Ice Bound: A Doctor's Incredible Battle for Survival at the South Poleby Jerri Nielsen
"Ice Bound" is the inspiring true story of Dr. Jerri Nielsen, the physician with breast cancer stranded at a South Pole research station, whose amazing rescue made headlines around the globe. Set in a remote and desolate yet strikingly beautiful landscape, Nielsen's narrative of her transforming experience is a thrilling adventure. See more details below
"Ice Bound" is the inspiring true story of Dr. Jerri Nielsen, the physician with breast cancer stranded at a South Pole research station, whose amazing rescue made headlines around the globe. Set in a remote and desolate yet strikingly beautiful landscape, Nielsen's narrative of her transforming experience is a thrilling adventure.
- Brilliance Audio
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Abridged, 4 Cassettes
- Product dimensions:
- 4.12(w) x 7.12(h) x 1.20(d)
Read an Excerpt
Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, October 16, 1999. Today I take my last snowmobile ride in Antarctica -- from the ice-crusted dome where I have lived for eleven months, to the edge of an airfield plowed out of the drifting snow. Normally I could walk the distance in a few minutes, but I am too weak. My best friend, Big John Penney, drives me up the mountain of snow we call Heart Attack Hill to the edge of the flight line. We are bundled in our red parkas and polar boots, extreme-cold-weather gear that weighs nearly twenty pounds. I'm wrapped in so many layers of fleece and down that I can barely move. My hair was long and blond when I arrived at the Pole, but now my head is completely bald, and coddled like an egg in a soft wool hat beneath my hood. I wear goggles and a neck gaiter up to my eyes to keep my skin from freezing. It is nearly sixty degrees below zero.
Big John helps me off the machine and we stand together for a moment, staring into a solid wall of blowing snow. The winds are steady at twenty knots, causing a total whiteout over the station. Incredibly, we can hear the droning engines of a Hercules cargo plane, muffled by the weather but getting louder by the second. It is the first plane to attempt a landing at the South Pole in eight months.
"He'll never make it," says Big John. "He'll have to circle and turn back."
I can't decide if I am frightened or relieved. I am sick and quite possibly dying. There is no doubt that I have to leave here to get treatment for the cancer growing in my breast. I am the only doctor among forty-one scientists and support staff at this U.S. research station, and I've been worrying about what would happen if I became too frail to care for my patients. Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of people have worked for weeks to organize this extraordinary rescue flight. I feel grateful, and humbled and, at the same time, overwhelmed with grief.
In reporting my predicament, some journalists have described the South Pole as "hell on earth." Others refer to my time here as "an ordeal." They would be surprised to know how beautiful Antarctica has seemed to me, with its waves of ice in a hundred shades of blue and white, its black winter sky, its ecstatic wheel of stars. They would never understand how the lights of the Dome welcomed me from a distance, or how often I danced and sang and laughed here with my friends.
And how I was not afraid.
Here, in this lonely outpost surrounded by the staggering emptiness of the polar plateau, in a world stripped of useless noise and comforts, I found the most perfect home I have ever known. I do not want to leave.
But now as the sound of the engines grows to a roar and shifts in pitch, I strain to take a last look around. I am hoping for an opening in the storm, as much for me as for the pilot. I want to see the ice plain one more time, and lose myself in its empty horizon. But the notion passes, like waking from a dream, and within moments begins to seem unreal.
Excerpted by permission of Hyperion Books. Copyright © 2001 Dr. Jerri Nielsen.
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