Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Story of Another Winterover PC Tech

"Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it." from Reason in Common Sense by George Santayana

This story may be a bit biased since it was written by the PC tech's girlfriend.

Friday, May 07, 2004
As most of us already know, one of the evacuees on the recent McMurdo medevac did not want to be evacuated. Here is the perspective of one of his friends:

"As the sole PC tech in McMurdo (we have roughly 600 PCs in town), [C] had literally hundreds of PCs to move to warm storage for buildings that were closing, and about 50 work orders in his queue that stacked up in a week's time. Instead of seeking help from other staff in IT, he tried to do it all himself, worked about 18 hours a day and slept no more than about 30 minutes at a time. He started drinking to help him sleep, which was a bad idea in the end. After about 10 days of this, he had a sleep-deprived bout of paranoia, well honestly, he lost his shit one day, thought there was a camera in his smoke detector, and pulled it off the ceiling, which triggered an alarm to the firehouse. So he went to medical for some sleep aids. I'm not sure exactly what the Doc gave him to sleep, but I went to see him while he was still sleeping and the Doc told me, after one visit with [C], "I'm certain that he's either schizophrenic or bi-polar and will need to be on medication for the rest of his life." I've spent a lot of time with [C] on and off the ice and he's never had anything even remotely resembling a psychotic episode before.

"Upon waking, he was given Haldol, a drug given to schizophrenics with myriad side effects that range from Parkinson-like symptoms (that can be permanent), to insomnia and drooling. (Haloperidol is the actual drug name). None of these side effects were discussed with [C], in fact, they didn't even tell him what they were giving him. At first he didn't ask because he was groggy from sleeping for almost 2 days and trying to be a good little patient. But he started acting very strange, doing the "thorazine shuffle" (I'm sure you've seen 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest'), having a hard time keeping his thoughts organized, and he just wasn't himself. So he asked about the meds, and when the Doc told him what she'd given him, he wanted to stop taking them. She said if he didn't comply with treatment, he'd need to be medevac'd out. He spit the pills out, but later ate them anyway because he didn't want to leave. He was all screwed up again, so he stopped taking the Haldol and was back to normal in a couple of days. He was sleeping normally, getting caught up with work, drinking less, and back to the same old [C] I've known for years. The Doc was still talking medevac. [C] talked to the RPSC and NSF Station managers, Dr. Nicoletti, Dr. Shemenski, and let everyone know he wanted to stay, that he felt better, that he would quit drinking if that's what it took for him to stay. She set up a video teleconference with a psychiatrist in Texas, I actually sat in on it at his request. At the end of their conversation the psychiatrist said that he saw no indication that [C] was schizophrenic or bi-polar and saw no need for a medevac.

If you feel like something is dying to get out of your head, it just might be a skua trying to get in.


  1. wow that is a crazy dramatic story! please don't work yourself to insanity like that!!! i want you back here safe and sound.

  2. At first I thought it was about you until I reread the "girlfriend part" ha ha j/k!