Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Help Has Arrived...

Well, this week we finally received two of our three new physicians, Dr. Andy Altman and Dr. Rod McPhee. and an old friend of mine, Colonel David Obanion who is our new Chief of Dental Services. Andy is a family practice physician working our of Tennessee, Rod is an internist and allergist from Detroit, and Dave is from the Great Hoosier State. I have had the pleasure of serving with Col. Obanion for ten years or more and he has been a great influence on me as I came up the officer ranks. I met him when I was a relatively new lieutenant and he and I have worked together on and off since then. I am glad to have him on board and look forward to working with him on this tour.

Dr. Altman and Dr. McPhee have jumped right in and started working. We didn't give them much of an opportunity to get used to the environment. I placed them on the schedule the second day they arrived and they have really been an asset. We are going to do well with them as a part of our team and we look forward to their insight and guidance and partnership. I will place photos of our new team here soon.

Well, we have finally dried up our area. Our maintenance NCO's were able to locate a few pumps and they pumped out the water for us. However, it started to rain again today, so we may have to do this all over again.

We finally were able to hook all of the officers up to the internet. Mike has been able to resume his teaching duties at Butler. I have been amazed at his persistence. In Kuwait, we were having some issues and Mike was actually in a bunker recording a physiology lecture. Now, that's devotion.

Our patient load has been quite heavy. We have been seeing a lot of orthopedic injuries and weirdly enough a fair share of colitis. Mostly it is the nationals who have colitis but when one of them comes in with abdominal pain we do a CT scan and sure enough almost all of them have some type of ulcerative colitis or regular run of the mill colitis. I am not sure why that is as most of these guys eat the same foods that we do. Perhaps they are not as accustomed to our diet as we may assume.

Our vaccination section is doing amazing business. Sgt. Edwards our NCO of our vaccination section reported her team has given over 1000 vaccinations this week alone. I had a visit from the OIC of the Air Force clinic today. He is taking over just as I am, so we got together to hammer out duties. We are seeing some Air Force troops and he is seeing some of our Army guys so we will need to track eachother's people and share our stats for our monthy medical assets meeting with the hospital commander. Anyway, he said that his clinic has given over 4000 vaccinations in the last two weeks or so. Mostly, we and they are giving the flu vaccine, but we have the other vaccines like anthrax, MMR, hepatitis, etc... So, we are staying busy.

I think we are getting into a routine, finally. I have arranged weekly meetings with my provider staff and with the shift leaders and I think we will finally hammer out a nice consistent schedule for our medics.

I have been most impressed with the lengths that the military goes to take care of not only its military troops but the local working population. Make no doubt about it. The military is using your tax dollars to do good work here. You will never see the successes here but they are plenty. There is two ways in which you can influence a country. One is through dominance and dictatorship which leads to resistance and rebellion; and the other is through winning the hearts and mind of the people and encouraging and empowering them to handle their own affairs. The military has chosen the latter. It takes time but it is working. It is clear that the Iraqi people want peace as well. But it is important to understand that they have not had the opportunity to have representative democracy for at least two generations. So, it will take time for them to step up and do those things that took our country years to accomplish when we were starting out.

I would like to say that I have been blessed by something that I wasn't expecting. I have been praying earnestly that the Lord would show me my purpose here. He has been faithful in responding. I have been learning the value of humility and of prayer. Specifically the value of praying for others. I have been taking a great deal of time to identify people with needs that I can pray for and I have been so blessed by that. I have become close to the people that I work with and I envision them not as they are now, but what they would be like if God were to save them and work in their life. With that in mind, I have been eager to pray for their salvation. It would be so neat to have the Lord move this company of soldiers toward a closer relationship with Him.

I have found that the Lord is working more in my life when I stop focusing on myself and pray for others. It is an amazing thing, but I have been so blessed by this simple revelation. I often wonder how many praying servants quietly prayed for me even when I was far from God. I am thankful for their faith and for their relationship with Jesus.

Well, I will end tonight. I want to get a Medical Minute up tonight. I hope you are well and thank you so much for keeping up with me on my adventure.

God Bless,


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