Retirement Countdown

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Well it’s official, we had the busiest month EVER recorded at the Role 3 hospital in Kandahar during the month of July! It’s pretty exciting being a part of that milestone. I asked those in charge if we get a t-shirt or something, but they just ignored me! Haha. If we keep going the way we have been during the month of August the previously set record will once again be shattered. Our shift is basically every other day, with being on call on your “off” days, so during July I calculated how many hours were spent at Role 3, here it is:

1st week of July: 57.5 hours in 4 days
2nd: 45 hours in 3 days
3rd: 56.5 hours in 4 days
4th: 45 hours in 3 days

It doesn’t seem like a lot of hours, that’s why I put the qualifier of working every other day. So needless to say we have been pretty tired, but we are doing some amazing surgeries in such a Spartan setting. We still are not beaten so, again, bring it on!

The first picture is of team NOODLES (NLD for Netherlands + US for the United States = NOODLES!) We are a really good surgical team. It’s nice to be able to draw from such a wide range of experiences to make the team work well together, there isn’t much that we are not able to do. Pictured from left to right is: Dr. Ralph De Wit (general/ortho surgeon), Carol Water drinker (OR nurse), Dr. Peter Keijzers (Anesthesiologist), Linda De Jager (OR nurse), Jere Tien (OR tech), myself (super nurse! Haha), Omar Cannich (CSR tech, we’ll miss you buddy!) and Martyn Van Steennis (nurse anesthetist). Jere and myself are the only US individuals, all the rest are Dutch. The second picture is of the thermometer we have outside of the room, and it definitely isn’t -50 degrees! It pretty much hits that temperature every afternoon, it’s really something when it’s windy! Just imagine sticking your head in the oven with a hair dryer on at full blast, that’s about the best analogy I can come up with, completely unbearable. I just feel for all the coalition soldiers out working in the heat every day, God bless them!

I weighed myself today, 3 AUG, and I’m down to 143 pounds, that’s 20 pounds lost in 4 months or so. Thanks to the diet and workout advice from my beautiful wife, heat in Afghanistan, and working out every other day when I can. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep it up once I’m home with all of the temptations of ice cream sandwiches, Cincinnati chili, etc.! haha. I weighed 135 pounds when I graduated high school.


2 AUG: 1. Bilateral fasciotomy extensions. 2. Exploratory lap, bilateral washout legs. 3. Washout and closure of multiple wounds to the right leg, skin graft to right hand. 4. Washout right leg. 5. Amputation left lower extremity. 6. Craniotomy. 7. Washout left leg.

4 AUG: 1. Washout and wound vac change. 2. Open reduction internal fixation zeugmatic fracture. 3. Craniotomy. 4. Washout and closure multiple wounds right hand. 5. Amputation left arm, amputation left foot, washout wound left leg, external fixation left femur, washout and packing of face trauma.

6 AUG: 1. Face washout and temporary closure, left arm irrigation and debridement, left leg irrigation and debridement. 2. Left foot amputation, right leg fasciotomy. 3. Exploratory lap, chest tube insertion. 4. Bilateral arm washouts, external fixation right arm, bilateral leg fasciotomies, right carpal tunnel release. 5. Hemi-laminectomy, decompression of spinal cord. 6. Removal of rectal abcess. 7. Thoracotomy. 8. Amputation of left arm, exploratory lap, abcess drainage, primary closure of ileum. 9. Amputation left lower leg, washout of face, repair of trach. 10. Washout neck wound, removal of bullet. 11. Washout of left arm.

8 AUG: 1. Right femoral nail, skin graft from left thigh to right thigh. 2. Irrigation and debridement right buttock. 3. Washout left lower leg amputation with wound vac placement, washout face. 4. Washout right lower extremity. 5. Exploratory lap, colonoscopy. 6. Washout right thigh.

Shayna I’m very lucky to have such a beautiful and patient wife, I love and miss you very much. Everyone else take care and I’ll see you soon.



  1. This is my first visit to your blog. I thank you and your wife for your service! I'll return to read more of your words!

  2. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 08/12/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.