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.


Today Show Clip

Chipin Widget

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Dust of Progress

"It is wise to direct your anger towards problems -- not people; to focus your energies on answers -- not excuses."
William Arthur Ward

"He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else."
Benjamin Franklin US author, diplomat, inventor, physicist, politician, & printer (1706 - 1790)

"Ninety-nine percent of all failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses."
George Washington Carver US horticulturist (1864 - 1943)

I think I the majority of my day was spent battling excuses. I started to write about what seemed like a never ending list of excuses that people gave me, why problems could not be solved, but after I read it over it did not seem very interesting at all and it kind of sounding like I was complaining too much so I cut it out. I will just say this, if some people could convert their time and energy that they use to come up with all of their excuses and direct it towards finding solutions to their problems then a lot more progress would get done. Similarly, I believe that the world is divided into two types of people, the No People and the Yes People. Here is how you can tell which one you are. If someone comes up to you and tells you about a problem, and while they are explaining their problem to you you start thinking of reasons why it can not be solved, then you are probably a No Person. I encounter a lot of No People in the hospital.

I walked into the ER and there was a patient lying on one of the beds. I asked the ER doctor what was wrong with her. He said that she had urticaria which meant that she had a rash all over her body. I watched the nurse administer some medication. With his dirty hands he injected calcium gluconate directly into the patient's vein. He then threw the syringe and the uncapped needle into the trash. I tell you all of this detail because I want to illustrate what kind of challange I am facing. Just about every step of the care that was given to this patient was done incorrectly (including the medication that was given). The nurse did not wash his hands before he gave the injection. He did not wear gloves when he injected the medication. He did not wipe the patient's skin with alcohol. He should not have injected the medication directly into the vein with a needle. He should not have throw the needle away in the trash. Most importantly, he should not have ever given calcium gluconate in the first place. It does not help with urticaria.

I told the nurse that it is very important that he washes his hands between patients. I shook his hand and then I showed him my hand and I said, "You see, I now have germs on my hand. I need to wash my hands." I then went to the sink and washed my hands. His reply to me was, "I am an old man. I can not was my hands with cold water."

We passed by some new signs on the way home. I am not sure what they mean.

We picked up our colleagues at the Serena Hotel. They put together a disaster preparedness conference. The Serena Hotel is the nicest hotel in all of Kabul. I thought that it was an interesting contrast showing the nicest hotel of Kabul along with the slideshow up top.

Here is another example of progress that not all people get to enjoy. It is a billboard of an upcoming condo or hotel that is being built. I can guarantee that the average citizen will not be able to afford to live there. Another downside of progress is that the cost of living increases for the poor. Let's just hope that the poor does not get left behind in the dust all of the progress that is taking place.

Stay tuned. I will have a brand new slideshow tomorrow. Thanks for reading.


Nyn said...

Where do these doctors go to get their training? When basic care and cleanliness is ignored?

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