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, April 3, 2008

Silver Bloggers Network

The title picture is courtesy of Dr. Mossoud.

"Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. "
-Calvin Coolidge30th president of US (1872 - 1933)

"Energy and persistence conquer all things."
-Benjamin FranklinUS author, diplomat, inventor, physicist, politician, & printer (1706 - 1790)

Today the surgeon was the star of the show. He had a number of cases back to back that he was managing in the ER and I was his assistant. As I mentioned before, it is somewhat challenging to mentor a specialist because, for one thing, they are stuck in their ways, and second, my surgical knowledge is somewhat limited.

A phenomenon that is very interesting is their use of betadine and hydrogen peroxide on most patients. They use it regularly on every kind of injury. In the U.S. we have sort of altered our use of these two agents and have relied more on irrigation with normal saline. Even though peroxide and betadine are effective against killing bacteria they also can be destructive to healthy tissue. After every suture, while cleaning any wound, you name it, peroxide and betadine are used. On one gentlemen that had lost the lower portion of his leg to a rocket attack, he used it to treat a healing wound. I suggested using some bacitracin and I went to the pharmacy to retrieve some but all they had was something called Burn Cream. It is essentially the same thing but he did not want to use it because he said that it was only for burns.

Another younger guy came in, he must have been in his early 20s. He was concerned about the cosmetic appearance of an old Leishmaniasis scar. Leishmaniasis and the residual scars that are left after the infection is something that is very commonly seen in Kabul. The young guy came in yesterday to see if anything could be done to improve the appearance of the scar. He was dressed somewhat fashionably and had long hair. You could tell that the scar effected his self esteem. The people working in the ER kind of laughed wondering why someone would care about a scar living in Kabul. After all, they said, it is not like he is living in L.A.. I thought that that was the end of it so I was surprised when I saw him come back again into the ER this morning. I asked the surgeon what he planned to do and he told me not to worry and to just watch.

He made a fairly large incision and basically excised the entire scar to include about a centimeter around the perimeter. The interesting part was that he did all of this without wearing any gloves and he did not exactly have a sterile field. I did not want to say anything in front of the patient. At one point he asked for my help to dab the blood. I made a point of asking for gloves. The interpreter said that the surgeon blushed when I did that. The site looked pretty good when he finished, he just had a scar that was twice the size. Maybe it will heal better then the previous one.

Today was thank you card writing night. Those of you that sent multiple boxes will get multiple thank you cards. I do it mainly so you can know that I received the packages. I must have received 20 boxes over the past 2 days filled with all kinds of goodies. I sent out an email for people to come and pick out what they wanted. Whatever is not picked up by tomorrow will be sent downrange to more remote FOBs. Thank you, thank you and more thank you to all of those that have sent stuff. Thank you also to those of you that have sent Christmas cards. This was yesterday's mail. We got a similar stack today. Most of it was cloths for the VCR and care packages for the troops.



A ton of people helped to load the trucks for tomorrow's VCR trip. We loaded a truck full of discarded Styrofoam that hopefully will be used for insulation. We also loaded the food and the cloths that were donated by the bx and from people back home. A few of the boxes were from 6 M.I.K. readers.



I had an idea that I wanted to run by some readers. Please let me know if it is a stinker. I was thinking about blogging how it is such a great way to help pass the time. It also serves so many other functions; it can serve as a historical record, a means to educate people, a tool for social interaction, and so much more. Who would benefit most from learning about blogging then the elderly. Many of them are alone and in need of an activity that engages their mind and that is both fun and rewarding. I was thinking that we could rally a few 6 M.I.K. readers in an attempt to find someone that may be willing to try it out. We could try and encourage them to learn how to blog. They could record their life history, random thoughts, or even just what they did that day. They would be leaving a historical trail for others to read for years to come (how long will Google be around?). This involves no spending of money or major effort on anyone's part. All you would have to do would be to find someone that is eager and willing to learn and to teach them how to do it. You could even visit a local nursing home that has Internet connectivity and give an hour lesson every 2 weeks. I would be so interested to learn what they would write about. I could link all of the blogs into one big blog and we could read and enjoy. We could call it the Silver Bloggers Network.

Let me know what you think. If you guys like it then I will work on it more and give you more details. Let me know if you have anyone in mind. It could even be a relative.

Thanks for reading.

12 comments:

Livingoutloud said...

Hey Shazdoc! Just keeping up with my evening reading! It is overwhelming to see and read about all the folks sending things from the US. We really are a giving people. We just want to help others in need. Why do others hate us so much? I hope that you are doing well! Your Ewing students are doing great. They are living for Christmas, of course! I will have them blog you right before we leave for break. This will be Wednesday. They do check the blog on their own. They share what they have read or the pictures you have posted. Thanks for all you do...Take Care.
M.Ivy

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