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

Saturday, March 22, 2008

War Injuries

"I'm glad I didn't have to fight in any war. I'm glad I didn't have to pick up a gun. I'm glad I didn't get killed or kill somebody. I hope my kids enjoy the same lack of manhood."

-Tom HanksUS movie actor (1956 - )

Today when I got to the clinic not much was going on in the ER so I headed upstairs. I saw that the Orthopedist and was about to start his rounds so I decided to accompany him. I am not sure if the patients were just covered by sheets the entire time, but I never really had never appreciated how serious their wounds really were. Seeing all of their injuries today really took me by surprise. The hospital has only one Orthopedist and he has to manage patients that get sent from all throughout Afghanistan. The vast majority of the patients sustained war-type injuries. I do not mean be insensitive in any way, but it really felt like I was walking through a Hollywood movie set. The injuries that these people had were just horrific. The were the result of rockets, large caliber bullets, and large explosions. The patients were all very young too.

The first patient that we saw had an amputated foot and an external fixator over both legs to repair extensive fractures. The next patient had a deep gaping hole, the size of a grape fruit, over his right buttock. There was a smaller entrance wound over his right groin. The next patient and an extensive compound fractures over his right lower leg. When the Ortho doctor approached the patient he removed a small piece of gauze that covered his wound. A piece of bone fragment the size of a quarter could be seen protruding from the wound. He removed the piece of bone and discarded it in the trash and then his assistant covered it back up with gauze. The Ortho doc said that he did not have any more external fixators to repair his fracture. I asked why he did not have a cast on his leg and he said that he was still waiting for the edema (swelling) to go down. The next patient was completely missing his left arm and an eye. The next patient was partially paralyzed from a gun shot wound to his spinal cord. His foley catheter was lying on the floor. There was patient after another with similar injuries. I asked the Orthopedist how many of his patients were in the hospital and he replied, "18. "When I told him that it was a lot he smiled and replied, "That that is nothing, I had 120 patients in the old hospital."

As I was walking out of the room I saw a patient lying on a plastic mattress without a sheet. I asked the head nurse why he did not have a sheet. He told me that the patient had gone to the bathroom 3 times in his bed already and they were not going to give him any more sheets. I felt bad because the patient was incontinent from his injury which made him partially paralyzed. All I could do was just take it it all in.

I went back down to the ER for a little lighter atmosphere. The ER doctor and the PA were there. They are always in a good mood and we always joke with each other. I wish that I could play a recording of the PAs laugh. It is so funny. It sounds like a high pitch squeal. It is the kind of laugh that triggers laughter from others. The PA invited me to visit his apple orchard. He says that he owns 9 acres of land.

Look what they did to their medication dispenser. Each drawer has a different liquid in it- hydrogen peroxide, saline, betadine, and alcohol. I tried to explain to them that it probably is not the best idea, but what can you do.



I visited the lab and it was almost like going through a time warp. Take a look at some of these reagents. They do all of their labs by hand. I am not sure if you realize but in the states most clinics and hospitals used large automated machines to do their labs. It was like visiting a chemistry lab. They had all kinds of reagents: Thymol, Urea, Copper, Sulfuric Acid, Calcium Carbonate, probably every element in the periodic table. I am so curious what they do with Copper. I will just have to ask them next time I am there.





A friend of mine was sent a talking parrot. Take a look. It is the perfect pet. You never have to clean or feed it.

Take care.

11 comments:

C. Valentine said...

Doc, just curious. Are all the patients you see Afghan people or do you also treat our soldiers?

Many, many thanks for all you do. Stay safe.
C. Valentine

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