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

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Potato Water

"Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. "
Groucho MarxUS comedian with Marx Brothers (1890 - 1977)

Today we had some really heavy traffic. I thought that I would include a few videos that I took during the traffic jams. The first one is of a group of kids that approached our car. I think that it is a good reflection of people's overall opinion of us being here. In my experience it has been overwhelmingly positive. Just about everyone returns a hello (or a salam) and a smile.

This other one is a beggar that sits down in the middle of the street. When you are in heavy traffic you are somewhat boxed in and it is challenging trying to avoid someone that is sitting on the ground almost in front of your car.

Today at the hospital I was able to get some quality teaching in. My favorite ER doctor was there. We were discussing an older lady that was there because she felt faint and was having abdominal pain. She had somewhat of a fast heart rate. We were trying to figure out what was wrong with her. I did not have an interpreter so I really could not ask very many questions or get a very good history. We went through her meds. She had 3 different anti-inflammatory pain medications and 2 different medications for her stomach. She was also having loose stools. When I asked what color her stools were the ER doctor pointed to her kid's shirt which was dark brown. I suspected that she had a bleeding ulcer so I recommended that she get sent to lab for some blood work.

It is funny because the ER doctor pretty much never does a physical exam. On the rare occasion that he does do one he usually finds something grossly abnormal and it usually ends up being a mass. I have already described the time when a lady, who happened to be wearing a burqa, came in with a headache. He felt behind her ear, and surprisingly, he proclaimed, "Oh, there's a mass!" Well a similar thing happened today when he put his hand on the patient's belly (over her cloths). He immediately proclaimed, "Oh, there is a mass!" It turned out that it was just a very large lipoma but it was still amusing how he is always able to find the masses.

I went with Dr. Peters upstairs to the inpatient ward. There is a new patient up there that is in pretty bad shape. He was injured from an explosion that happened 2 months ago. He breaths through a small tube in the front of his neck and he is partially paralyzed from the waist down. He is fed though a tube that goes directly into his stomach. Of course, his family does all of the nursing care. I spoke with his brother and I asked him what type of food he feeds his brother through the stomach tube. He said, "Water and juice." I then said, "No, what type of food do you give him?" He looked at me kind of confused. I repeated, "He has to get some kind of food." His brother replied that he gets the water from boiled potatoes. We really need to see what we can do about getting our patients some better nutrition. The problem is Afghan people pretty much eat the same thing everyday- naan, rice, and maybe some potatoes and onions with the occasional lamb stew or kabob. I imagine that it would be difficult for an average family to find food that would be appropriate to give through a feeding tube.

LtCol Johnson just called me to see if I was OK. He heard a loud explosion. It turns out that it just happened at the Serena Hotel. This is from Google news.

Explosion goes off at luxury Kabul hotel Staff and agencies14 January, 2008By AMIR SHAH, Associated Press Writer 3 minutes ago KABUL, Afghanistan -

An explosion and several rounds of gunfire went off Monday at a luxury hotel frequented by foreigners, reverberating throughout Kabul, police said. An American citizen inside the hotel said she saw a body she believed to be dead and pools of blood in the lobby. Mohammad Arif, a police officer, confirmed the explosion at the Serena. Ambulances and U.S. troops rushed to the hotel after the 6:12 p.m. explosion. The Serena is newly built luxury hotel frequently used by foreign embassies for meetings, parties and dinners. The nicest hotel in the city, visiting Westerners often stay or eat dinner there. Valentino described an explosion faraway, then gunfire, another distant explosion followed by a large explosion very close — all within a "couple of minutes."

We were just there a few days ago. I blogged about it and posted some pictures. It is amazing just how quickly news gets to the internet. You can hear an explosion and then a few minutes later you can search for it on Google news to learn what it was about. If you look at the story you can see that it says 3 minutes ago. We are living in an amazing world.

Thanks for reading.

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