Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Welcome to the Jungle!

I can't say where I am right now, but let me assure you it is deep in the jungle in the Philippines. I have never seen anything like this place and I don't even know where I will start in describing it. Many pics soon to follow once I get back. I can assure you our security is fantastic(ie don't worry about me), but it is surreal to be wearing body armour and sitting in Humvees with 50cals to get to the places we are staying. We will be taking a zodiac boat to get into our next mission. The heat and mosquitoes are atrocious out here. Why would any insurgents want to live out here! I guess that's why they are here though. I will try to keep you posted over the next few days as we do 3 more medical missions. After that we are out of here and back to the ship. I'll have tons of pics to upload when I get back.

PS Jen, I couldn't email you because AOL was down, but I love you :)

Thursday, June 21, 2007


We just finished our 4th and final mission here on this island today and it was a great success. We saw over 400 medical patients and performed about 20 surgeries. One guy had a cyst about the size of a baseball on his knee that I removed. He said it had been there for 15 years and he was thrilled to finally have it gone. We will be moving on to another island very soon to do another MEDCAP. We still haven't figured out exactly how we are going to fly there since the original aircraft that we were going to take was struck by lightning :) oops.

The Filipino food is still good, but rice and chicken at every meal does get old quickly. Taking my anti-malaria pills every day gets old too, but I really don't want malaria so it is a no-brainer. It has been much safer than I expected here. We do have body armour and helmets, but we don't wear it unless there is a security issue which there hasn't been yet. The Army is again doing a fantastic job protecting us. They didn't want us to have 9mm guns on us and I feel safe not having one.

Oh and did I mention how much I hate the camelback water filters. Mine broke and my 3L camelback spilled in my backpack getting my palm and book soaked. Thanks filter!

Be sure to check out my good bud, Huy Tran's blog at http://www.httran.blogspot.com/ This guy is surviving out in the desert now and we all appreciate his service out there.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Some Pics of our MEDCAP medical missions

Medical missions

We started our MEDCAPS (medical missions) 3 days ago. We had 3 missions in a row and finally a little break before our next one. We have been seeing anywhere from 400-800 patients a day at different sites. It has been a great experience helping out. We have been providing basic medical care, performing minor surgeries, and dental care. The patients have been very appreciative even if all we are giving them is Tylenol. They seem extremely appreciative of us taking off small cysts and lesions on their bodies. We basically work from about 8am until 4pm with a small break and see as many patients as possible. Some of the diseases we are seeing you only see in a textbook. The little girl in the picture above burned her leg on a motorcycle exhaust pipe and she walked to the school be herself to get care. We had to clean up her wound and wrap it up. She smiled the entire procedure even though I knew she was in pain. We have 5 more missions to do and we will be going to other islands. More to come!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Playing Army in the Philippines

Well, I have successfully been dropped off in the Philippines with the Army. So far it is going fantastically better than expected. We had been told we would be sleeping in tents, with mosquito nets, permethrin treated uniforms, taking malaria pills, and having insurgents around us. This was my expectation going into this, so when we landed at an airport and then were showed to our air conditioned barracks, I was surprised. The Filipino food is awesome and the locals are very friendly. The barracks are on an army base and we are sharing it with the Philippine army. We will be here the next 8-9 days and we will be performing 4 medical missions. The missions will last from 0600-1600 and will be crazy non-stop. The goal will be to see 500-1000 patients a day with 4 docs, 2 nurses, and some corpsman. We will be doing basic sick call and doing minor procedures which I am looking forward to doing. I didn't bring my thumb drive or camera due to 'going to the jungle' , but now I wish I did. The other doc I'm with did so I'll be sure to send lots of pics once we get back. After we are here for 8 days, then we move on to the jungle environments. We will be going to 2 other islands for a total of 18 days out here. I will try to post one more time before we move on. I never thought I would say this, but the Army rocks!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Here is a shot of us flying next to the ship yesterday. It was a pretty fun flight. We towed a cable out the back into the water and dragged it for practice in locating mines. As you can see there isn't much else out here besides water and us. No bird strikes out here. I'll be going on another flight in a few days and this time I will get to fire the 50cal out the back. One of the aircrewman is giving me 200 of his rounds to fire as long as I take a skin tag off of him. :) We should hopefully be pulling in somewhere soon. We will be picking up even more medical personnel which is crazy since we already have plenty. I wish I had brought a bathrobe for the showers since it sucks to wear my dirty clothes in there and back out. I will pick one up soon. They sell a fancy USS Peleliu one in the ship store. So far I've been surprisingly busy here given the fact that I haven't seen too many patients. We have meetings, I have to tend to the pilots, I fly, and I help medical sort out tablets. Plus I have been going to the gym which leaves very little time to actually read, in particular when there are poker games to be played and video games :) Well I will send pics soon from our upcoming travels...stay tuned!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Somewhere further in the Pacific...

Well we are still sailing somewhere out in the Ocean and loving it. I work a few hours in the morning seeing patients, then go to lunch, then usually read or watch TV(Yes we have TV including HBO) I usually go to the gym and shower in a fantastically large shower area( very sarcastic). Next is dinner, followed by more movies/reading/laundry/____ fill in the blank with any other boring activity. Overall I can't complain and it is fun hanging out. Once we get to our destinations, we will have a lot of work to do, so I guess I should enjoy the break now. Pics coming soon..stay tuned!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Somewhere in the Pacific...

Well, I have been on board for a few days now and am just getting settled back into ship life. It is extremely hot on the ship, especially when the AC is broken. I hope they fix it now that it is in the 90s and very humid outside. The food has been good so far. There are at least 15 docs on board probably 15-20 nurses on board. Most of us are twiddling our thumbs, but it is promising to get extremely busy in a few weeks. The ship doesn't have my credentialing paperwork and they don't want me seeing patients until I get that here...Crazy! Oh well I guess i won't help out then :) We started flying today, but I am going to hold off on flying until we are actually going somewhere rather than just taking off/landing on the ship. Well we will be sailing for awhile. I will touch back soon!