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, February 28, 2008

Daily Routine

"Start every day off with a smile and get it over with."
-
W. C. Fields US actor (1880 - 1946)

"If you do a good job for others, you heal yourself at the same time, because a dose of joy is a spiritual cure."
Dietrich Bonhoeffer German Protestant theologian & anti-Nazi activist (1906 - 1945)

"It is the great privilege of poverty to be happy and yet unenvied, to be healthy with physic, secure without a guard, and to obtain from the bounty of nature what the great and wealthy are compelled to procure by the help of art."
-Johnson

"At points of clarity, I realize that my life on earth is meaningless, and that I am merely a pawn in a bigger game. A game I cannot possible understand or have control of. Thankfully, before depression sets in, I drift back into my cloudy, bewildered daily routine."
-Joel Patrick Warneke

Today was a low tempo day. Time seems to be flying by. It seems like just yesterday that I wrote about the bazaar. I think the key to making time fly on deployments is to develop a routine and to stick with it. I will have to remember that when I get back home and try and avoid getting into a routines as much as possible.

Since there was not much going on today I thought that I would highlight another good cause. Recently a colleague of mine visited CURE Hospital. They are helping to fill a very big void in areas that are definitely in need of more attention- women's health, medical education, and health care for children. Here is a blurb from their website.

"Early in 2005, the Afghan Health Consortium invited CURE International to assume control of both the Family Health Clinic and a hospital partially restored by the Coalition Forces in Kabul. In February 2005, CURE signed an agreement with the Ministry of Public Health to manage and further develop services and training programs at the 115-bed hospital and the health clinic. By the end of 2005, both facilities were fully operational and together serving more than 8,000 patients each month.

The Ministry of Public Health recognizes that the training of midwives and doctors is essential to improving the health of Afghans. CURE specialists and midwife trainers spent hundreds of hours in 2005 developing and measuring competencies of staff midwives and General Medicine doctors in training to develop appropriate curricula.

CURE Kabul opened its maternity unit at the end of September, 2005. The hospital and clinic together serve about 110 women each month (both inpatient and outpatient prenatal care). In 2005, CURE established a General Practice Residency Program, an OB/GYN Fellowship training program and OB/GYN training for nurses and midwives. In the fall of 2005, the maternity ward was refurbished and ultrasound services became available. In December 2005, the CURE International Hospital opened a modern Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to address the needs of critically ill newborns, premature newborns and newborns requiring close observation. In 2005, CURE also developed a modern pathology laboratory, blood bank, therapeutic feeding center and tuberculosis surveillance and treatment program in Kabul.

Additionally, as Afghanistan is one of the most heavily mined countries in the world, and its people severely injured by war, a great need existed for orthopedic services and training. CURE Kabul has received numerous accolades for services from the Afghan Ministry of Health.

CURE has three fully equipped operating rooms for general surgery, obstetrics, gynecology and orthopedics. CURE provides general practice and OB/GYN care and specializes in the orthopedic rehabilitation of children with disabilities. For example, the expert repair of a clubfoot can enable a child to walk normally instead of having a life-long disability. CURE orthopedic doctors also care for a wide range of acute and chronic bone diseases, tuberculosis of the spine, and trauma-related injuries. CURE has established a corrective plastic surgery program that serves burn patients and also treats cleft palates and lips. Many of the patients treated at the CURE International Hospital in Kabul are in need of care to treat injuries that were either improperly treated or were not treated at all.

CURE has treated more than 120,000 patients since opening in early 2005 and more than 40,000 laboratory tests were performed during this period. CURE has established for the Afghan Ministry of Public Health the baseline competencies for staff midwives and General Medicine doctors that will now be used in all training programs throughout Afghanistan.
-
Established Training Programs:
Orthopedic Surgery and rehabilitative care
General practice
Obstetrics and Gynecology including midwifery
Midwifery
Endoscopic diagnosis
Lab Technology
Nurse specialists (Neonatal Intensive Care, Operating, Anesthesiology )
Partnership with The Smile Train

In the fall of 2006, in collaboration with Smile Train, CURE developed cleft lip and cleft palate surgical training programs in most of CURE's hospitals worldwide. These programs have been piloted in Afghanistan and in the Dominican Republic. These programs will train 20 surgeons in the correction of cleft lip/palate surgery each year."

Here are some pictures that my colleague took on her recent trip.



I provided links to both CURE hospital and Smile Train. If you are looking to contribute to a worthy cause then I think that those are 2 good ones.
-
Thanks for reading.

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