Problog

Hello and welcome to my blog. It is a blog about an Air Force Physician that was reluctantly deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan for 6 months.

I have to admit, I did not exactly volunteer for the deployment, and I was a little anxious about how it would all turn out. I ended up making the best of it, and surprisingly, I actually had a pleasant, life changing, experience.

I decided to keep the blog up and running because I kept on hearing, "Why is it that you only hear the bad news coming from Iraq and Afghanistan." I figured that I was helping spread a positive message about what we are doing over. Even more important, I wanted to continue to spread the word about the plight of the Afghan people, 99.9% of which are the most incredibly friendly people that you will ever meet. The title picture is a great example of that. I have never encountered such genuinely warm and friendly people. It was so strange to see so many people with so little material objects, yet at the same time, filled with so much of the joy that comes with close family ties, abundant friends, and a close knit community. We could definetly learn a lot from them.

You may notice, as you read the blog in its entirety, my arc. I shift from focusing on myself and my personal comforts, to shifting my focus on the Afghan cause. It is very easy to get distracted by the hustle of daily life and the comforts that the U.S. provides. It is really a challenge to awake from that coma and to start to care and think about the welfare of other people unrelated to you. I think it really took me about 4 or 5 months before I really opened my eyes and became personally affected by what I was experiencing. I hope I was able to recreate it.

I have tried to keep the blog squeaky clean so as to not offend anyone (or get me in trouble-I am still in the military). Even though I am a political junky with very strong personal opinions I have been steadfast in keeping this site free of any politics. I was called to do a job and I tried to do it to the best of my ability regardless of my political stance.

I recreated the blog to read more like a book, or should I say blook (get used to the corniness it only gets worse from here) just to make it an easier read. I have removed some names and pictures just to keep it more anonymous. I hope that it helps in making it less about me and more about the cause.

Lastly, in the spirit of the blog, I decided to include the Chipin Widget that I used to raise money for Nazia. If I get any additional money I will send the funds to The Women of Hope Project and someone over in Kabul will discretely give it to her (unless I hear otherwise). You can also contribute directly to the Women of Hope Project website. They are a wonderful cause. If you enjoy this blog then feel free to contribute. I am sure that once you read her story you will be very moved.

So kick back. Get ready to hopefully laugh and definitely cry.
If you like what you read then post a comment. I will be continuously editing this site in an attempt to improve it. Who knows maybe one day it will become a book!

Enjoy. Thanks for reading.

-Shazdoc

Today Show Clip

Chipin Widget

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Forgotten Heros

There is a marine phrase that is commonly used, "Semper gumby." It basically means that you need to remain flexible because plans change. I was told by many people prior to deploying to Afghanistan that I needed to "remain flexible." I did not know quite what they meant but I am quickly learning. My job over here may be changing soon. I will keep you posted.

For some reason the new information that I recently learned got me thinking of the day that I was first told that I was going to be deployed. You have to understand the context, normally the Air Force deploys its people for 4 month missions and they are usually sent to relatively safe locations, especially if you are a doctor. It was the middle of the day and I was in the thick of a busy patient schedule. Both of my bosses came to my office looking very solemn. You could tell that they had something significant to tell me. In those 5 seconds before they said anything I thought to myself, "OK, what can it be?...did someone die?..No that can't be it....Noooooo, they are going to deploy me!!" During the short conversation I was told that I was going to Kabul, Afghanistan for an yet to be determined time period. I later learned that I would be filling an army deployment spot and that the entire deployment was going to last 8.5 months. Talk about a surprise.

I was told on a Friday afternoon that I needed to be at Fort Riley, Kansas for training on Sunday!! Fortunately, I was able to get my report date extended by a week. I tell you what, I have never wanted time to slow down like I did that week before my deployment. It was truly a wonderful week. Every second I spent with my wife and kids was invaluable. I could remember being at the park with my family and just wanting time to stop. They always say you should live for the day and I really was. When I get back home I would definitely like to recreate that week indefinitely.

I have to say, I do have a bit of guilt about having left my family. My children were 4 month-old and 3 years-old when I left and I feel guilty about having my wife carry the load. Before I left I taught my wife all of the little jobs around the house that only I knew how to do. I showed her how to change the air filters in the AC, how to shut off the main gas and water, where the circuit breaker was, how to work the automatic sprinklers, and a bunch of other things. I was a little worried that now that she knew how to do everything that I would become irrelevant when I came back home. I even found someone to take care of our dog, good 'ole Huckleberry. My wife said that it would be too much for her to handle so I found an incredible coworker that was able to adopt Huck and she eventually found him a really good home. While I was at Fort Riley I even had a home alarm installed.

I am looking forward to tomorrow morning because I will be seeing my family via my web cam. I recommend bringing a web cam if any of you reading this are scheduled to deploy to Camp Phoenix. The internet costs $35.00 a month but it is worth every penny. I deployed with the Navy to Iraq in 2003 and it took 2 months just receive a letter. Now you can talk and see each other in real time. It is absolutely amazing.

I have to mention before I get off of the subject that wives are truly the forgotten heroes of this whole Iraq/Afghanistan campaign. We get all of the attention and concern and wives are left to carry on a very hard and lonely job back home with very little appreciation. The next time you see a spouse of a deployed soldier be sure to thank her for her sacrifice as well.

Thanks for reading.

13 comments:

Michelle said...

Very well said. Paolo, know that we're here for your family and we miss you. Take care. ~ Your sister in-law, Michelle

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