One Woman's Life in Discovery

One Woman's Life in Discovery
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

2016-11-30-1480532021-185701-IMG_6419.jpgPhysician, pilot, poet, and musician Nancy Elliott Sydnam lives in discovery every day. Originally from Washington State, she spent the last 20 years of her career serving the health care needs of Native villagers in some of the most remote parts of Alaska, applying her medical knowledge and unstoppable ingenuity in situations where conditions were often bleak and resources minimal. She was 81 when she retired. (Read more)

The following mini-movie, narrated by Nancy, explores the idea of listening outside of herself and facing the world with optimism, purpose, and intention to learn every day. It is the first of many examples that we will be sharing of how to Live in Discovery.

Nancy Sydnam's book, Sideways Rain (Hardscratch Press, 2012), recounts her years of adventure, wonder, and close calls as an itinerant doctor in the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands. It is almost impossible to understand from a small excerpt, but this short passage provides a glimpse into the life and perspectives of this amazing woman.

"Bach Violin Concerto in E" with Mutter is just right. (Oh, thank you Harold Borofsky for the wonders you have taped for me.) I have had a whole day of feeling incompetent for these huge tasks. Alexay is still in cardiac failure. His oxygen saturations are OK, but he hasn't lost any fluid pounds and still looks awful. We are out of IV Lasix. The weather bad so no flights. I have him on oral Lasix and started Prednisone today. Meanwhile, the gravida three, VBAC, is in early labor and due in 2 1/2 weeks. The danger is that if allowed to labor she may split her previous uterine scar and bleed to death in minutes. She looked at me with big eyes this afternoon and said, "I'm afraid to die." I can do as well as anyone out here to keep that from happening, but we have no blood. (Read more)