Retirement Countdown

Friday, May 29, 2009

Catch up!



This is going to be a long one! 10 paydays left! woohoo. Day 4 of not smoking, hopefully many to follow. All of the pics I'm posting here were taken in Bagram, Afghanistan on the way to Kandahar, I'll update with pics from here on the next entry on next Sunday. The following are some things I wrote about when I didn’t have my own access to the internet. Now that I do, I’ll have plenty of time to update this blog frequently. I'm actually sitting in the Dutch restaurant called "Echos" where you can purchase internet access while you eat Dutch Frikadel on a roll, I'm getting internationalized now! If that's actually a word, if it isn't I'll have it added to Websters! haha. So far to date our surgical team, the Danish team, has done 27 surgeries. Some have been very interesting. The longest day has been 19 hours straight in the OR, but we've been steady more than insanely busy so far but we know the long days are coming. I hope everyone is doing great. Shayna is now officially done with school, her Bachelors Degree is complete and she starts her Masters studies this summer, how can someone so smart end up with me? haha. Well that's about it for now, I'll also be adding pics to the gallery so check them out. Take care, I love and miss you Shayna, and lots of love to everyone else! haha.
Dave

Rolig…….Rolig……Rolig!
I’m writing this on 18 May 09, we’re still waiting on yet another move into our new barracks where we will have internet access and the chance to update the blog. The trip out here was one that really tested one’s patience. We ended up spending a total of 2 weeks waiting in Kuwait. Our mission was cancelled to Farah so we were sitting in Kuwait being told that we were either going home, going to Bastien or going to Kandahar, obviously we got the latter of the three. We were very happy to finally know where we were going but the test of patience didn’t stop there. We flew to Bagram, Afghanistan where we were only supposed to be waiting for a day and then off to Kandahar, that sounded way too simple and we were prepared for the worst. We went to the airfield with all of our gear and were met by three guys, out of our total of 6, that were supposed to leave 4 hours earlier for Bastien through Kandahar. Come to find out they were bumped on to our flight, which made us happy because we got pretty close with the guys, that was until we found out that they were assigned to take our seats, rolig, rolig, rolig! Rolig is the Danish word for patience! To make a long story short we ended up spending the next six days waiting on a flight to Kandahar, all the while staying in transient tents that held 100 personnel (see video below). Now I know for a fact that I can survive in a homeless shelter or a natural disaster tent. Haha. I have nothing to complain about being stationed in Kandahar, the living quarters are fantastic and the Canadians, Dutch,
Kiwis and Danish are really fun to work with, it’s a great group. So far I’ve been part of 5 surgeries, all of which were ANA (Afghan National Army) personnel plus one US Soldier that was in for an elective surgery. Some of the cases have been a GSW (gun shot wound) to the face, a revision of a foot amputation, a dressing change to a open head wound including exposed brain tissue, a burn case and several more. In the Navy an Officer working as a perioperative nurse only circulates the cases and a scrub technician does all of the scrubbing, or working in the OR field directly with the surgeon. Upon arrival to the OR here I was told by the Canadians that I would be scrubbing, granted I’ve watched many surgical procedures over the last 4 years, but I’ve never scrubbed. I’ve scrubbed 2 of the previous 5 cases with no problem, at least I don’t think there has been a problem, the surgeons were probably calling me an idiot in Danish! It’s very interesting seeing all of the countries that are represented at this camp, here are a few; Holland, Estonia, Denmark, Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Czechoslovakia, France, Scotland and obviously Afghanistan! It’s relatively safe here, they have had some rocket attacks in the past, but they have been very sparse. I guess that the ammunition that they are using is really old, so the chances of one going off are very little and they are just taking pot shots at us, no aiming involved. We have been wearing our body armor for the past couple of days, I guess the threat level is up right now but we know very little. I’ve got our address if any of you are interested in sending anything. The base I’m at now has several exchange shops so all of the basic needs are met, but here it is anyways:
LT David Davis
Task Force Med South
APO AE 09355
Well that about brings everything up to speed up to the 18th of May, only 11 paydays left in this “beautiful” land! Woohoo. Shayna I love and miss you very much, hello and take care to everyone else.

