenty of fish on the beach, coming to claim some of the bits of conch. As well as a red starfish was floating by, there were some debates as to if it was alive or not.

Saturday, we went to the islands of North and Middle Caicos.  There we rented a car and I drove around the islands again. This time we went to the Caves where the original indian inhabitants used live out the hurricane season. It was very interesting, just clambering through the caves with a guide and flashlights. No lighting, no guiderails.  We had lunch at Daniels Cafe, the only restaurant really on Middle Caicos but just wonderful.  Also did some shopping at a little co-op in the town of Conch Bar where they sell things made by crafters from all over the island.

We stopped at Mudjin Harbour, which I still think is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and had a walk on the beach. We ran into one other couple, and it turns out the woman had grown up in my hometown and even gone to my high school at one point.  Small world!  We also explored North Caicos a bit, the town of Kew is beautiful, a cute little town.  Then caught the ferry home.

I had to go back to work at this point. My mother was able to enjoy a couple days on the beach, snorkeling and enjoying the sun.  We also went out for dinner a few times and tried some delicious restaurants. The last day, it was just before I started my nights, I rented a car and showed my Mom all around Provo.  It is a little island, but there is still much to see including some huge houses out on the amazingly blue Chalk Sound.  We had lunch at Da Conch Shack too.

Last night was my last night shift on the island.  And it was an interesting one.  About 9:30 we got called to an airplane emergency at the airport.  Before you get excited, it was an excersize!  They had been planning to run a Mass Casualty Incident at the airport for a couple months and finally got around to it. It went well, but due to a lack of resources we, the EMS service, really couldn't devote our equipment to the scenario.  We participated and worked with the patients, but it wasn't too realistic since we didn't actually treat any patients beyond verbalizing.  Still it was a fun experience and I was glad to be able to participate.

So today starts my final count down. I am in my final week on Provo.  Lots to pack up and get sorted before I leave, though I am excited to go home. See my family, friends and cat again!

Who needs a Vacation?

Hello, well its been awhile since I wrote, but I have been busy! I did have my second dive day, we took the boat out to West Caicos, it wasn't actually a nice day.  But once you get under the water its a lot calmer. I had a new dive instructer for this day and another student which wasn't as great as having my own instructor! We still had a pretty good day, saw lots of fish, sharks and a huge turtle! He was so cool, just chilling and eating along the ocean floor!

So I am now an officially certifed Open Water Diver! Now I just to live in a place with great diving - I guess that goes in the Pro list on my Should I come back to Provo list!!

My shifts that week weren't too eventful. I did get another call for a woman who's water had broken and with constant contractions.  Luckily it was slightly exaggerated and I got her to the hospital without the baby being born.  Once was enough for me!!

Last week we did have a rough day, got called out to the Beaches resort for a woman who had managed to fracture her leg pretty badly.  They had a nurse on staff, unfortunately she didn'g give any painkillers so my patient was in agony for the transfer, and oh what a transfer!  By the time we got her loaded in the vehicle, we discovered it wouldn't start.  Apparently the ambulance really wanted a vacation! So it stayed at Beaches while we loaded the woman in the back of a suburban which really sucked. 

On a more interesting note, she was Canadian and a flight nurse from Toronto ended up coming down to escort her home, but I never found out who! I just thought it was hilarious that one of my co-workers might have been down here!

Friday, 13 January 2012


Hello,  everything has been slowing down for me on the island.  After my crazy shifts everything settled down back to normal mostly.  My boss, is back from his vacation and getting the island back on track. My shifts have been uneventful, except one day that seemed to be "anxiety" day where we picked up a couple people that had been unresponsive.  It seems to be a fairly common thing on this island, and it doesn't just seem like they fake it, a test is painful stimuli, and they do not flinch!

I spent a good bit of my off days with the med-students. Days at the beach, and nights going out for dinner and drinks.  Having friends is fun, but a lot more expensive!  But the girls have gone back to Montreal (already planning a trip to go skiing.) So I had to find something else to do.  I picked SCUBA.

I have actually been wanting to learn to dive for years, but its kind of expensive.  TCI is claimed to be one of the best diving sites in the world, so I decided I had to do it while I was here.  With some the help of some Christmas gifts I signed up with Dive Provo.  Right now its a bit slow again so I am lucky enough to be the only one in my class.  First I had to do an on line course, it wasn't too hard.  Then yesterday was the pool day. After a little bit of a review we go straight to work, setting up the tanks a couple times. Then was my swim test - 8 laps of a small pool then 10 minutes of keeping my head above water.  That was easy, just boring.  It helps they don't care how you float, just can't drown! So I floated mostly.

