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

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Happy 25.2% Day!

I read a funny joke this morning:

Radio Command: "I am an admiral with the U.S. Navy. You are in the direct path of a battle ship. Alter your course immediately."

Radio Reply: "No, sir. You must alter your course. I am a lighthouse."

I sometimes feel like that admiral. Aside from today being Eid, today is also 25.2% Day!!! We are 25.2% finished with our deployment.

Fridays are normally our "down day." It is our one day off during the week and we are all in our office working. It helps to pass the time. The locals normally host a bizarre on Fridays. A bizarre is similar to a flea market where you can buy local crafts, rugs, and various other local souvenirs. It was canceled today because it is a Muslim holiday. Next week I will try and post some pictures of the bizarre.

Yesterday, I received the nicest care package from the "Busy Bees" at a Senior Center in Thousand Oaks, California. They sent a very nice picture of all 11 of them. It still comes as a surprise whenever a new care package comes in the mail. I still cannot believe that there are so many nice people out there that are willing to sacrifice their time and effort for all of us over here. The seniors knitted us mittens, caps, and booties. One of our office mates runs very early every morning and he says that the mittens will come in very handy. They also sent us snacks, toiletries, and other goodies.

I also got sent a collection of poems from students from a Marin County Middle School in California. I thought I would post one of the poems that gave me a good laugh this morning:

When I Was Little

When I was little, I ran naked.
Now I play hockey.
When I was little, I crawled.
Now I walk and run.
When I was little, I slept in a crib.
Now I sleep in a bed.
When I was little, I ate baby food.
Now I eat pizza.
When I was little, I cried.
Now I whine.

Isn't that cute. That was written by a fourth grader from San Pedro Elementary in California. I didn't include his name in case he does not want it on the web.

This morning I was working on the formulary for the new clinic. In case you do not know, a formulary is the list of medications that a pharmacy carries in a hospital or clinic. It is very interesting because they use different names for some of our more common medications. Did you know that Tylenol is called paracetamol over here? Also, when developing a new formulary you have to consider a whole different array of common ailments based on the country you are practicing medicine. Parasitic infections are a lot more common over here.
It will be interesting to see what it is like working with the Afghan doctors. One of the other physician mentors at a different base told me that the doctors that he works with treat all "inflammation" with antibiotics. He says that just about everyone that comes through the door receives antibiotics for just about everything. I was also told by a different physician mentor that they use methotrexate to treat asthma. For those of you that do not know, methotrexate is a chemotherapy drug that is also use to treat a lot of rheumatic conditions. It could be very toxic and needs to be monitored closely. Obviously, in the U.S. we have a lot safer medications for asthma. I am not sure if they use it because it is a cost issue or what. For instance, Advair is a common inhaler that we use for asthma and it can cost hundreds of dollars per prescription. Most Afghans do not even make that much in a month so you can see why they have to turn to nontraditional/alternative forms of medicine.

Later this month I plan on participating in 2 CMAs (Community Medical Assistance) programs. I have heard that upwards of 5,000 people come seeking medical care. It will be interesting to see how it goes. I will keep you posted.

12 comments:

JRH said...

Holy inhalers, Batman!!!! METHOTREXATE for asthma? Talk about overkill.... Is that because patients are more compliant with a "pill" rather than with an inhaler that requires some patient training to be used effectively?

Won't the pharma companies provide some more current meds at lower cost for a developing country? Or provide the 'previous-generation' meds at lower cost, since the R&D costs for those meds have long since been made back? (Like Accolate instead of Singulair, Flovent v. Advair, or even go back to the theophylline generation?)

Sorry, I guess you hit a nerve here-- if my doctor ever asks me to take methotrexate for my asthma, I'm changing doctors! lol (Asthmatic engineers are overly educated patients! :-) )

--Julie - BFS

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