Max and I flew back from McMurdo with a full plane of people. One of them was the visiting dentist who was going to Pole for ten days to do free teeth cleanings and check ups on any winter overs who wanted it. I had already PQ’ed (physically qualified) with my normal dentist at home before getting the job. I was nervous to have it done since I knew the program is not a fan of wisdom teeth, but I decided better safe than have problems during the season. So, I went in for a check up and of course he wanted to get X-rays of my wisdom teeth. He told me that I would still be fine to winter if I did not get them pulled, but worried they could get infected since there was a lot of gum covering them. The next day I was in the chair getting three teeth pulled. The last one took almost an hour (at least it felt like it to me) of tugging and required stitches. I was off work for two days, and it has been about a month since and I am finally totally recovered.
After the surgery, the dentist and our station doctor walked me to my room and gave me a few pain killers to sleep it off. The next morning the doctor called on my radio and asked if she could come check on me. She showed up with a present. She had made me earrings. Being a little drugged and still in pain, I looked at the earrings and thought it was rocks at first. She had been in the craft room the night before making me earrings and a necklace out of my teeth. It was a very funny gift and became the talk of the town.
The dentist wanted a picture with me wearing them for his office at home. Getting teeth pulled at the South Pole is not very common, so I am honored to have been part of it. And an added bonus, it was all free, I had a dentist available to check on the healing anytime until he left and I will not have to deal with them in the future.
Also, during all of this there was an LC-130 Herc that got stuck here due to weather in MCM. All of the flight crew and other passengers had to sleep on mattresses in the gym and the station was very crowded. Our max population is 155 and we had 173 people here for four days. Once the weather cleared the plane had leaks from being left in such a cold environment for so long. Those planes rarely stay on the ground here for more than an hour and they are always left running. It was a pretty big deal. The flight crew and passengers were flown back on a different plane after four days and a repair team and new flight crew were flown in.