When Energy Reliability Became Personal

When Energy Reliability Became Personal

May 27, 2020

Alaska State Director Rick Whitbeck is an undying advocate of Alaska’s energy community; the employees, the current projects and numerous prospects that drive over one in three private-sector jobs in our great state.

Last Tuesday night, Rick fell ill and rushed to the emergency room for what was ultimately diagnosed as pulmonary embolisms (blood clots) in both lungs.  The size and scope of the clots were classified as life-threatening, and Rick spent four days and nights in the hospital, before being discharged on Sunday to return home to continue with his recovery – which will take months.

In his own words, here is what Rick said about the time he spent in the hospital:

“From the time I came through the doors of the emergency room and immediately needed oxygen and heart monitoring, to the time I left in a wheelchair (for precautionary reasons only), technology brought about by responsible development and created by the efforts of energy workers were incredibly important to my getting better.

My first few hours there consisted of nothing short of coordinated crisis management.  My heart rate was over 130, my oxygen levels were sub-75, and I was scared.  Oxygen, heart monitoring, lots of questions and a CT scan later, the diagnosis of double PEs was made, and I was transferred to the “COVID Cove” of the ICU, where they take patients with unknown COVID conditions.

The next two days revolved around near-hourly tests, blood draws and medications.  COVID-19 was ruled out (thank God), and I was taken off of oxygen.  I had an ultrasound on my leg, x-rays on my chest and upper GI tract and an echocardiogram.  Throughout each of these, I never thought once about whether the electricity was going to go out, the technology was going to fail or the results weren’t going to be able to be read by the doctors.  Those were taken for granted.

Day three and four were spent making slow but steady progress.  More tests, more technology and visits with doctors, nurses, specialists and technicians, all working with computers, medical equipment and instruments that required stable electricity and Internet connectivity.

Testing confirmed that the immediate health threat from Tuesday night had passed, and I was able to return home over the weekend to continue with my recovery.  There will be numerous doctor and specialist visits; months of gradually getting my cardio and endurance back to ‘normal’.  Through it all, I’ll be in the capable hands of amazing medical professionals, as they use technology available only because of sweat equity from energy workers across the nation and the world.”

Power The Future is glad Rick is recovering and still part of our family!  We’re glad he was able to receive the care he did, from real-life front-line heroes working at Alaska Regional Hospital.  We’re equally glad abundant and reliable energy, Internet and critical technologies were available to diagnose, treat and ultimately allow Rick to return home to recover.