Thus begins a multi-part recap of the past 18 months of my professional life, which has been, needless to say, quite a ride.
Quick rewind to January of last year. Assignment: Michigan. Temperature: Frigid.
I had been to Grand Rapids once before, in April. January travel to this region should be banned by the FAA!
I arrived at about 1pm at the Gerald Ford International Airport. This is a small but very modern airport. The roadway outside the terminal, leading to the attached rental car garage, is covered by a huge canopy. This particular day it was sunny but chilly, though not as cold as my next trip.
My business there was to assist with some live surgery cases.
The Grand Rapids airport is a few miles out in the sticks, and my actual destination was Wyoming, MI. I stayed at a Hyatt Place, my favorite budget hotel. After getting an orientation at the hospital, signing in with the vendor credentialing system, and getting some takeout food from the nearby grocery store, it was time to watch the Golden Globe awards. I initiated this live blog and had a great time hanging out with my virtual friends for approximately 14 hours.
The next day was uneventful, and I then flew home thinking that Michigan in January was no biggie.
BTW the best part about the Detroit airport is this underground tunnel.
It is like a 1980's EPCOT attraction with electronic music and colored lights. A nice respite from the hustle and bustle of a very large airport. On a long layover I will simply walk back and forth to pass the time.
2 Weeks later I was back in Michigan and this time Winter was in full swing. It was so cold the plows seemed to be on hiatus. Of course this was the time my luggage did not make the connection in Detroit, so I had no clothes, toiletries, tripod or camera. Luckily these items were all delivered at 3am to the hotel, but not after driving to the airport to see if they arrived on the flight immediately following mine (they did not). Once I was back at the hotel the ice wind had started. Ice wind is something that seems to only exist in the Midwestern US. It is not falling ice, and it is not cold wind - it seems to be wind composed of a fine mist of ice.
The next morning I got to my rental car to find there was no snow brush, and a lot of snow. I did what anyone would do in this situation - I went back into the hotel and borrowed a snow brush.
Actually that is what I SHOULD have done. What I actually did was put my hand in a plastic grocery bag and clear the snow off my car.
Luckily the hospital where I was working was across the street, so it was not too treacherous getting there. The next night it was so cold I dared not venture too far for dinner. I went to a nearby plaza and got not very good Chinese food, but it was hot and I ate once again in my hotel room.
This particular hospital has a self-contained mobile video cart, consisting of a boom mounted PTZ camera, a PTZ in a fixed position, and inputs from medical imaging devices. There is a klunky iPad based control surface which takes some getting used to.
After a final day of nasty cold, it was back to home base for a few weeks. The nasty weather followed me because we soon had a blizzard the likes of which had not been seen since this time the previous year in CT!
Well, that's life in the Northern part of the US. Makes us enjoy the Summers more. And vacations to the Southern parts.
Back through the magic tunnel and home to my own version of Winter.
Back in the saddle it was time for final preparations for one of our big conferences of the year in Washington. Stay tuned.
Thanks for reading.