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.


Today Show Clip

Chipin Widget

Monday, March 17, 2008

2 Apple Tree by 2 Apple Tree Length Vision

"People often write me and ask how I keep my wood floors so clean when I live with a child and a dog, and my answer is that I use a technique called Suffering From a Mental Illness."
Heather Armstrong, Dooce, 07-07-06

"Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday."
John WayneUS movie actor & director (1907 - 1979)

I love that title picture by Dr.Massaud. It is going to stay up for a few days.

Today I continued to see progress. It is progress that is small and subtle, but added together through time will equal big changes. Forinstance, the inpatient ward did not smell as bad as it normally does, doctors were doing wound care with gloves on, and nurses were changing bed sheets.

I visted with the Physical Therapist for a while today. I wanted to let him know that I considered him one of the most important people in the hospital. Most of the inpatients are Orthopedic patients that are recovering from amputated limbs and serious fractures. I told him that it is essential that he gets out of his 1st floor office and work with the inpatients upstairs. Despite having brand new equipment, such as treadmills and stationary bikes, he still insited that he needed new equipment. He pointed to his old cervical and lumbar traction devices. They look like mideval torture devices. I told him that this equipment is not important for the work that he needs to be doing. I informed him that in the states all a Physical Therapist that works in a hospital needs is a belt around their waist. I told him that the most important thing he should be doing is getting the patients up and moving. Here is the cervical traction machine.

Seeing pictures from the last VCR trip to the K.O.O. inspired me to try and get some artificial limbs for some of our patients with amputations. It turns out that we already have a contract in place with the K.O.O. and we were just not taking advantage of it. I would like to see at least one patients get a new prostetic device before the end of my deployment. I have arranged to have one of the patients seen this weekend. Ultimately, I would like to establish a regular scheduled visit to the K.O.O., like a shuttle service that runs there every 2 weeks. I will keep you posted.

I had a long debate/discussion with the ER doctor. He was giving an IV to a lady that was 12 weeks pregnant (by the way, just getting him to use an OB wheel to determine how far along she was was a challange in itself). He said that she came in with a note from an outside doctor that said she had abdominal pain which was the result of having kidney stones. I asked him if he did a urine test to check for a urinary tract infection. He answered, "No," because she was already diagnosed and that the doctor just ordered for her to get IV fluids. I tried to get across the concept of covering one's diarer. There are no malpractice attorneys in Kabul so doctors are not exactely concerned about getting sued. I tried to teach him that you should never trust what someone tells you. To always have a jaundiced eye to what others are telling you. Always verify for yourself just to be sure. I finally was able to convince him to get a urine study. The patient ended up not having a urinary tract infection but the ER doctor did say, "She has an abnormal lab! She had a hemoglobin of 8." Normal is >12. I said, "Good job. What did you do with her?" He replied, "I sent her to OB." That was not exactly the answer I was looking for.

We then had a 5 minute debate about how best to improve her anemia. He wanted to give her iron dextran which comes as a shot that you give in the arm. Aside from being very painful, it could also be very dangerous for the mom and the baby because you can potentially get a very serious reaction from it.

While I was in the ER I saw that they had 2 of the eye charts that I brought in the other day hanging on the wall. I asked the assistant if he knew how far away a patient had to stand to do a proper visual acuity check. He incorrectly answered 30 feet. I asked him how he planned to measure out the distance and he said that since he owns an apple orchard he is very good at judging distance. The distance will be the same distance between 2 apple trees. We both laughed. So I guess a patient should have 2 apple tree by 2 apple tree length vision. Works for me.

Thanks for reading.