-Al CaponeUS gangster (1899 - 1947)
Everyday the clinic gets busier and busier. The patients that are coming in do not just have minor problems either. One of the first patients that was seen was a police recruit that was shot in the hand by his instructor. I know, how ironic. You can not make this stuff up. I would love to show you the picture but it would be way too graphic. The first thing I said to the ER doctor was, "So, what do you want to do for him?" He replied, " I want to clean it, then sew it up." I then asked him, "What about if there is a fracture, don't you want to get an X-ray to make sure?" He agreed. Fortunately there was no fracture.
Another patient came in with really bad dehydration. Apparently, the Dermatologist is helping out in the ER because they are short staffed. The U.S. nurse and I watched, almost covering our eyes, as he tried to start an IV. The nurse was able to step in and show him the right way to do it. Little by little, day by day, they are learning and improving the way they provide care.
We also did some trauma training today. The infectious disease doctor was my make believe patient. We applied tourniquets, showed them how to use oral and nasal air ways, and discussed a bunch of other trauma topics.
A couple of ANP Generals also came in for VIP care. They came specifically because they knew that an American mentor was going to be at the clinic. I wish I could have gotten it on film when the 3-star General was told that I was the American doctor that was mentoring the Orthopedist. You have got to understand the culture. One of the interpreters explained it to me last week. In addition to being an interpreter he is also an oral surgeon. He had to stop being an oral surgeon because he looked too young, so therefore, people did not have a lot of confidence in him and he did not have any patients. He said that you have to be fat and bald to be respected as a physician in Afghanistan. Forget about where you went to medical school or your level of experience, you have to have a spare tire and a shiny head to succeed as a physician. I have been told ever since I graduated medical school, back in 1999, that I look too young to be a physician. I am wondering if I will ever look the part.
The reaction from the 3-star General when he saw that I was the American physician was priceless. You would have thought that I just insulted his mother. I just looked too young to be a doctor to him. I did not say anything in response. I just smiled. Frankly, I really did not care if he did not want to be seen by me. One of his American mentors had to reassure him that everything was fine, telling him that I was very competent and well qualified.
He had an Orthopedic problem that probably required surgery. The problem is you probably would be better off not having the surgery in Afghanistan. Even if you were in the states surgery would not be a magic bullet. Pain is something that doctors, medicine, or surgery can not always fix.
Before I finish with the clinic I wanted to show you what one of the Canadian soldiers had in his ear. He said that it is acupuncture for his back pain. Like I have said before, just because we do it one way in the states does not always make it right. The Afghani Orthopedist probably thought that he was weird for putting pins in his ear to fix back pain (for the record, so do I). So before I ever criticize or correct them, I first think to myself does it make sense, and more importantly, does the habit need to be corrected.
I do not think that I spent enough time talking about the cookies that I got yesterday. The cookies were sent from "Cookies Direct" from Yarmouth Maine. A really wonderful "Angel" from Inyokern, California sent them to our team. She also sent the other gifts that were on yesterday's post. This is from their website.
"COOKIES DIRECT is a cookie mail order gift service specializing in truly homemade, fresh baked, hand-packaged cookies. Since 1991, we've delivered thousands of delicious gift packages to family, friends, students, the military, and businesses throughout the country and overseas as well. We operate this cottage industry from our 195-year-old home located in the heart of Yarmouth Village, Maine."
Here is a picture of some of the team members enjoying the cookies.
Today I received 3 big packages. One of them was a box full of Christmas stockings.
The other box was hats and gloves for kids.
The last one was another care package from a second grade class from Nevada.
I am trying to think of something good to send some of the students that write to me. Our next bazaar is on Friday. I plan to buy them something. I hope I can make in on time for Christmas.
There were more bombings today. Here is a link to a NY Times article.
Thanks for reading.