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

Ferment The Humors

"Exercise ferments the humors, casts them into their proper channels, throws off redundancies, and helps nature in those secret distributions, without which the body cannot subsist in its vigor, nor the soul act with cheerfulness."
Joseph Addison, The Spectator, July 12, 1711English essayist, poet, & politician (1672 - 1719)

"A good exercise for the heart is to bend down and help another up."

"The need of exercise is a modern superstition, invented by people who ate too much and had nothing to think about."
George SantayanaUS (Spanish-born) philosopher (1863 - 1952)

I spent a lot of time in the OB department because they expect to have a couple of deliveries this weekend. I learned some very interesting information about the OB care that I thought I would share. The doctors and midwives that I am working with have been delivering babies for over 30 years. Women are never given any pain medication during deliveries (including epidurals). They seemed a little confused why I would even ask about it. The more I thought about it the more I was convinced that it was not a good idea to push the issue. When you give a laboring mother pain medication, like morphine, it can occasionally effect the baby. Since they have no way of monitoring the status of the baby, and they will probably end up giving too much of the pain medicine, I decided that it was probably better if they kept the status quo going. Not to mention, they really do not have a way to resuscitate a baby if something were to go wrong.

They also do not believe in braking the bag that holds in the amniotic fluid. In the states we sometimes break it to help speed the delivery. The doctors were very adamant that it should never be done. They gave somewhat of a strange reason for it, something about how the placenta will go up through the diaphragm and the baby will not be able to breath. It was another case where they were probably better off not doing it because, again, they do not have any way of monitoring the baby and they may end up doing more harm in the process.

Another big difference is the length of time a women stays in the hospital. I have been told that they are discharged only 3 hours after the baby is born. I bet HMOs would love to set up shop over here. When I was pushing for there to be 2 beds in the maternity ward for the mothers to sleep in over night the head physician looked at me with a stern face. I knew that I was about to get a talking to. He said to me, "I have been practicing in this hospital for 31 years. We have never had beds in the maternity department before." I tend to pick my battles and this was one that I felt pretty adamant about. Infant and maternal mortality is pretty dismal in Afghanistan and this 3 hour discharge may be part of the reason. It only took 20 minutes to change 31 years habit.

Some of their practices were similar to the way we do things, we both perform episiotomies and we both also encourage breastfeeding.

LtCol Johnson relayed a funny story to me. He told of how the Physical Therapist provided him with a list of things that he needed. This was the same person that has the UV tunnel that is suppose to help heal injuries. LtCol Johnson was excited to finally receive a list requesting supplies that was generated through the proper channels. Could he be asking for heating pads? Elastic bands? Maybe some orthotic devices or braces? Here was his list:

1. A computer
2. Some rugs
3. Tennis shoes

He asked the Physical Therapist why he needed the tennis shoes and he said so his patients could run on the treadmill. When he asked him what size shoes he needed his reply was, "Small, medium, and large." It could be like a bowling alley. You could turn in your slippers for tennis shoes to help ferment the humors.

When we got back to our base we went to a going-away celebration for our Wolf Pack friends. It was held at the Ministry of Defense. We enjoyed naan, kabobs, and rice. The Wolf Pack were the ones that taught us how to do our convoys. We will try and pass the information on to the group that replaces us.

Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

brat said...

Thank you. Thank you from my heart for ALL that you do...