-ConfuciusChinese philosopher & reformer (551 BC - 479 BC)
Today is a significant day for 2 reasons. For one thing, I finally have internet in my room so I do not have to hang out in the office until midnight. The second thing is my replacement is probably at Fort Riley right now. I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. At the same it is also kind of sad because we are really getting to know and like the people that we work with in the clinic. We are developing a genuine friendships.
One observation I had today, which is somewhat concerning for me, is the difference that the Afghan physicians have concerning a patient's well being. I am not sure if the difference between the U.S. and Afghan's mentality stems from a fear of getting sued, I would like to think not, but in the U.S. we legitimately want to do what is right. I can remember walking out to my car, after just finishing a long day at an urgent care clinic. It was after 5:00pm and the clinic had just closed. I saw a mom escorting her young son who you could tell had an injured arm. I knew that he required an X-ray and that we had just turned everything off and everyone was getting ready to go home. I could have very easily just driven off and no one would have criticized me for it, but instead, I had the staff open up the clinic out of a sense of duty to the patient. Over here, just from the limited patient interaction that I have witnessed, I don't think that they have developed that same concern for the patient. I hope that it is a teachable quality.
For example, we had a guy come in with an obvious hand fracture. I had to go out of my way to motivate the ER doctor to act and to order and x-ray. There was another gentleman that came to the hospital yesterday with a life threatening condition and was turned away because the clinic is not quite up and running full speed. He died in route to another hospital. I think that I am going to spend some time tomorrow trying to ingrain this important trait. I can easily treat someone how to practice medicine. I am just not sure that I can teach them how to care.
When we asked why they didn't call their equivalent of 9-1-1 for the patient that came in yesterday with the life threatening condition, their response was, "There are 6 million people in Kabul. Do you think an ambulance would come?"
Today I had a long conversation with one of the police recruits that came to the clinic for back pain. I would love to post his picture but I won't for his security. We talked about how he is unable to go back and visit his family who live in the Helmond region of the country. He says that he has a huge extended family but if he goes back it would be very dangerous for him because everyone in his town knows that he is a police officer. The same applies to the interpreters and anyone else seen cooperating with the government or U.S.. I asked him what do the police officers that live in the Helmond province do them. His response was that they all live in a secure compounds and that they have lot of weapons.
He was attending his first year of a four year police program. He came in with bad back pain and was just kind of asked a few questions in the front lobby then sent away. Oh, there is so much that needs to be fixed. Baby steps.
As much as I want to go home, I can still appreciate why the deployments have gone to 12 and 15 months. Making any progress in Afghanistan takes a long time, and unfortunately, developing good relations and getting yourself up to speed takes about 2 months.
I hear my replacement will be here for a year. A number of our teammate have already been contacted by their replacements. They have the advantage of having us over here to show them around. We had to somewhat start from scratch. The transition for them should be much smoother then what we had to deal with.
Here is a good picture that all of us took for a kinder garden class. This is probably half of the team.
I posted another countdown and this time I hopefully will not get in trouble because it is plus/minus 7 days. I am really looking forward to Valentine's Day this year (hint hint).
Thanks for reading.