South Pole evacuee undergoes medical tests

October 2010 photo provided by Renee-Nicole Douceaur shows her in Antarctica.
AP Photo/Renee-Nicole Douceaur

CONCORD, N.H. - A sick American engineer who was evacuated from the South Pole to New Zealand is awaiting the results of medical tests after having what doctors believed was a stroke in August.

Renee-Nicole Douceur told The Associated Press in an email Tuesday that she had MRI and echocardiogram exams. She said results will be shared with doctors in the United States "so everyone will be on the same page."

"Back at hotel now to chill out," Douceur wrote. She added, "So nice to see green and smell freshly cut grass, flowers, birds chirping, insects, etc., since it's now been over a year on the flat polar plateau of just ice and snow." She landed in Christchurch on Monday.

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Douceur, 58, is a Seabrook, New Hampshire, resident who worked as a manager for research station contractor Raytheon Polar Services Co.

She asked for an emergency evacuation after having what doctors believed was a stroke in August, but officials rejected her request because of bad weather, saying that sending a rescue plane was too dangerous and that her condition wasn't life-threatening.

Doctors she contacted for a second opinion say a tumor may have caused her vision and speech problems.

After initially having half her field of vision vanish, Douceur said last week she can now read if she concentrates on just a few words at a time. She said she sometimes jumbles words and has had trouble remembering simple lists of words during medical evaluations.