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

Friday, March 7, 2008

Atequellah

"Don't let people drive you crazy when you know it's in walking distance."
-Unknown

"Part of being sane, is being a little bit crazy."
-Janet Long

It was snowing really hard today. The streets were really wet and muddy. When we arrived at the clinic they were starting their morning report. I sat really close to the interpreter so he could whisper what was being said. They were kind enough to pause during their report so that all of the information could get translated.

During the day I spent most of my my time up in the ER. That is where most of the activity usually is. The on call doctor was the Neurosurgeon. I was asking him about the patient that was sitting on one of the exam tables. He usually tells me that I never visit with him so I wanted to try and see if I could spend some time discussing his patient. I was not buying his diagnosis of inguinal hernia on an older lady with right lower quadrant abdominal pain and painful urination.
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A little later I approached the surgeon who was applying betadine over a patients calf. I asked him what he was about to do and he said that he was going to take fluid out of a patient's calf. I gave him one of my you have got to be kidding looks. I thought to myself that there was no way that he could be serious. The surgeon proceeded to insert a needle into the patient's calf and he actually drew up about 40ml of cloudy amber fluid. I was quite surprised. I looked at the paper work on the desk and I saw that not only did the surgeon get an ultrasound that confirmed a large cyst but he also sent part of the fluid to be analyzed and he also did blood work. The assistant that was there looked at me and said, "What, did you think that we did not know what we were doing?" I felt somewhat guilty for having my doubts.
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On the way home we encountered a very sad scene. I am not sure if you remember, I previously described a homeless family of beggars that sit down in the middle of the street between passing cars. Some of them even have young children that help them out. They were there like always, but this time the street was filled with slush and mud and the snow was coming down really hard. The conditions could not have been any worse. It is very cold outside and it is not like they can go home to a warm house and take a shower afterwards either.

Similarly, you may also remember all the way back to when we did the CMA, I blogged about a little kid with a heart defect. After learning about Operation Outreach and Baby Heart and how they help children with heart defects, I decided to write to them to see if there was anything they could do to help him out. I have kept his phone number ever since the CMA and I have thought about him on a regular basis. I just did not even know where to begin to help him. I will keep you posted on any info that I get back. Here is his pic.



In the meantime I thought that I would give another plug to the Camp Phoenix Operation Outreach program:

"Our humanitarian-assistance group at Camp Phoenix, Operation Outreach, has already sent two children, Bas Mar Jan and Welyat, for heart surgeries, and both have had excellent outcomes. We’re now raising funds to send a three-year-old boy, Atequellah, for surgery. He suffers from ventricular-septal defect (VSD), a congenital heart defect that will result in death if left untreated. Outreach has raised just over $7,500 to date; we have another $9,000 before we reach our goal.

If you would like to support us in our efforts to help these two little boys, please visit the web site of the International Children’s Heart Foundation (ICHF) at http://www.babyheart.org/. On the home page, you'll see a picture of the little girl mentioned above, Bas Mar Jan, and some information about Operation Outreach. Click on the photo to donate in support of Atequellah. In your comments on the donation page, please type “Operation Outreach, Afghanistan.” ICHF will designate the funds for our use.

Operation Outreach continues to accept new and gently-used clothes and shoes, as well as school supplies. Though children are our primary focus, we accept donations of women’s and men’s clothing as well; there’s an active “market” here in which families can trade one needed item for another. We also request liquid or powdered baby formula for the many mothers who lack enough milk to feed their infants, as well as toothbrushes, toothpaste, and soap."

Our address is:
Operation Outreach
C Company 163rd LTF
Camp Phoenix
APO AE 09320

Here is another little kiddo that needs your help.


Thanks for reading.

3 comments:

Kristen in AZ said...

Can I post the Operation Outreach info and posts on my blog?

David Stanford said...

I just came upon your site, and would like to email re the possibility of putting some of your posts on our milblog The Sandbox. (gocomics.typepad.com/the_sandbox). Please write to me when you have a chance. Thanks!
David
David Stanford, Duty Officer
Doonesbury Town Hall
themanagement@doonesbury.com

shazdoc said...

Of course you can post the Operation Outreach info on your blog. Anything to raise awareness.