Thursday, January 13, 2005

Crazy Crazy

So It's 1pm and I just woke up for the very reasonable
reason, i think, that I flew all last night on a
distinctly Alaskan rescue mission. We found our way
out towards Glenallen, for those of you who speak
Alaska-WhereAboots, at 3am.
We (where "we" = 20 members of the national guard and
two of our airplanes) were sent out there to recover
a guy who managed to crash his truck in a corner of
Alaska 400 miles from a hospital (ie, most of Alaska).
He was good and beat up - broken-ish back,
broken-for-sure-ribs, etc. Defintely got his money's
worth out of the crash. But nothing that you wouldn't
see twice a night on an ambulance in any fair-sized
But what makes for a 20 minute,
don't-bother-with-the-sirens EMS run in Charlotte, in
Alaska is literally the starting bell to call out the
National Guard.
My cell phone started hopping off the kitchen
counter at 11:40 last night. We landed back home just
after 5am.
Most fun, though, was, due to the late hour and the
late date in summer, the flight was the very first for
every single member of both crews in darkness since
April. There simply is no darkness to fly through in
Alaska during summer months until - well, until right
about last night, actually.
That made for a keystone-cops episode of medical
work in the back. If you had emptied the contents of
a hospital's dumpster into the back of our Blackhawk,
there wouldn't have been more junk (on the other hand,
if you've never stuck an IV by the light of a mini-mag
flashlight held in your teeth, then, fancy degree or
no, you don't really practice medicine. there, I said
it). But far more important, it made for a whole lot
of 'Is that the ground?'-kind of talk from the pilots
(yes, they had night vision goggles, and no, that's no
They spent most of the flight comparing it to
flying in Afghanistan, which is a little like a rock
critic comparing an album to Hall and Oates.
Our crew and our friend the bad driver arrived at
our Anchorage area hospital at 5am, give or take. He
was given a breathalizer test. The accident had
happened prior to 10pm the night before.
That's, minimum, 7 hours to dry up.
He blew a 0.08.