The diving itself isn't so bad, but it is a bit bizarre breathing under water.  And its unsettling when they make you take the regulator out and practice using back up or just finding it again. I did very well, but I have spent a lot of time in the water, and firefighting training certainly didn't hurt either.

So into the ocean, today was the first two of my four open water dives.  We took the boat out with a couple other groups into Grace Bay along the "Wall." That is where the sea floor drops from about 40ft to 7,000ft.  Now I wasn't going along the wall just yet, but the first dive was amazing.  As I was getting settled underwater, my instructor, pointed out a pretty big barracuda near by.  That was the worst part! He just kept swimming closer!

Eventually we started on our dive, which was just exploring for the first one. We saw so much, a little Hawksbill Turtle, some Reef Sharks, Nurse Sharks, and lobster.  And of course crazy amounts of fish and coral.  My biggest trouble is my buoyancy, I tend to float and have troubling getting back down to the lower levels.  Starting to get the hang of it, the trick is in the breathing.

So after a break and a snack we went back down in another spot.  This time we had some skills to practice, it was even worse having to take my regulator out 20 odd ft down!! But it went well, didn't panic and we swam some more.  Saw more sharks and barracudas. There was also an amazing school of Horse Eyed Jacks that were swimming in a circle. A couple of barracudas swam up, but the bigger fish in the group just bumped them away.

My last two dives are going to be on Monday, we will be going to the south side of the island.  The neat part is its about an hour boat trip to the dive site so I will get a nice trip out of the dive too!

Along a slightly different line, I had a meeting with my supervisor on Thursday about my future on the island.  Apart from the fact that I am definately coming home in Februrary, nothing really has been settled yet.  But we talked things over and the plan looks like I will be back, probably only for a six month stint.  I'll be home for several months to pack everything up and settle things to come back down here. He'll be looking for another medic for a temp position till I come back, so send your resumes!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Happy New Year!

Well, my New Year has come in with a bang.  After Christmas I had a couple days off that were uneventful, just relaxed at home. I went back to work with a vengence!

It all started with the Haitians.  I was working a day shift, while dropping off a routine transfer we got dispatched to a medivac that was arriving at the airport in ten minutes. On our way there, news came in about a sloop with illigal immigrants that had been found and would be coming in to the island with over 100 people on board.  Thats on top of 138 that had come in two nights before. 

So we rushed over to the airport and picked up the crew for the medivac, while taking them back to the airport with their patient we get told of an emergency call on the opposite side of the island.  Great.  So we haul ass out east to get our patient, the rush back to the the dock on the west side.  Luckily most of the passengers were ok and had been shipped to the detention center already. There was one patient waiting for me when we got there.

The next day was New Years Eve, despite overwhelming peer pressure to call in sick, I worked the night shift.  It started fairly slow, but about four in the morning the flood gates opened again!  The first call was a possible overdose, but when we got there she had taken off into the woods. While waiting for police to come help look for her, we got called for a possible assault.  We found that patient lying on the sidewalk in Five Cays, not the nicest part of town. So we bundled him up quickly for the hospital. 

A little while later, we get called for a woman in labour.  Back out to Five Cays.  We picked up our patient and headed for the hospital. I thought I had enough time. I was wrong.  Long story short, I delivered the TCI New Years Baby in the back of an ambulance.  It was one of the craziest things I've ever done. Luckily the little guy seemed ok and we quickly got him and mom to the hospital.

My next shift took a turn for the worse, I won't go into details on here, but it wasn't a good night.  That call was fairly early, and we got some sleep before another accident in the morning. It was actually interesting, an (empty) school bus had crashed, but managed to line itself up perpendicular to the road.  Actually impressive. Off course the only real damage was to the front door so we needed fire to help pop it open.  Patient had broken his leg, but was completely fine besides that. Probably one of the easiest going patients I've had.

So three days of work was a bit overwhelming, but in between I was able to spend some time with my new friends the Med Students. Down on the island for their Rural Hosptial rotation from McGill, it has been fun to chill on the beach with the girls.  A good combination of silly fun, we buried one of the girls in a giant hole she dug, and good times out at the bar.  We also had a late lunch one day with some friends before she had to go back to the states.

Most of you will be pleased to know, the weather has been dreary of late.  The clouds have rolled in and a northern wind makes sitting on the beach less then satisfying.  Hoping that will turn around again soon.  I am in the final month of my time here, for this temporary position anyways.  I am excited to get home, and see you all and especially my Guin!