Another update
It’s now 26 May. Yesterday was a long one, 19 hours in the OR, which brings our surgical teams total to 20 surgeries. The only good thing about that is that the days have been flying by. So far we’ve worked on everything from an open appendectomy to massive face and brain trauma. I’ve been telling people that our location shouldn’t be called the MMU (Multinational Medical Unit), it should be called the Multinational Craniotomy Unit! We have the only Neuro Surgeon in Afghanistan, and the forces are keeping him busy. He is a great guy, he has a long white beard and people say that he is Santa Claus when he isn’t a British Neuro Surgeon! I asked him if it was true and he said that he does take up some side work in the winter. Haha. I’ve been running on a treadmill 6 miles or so every other day, which is good for the stress and to keep me from coming back to Shayna looking like a whale. Shayna asked me not to come back looking like I did from Iraq, I left for Ramadi 155 pounds and came back home at 173, and believe me it wasn’t muscle. So with help from Shayna and her diet plans, I’ve now lost 11 pounds by eating smaller portions, sweating my you know what off and by running. I’m allowed one cheat day for ice cream. Last week I did great by running and eating correctly just waiting for Sunday, which is now Sundae since I eat ice cream that day. I walked up to the place that has soft serve and the machine was broken, that was not a good thing! Well there’s always next Sundae! I love and miss you Shayna, everyone else take care.
And another...
It’s now the 28th of May at 2030 (8:30 PM) and I’m in the new barracks. Wow! It’s better than all of the barracks I’ve ever lived in, I feel guilty sleeping in here while most of the other nations are in tents, not that guilty though! Haha. It certainly beats the heck out of the wooden box 4 of us stayed in while we were in Ramadi. Sorry Carl! Haha. Obviously I don’t have a solid internet connection yet either, the people that run the barracks say that it’s coming soon, so far Afghanistan “soon” is much slower than American “soon”, must be because we are on the other side of the globe! I decided to stop smoking yesterday, days one and two went fine, hopefully I’ll be able to hold out. We are running a 10K race this weekend for the Canadian Air Force, should be a lot of fun, at least something more to write about. So far our surgical team is up to 23 cases, I’m predicting a total of 360 when it’s all said and done, we’ll see how close I am later on. As always I love and miss you very much Shayna, everyone else take care and I love you also. Haha.

video

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Quickie!

Well I'm in Kandahar, Afghanistan now and have been since 16 MAY. I have limited internet access right now so I haven't been updating the blog as much as I'd like to. I will be moving to a new living area in a week or so that will have internet access and I'll be updating promptly. I have a couple of articles that have been written but no way to post to the blog. It will be catch up time soon! We have seen some massive injuries come through our OR. We are the only facility in Afghanistan with a Neuro Surgeon, so we get many head traumas. I'll write more later, but all is safe and well. I love and miss you very much Shayna, everyone else take care.
Dave

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

514 Steps

When you want to make a phone call you probably just reach for your cell phone or your wireless home phone. When I want to make a call I have to take 514 steps to reach a phone. Believe me I’m not complaining, being able to call Shayna every day is fantastic. Yes, I’m very bored, if you can‘t tell by the fact I‘m counting steps! Haha. We have been sitting in Kuwait for 10 days now wondering what the heck is going on. We received some information today at least. The word is that we will be going to Kandahar or Bastien, don’t know when or how but we know we may be going to one of those two places. The 6 of us that are stranded here on the island of misfit toys are still very psyched to go, but the waiting does take a little toll on your motivation. Our buddies that left for Afghanistan a couple of days ago were met with rain, mud and a fallen soldier ceremony, I’m glad we missed that evolution. Things always work out though, it looks like Farah is heating up, the Police Chief was assassinated and according to the Stars and Stripes a US air strike killed 30 civilians and the locals are in an uproar. Probably not a good place to be right now! So our day consists of getting up to the sounds of the bugle call at 0600, going to eat breakfast, going to the phone center to call Shayna, let my food digest and then hit the treadmill at 0900, shower, relax, go eat lunch at 1115, relax, go eat dinner at 1800, call Shayna, relax, read and then sleep. That pretty much covers my day, at least I’m not getting shot at! That’s about it for today I’ll write more as we find out more info. Shayna I miss and love you very much, everyone else take care!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Tattoine


Hello Everyone. I'm now in Kuwait and have been here since 26 APR, not as bad as I thought it would be! We are in 9 man tents, vice the 300 man tents I was expecting. It's very hot but tolerable. We have been doing some training but basically just climatizing. The picture is of me standing at the Udari range, I called the blog entry "Tattoine" for all of you Star Wars fans out there. I was just waiting for C3PO and R2D2 to come over the sand dunes! The training was very interesting, of course we started with some good ol' shooting in 110 degrees wearing the full body armor and then off to convoy training. We drove through a 17 Km course that was laden with IEDs (improvised explosive devices), not live IEDs! We had an 8 vehicle convoy, I was in the first vehicle, aka target! haha. We did a good job overall, only "blown up" twice. I have new found respect for the Soldiers, Sailors and Marines that do this every day, with the added pressure of the well hidden IEDs. The only bad thing about the Udari range was the fact that we didn't have showers or running water, ate MREs (meals ready to eat) for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We had a sand storm the first night out there, wow! It actually hurt when the sand hit your skin, nothing like a free dermabrasion! We also slept on the floor of the buildings where our classes were taught. When we returned back to Camp Virginia, Kuwait we were actually happy to see our cots and our showers, when before there were some people complaining about the cots and showers! Well we will be leaving here in a couple of days for our next destination, can't wait to see what's in store for us there. The good thing is that we'll be given the official word of where we will be ending up, nothing like the unknown to make things a little exciting! Hopefully I'll be able to do another entry next weekend, if not, I'm still very safe and healthy. Shayna I miss and love you very much, everyone else take care and I'll be writing soon.