I am back on my normal schedule of trying to post on each Friday, so it has only been 5 days since my last blog entry. I didn’t post any new pics last time and I don’t have any for this entry.
My trip to NDS this week went well. I had the NMH Chief OT Nurse and another OT Nurse meet me at NDS. We met with the NDS OT Nurses and discussed cross-training between facilities. It was decided that the NDS nurses would travel to NMH. Hopefully, we can get this started soon. One NDS OT Nurse should come to NMH for a 2 week period. It will take the first few days to get all the admin completed so the NDS nurses can get onto the NMH campus. Then, they will spend 8 to 10 days training with the NMH nurses and myself. It should work out well.
The rest of the week was regular mentoring at NMH. Getting the medical consumables continues to be one of my hardest tasks. Everyday, we run out of something else. We have a special emergency fund of money we can use to purchase items for the ANA. We get a small cash allowance each month. This week was the first time we were actually able to draw the funds. I have used a portion of the cash to purchase disposable surgical masks and hats. One of our interpreters also has a business. He goes into the local bazaar to purchase the masks and hats for us. I had him get 3000 masks and hats, which should last us three months. I hope our regular shipment gets here by then. I ordered 9000 masks and hats the first week of Aug and I am still waiting to receive them. It took many weeks just to get through the American chain of command to be approved and funded. Once funded, a contract is awarded to a local vendor who then gets consumables and delivers them to us. If they are buying the consumables from the US, it can take another 6 weeks with shipping.
Thursday, started out as a regular day of mentoring. After I completed the Nurses Morning Meeting, I went outside to receive the surgical masks. That’s when a SVBIED exploded near the Indian Embassy and the Afghan Ministry of Interior. We made preparations at NMH for a mass causality, but we didn’t receive any patients. The explosion was several miles from NMH (near NDS hospital) and the wounded went to local hospitals in the area. The last count I heard was 17 dead and close to 80 wounded. The Taliban have claimed responsibility.
Today, jumaa, was another trip to Phoenix for more vehicle maintenance. This time it was for the radios in the humvees. I ran into the Alabama National Guardsmen again who I trained with at Fort Riley. They are still waiting for a new mission. I was lead driver again. That has been my spot lately. Whereas Jumaa is the only day off for the Afghans, traffic is light in the morning, but picks up later in the day. Nothing like driving down a one lane road in a humvee with vehicles on each side of me (the road is slightly wide enough for one vehicle, but the Afghans will drive 3 wide). It is even better when traffic is backed up so we sit there with a vehicle on each side of us… heading towards a Police checkpoint that only 1 vehicle can get through at a time. There are no stop signs at intersections either. Next time I am out on the road, I will see if we can get some pictures of the traffic. We also travel through traffic circles. This is where we really need to pay attention. Most of the local drivers won’t even slow down as they approach the circle so we need to watch each road that comes into the circle to see what the drivers are going to do. It is a unique way to drive. It should be interesting when I return driving stateside again. I am sure it will take me some time to get used stop signs and traffic lights again, let alone not cruising in an up-armored humvee…