Thursday, July 26, 2007

Liberty in Vietnam

Well I ended up having a pretty good time while on liberty in Vietnam. It was good to finally get free time away from the medcap missions. The top picture is of Matt and I at the Citadel. It was a large temple, but unfortunately we were not able to take pictures inside.

We were able to go out on a small boat one day and they had traditional Vietnamese music and dancers while we sailed.

The next pic is of me coming back from our last medcap at sunset.

I don’t know what the structure is in the next picture, but I really liked the view on the other side.

Of course I had to get a picture of me in my whites. We were required to wear them to get to the hotel. I spent one night ashore at the Sandy Beach Resort in Danang. It was fantastic with good food, service, a pool, volleyball, and a beach. It was a very fun 2 day stay there.

Overall, Vietnam was fun and a wonderful experience. We just left and we are on our way to the next port. I’ll let you know when I get there. The next port is strictly a liberty port for a few days. It will be good to have, because it might be the last vacation for awhile since we will be getting really busy soon. I’ll update everyone when we pull into port in a few days.


Monday, July 16, 2007

Fillin' in the gaps

These are a random assortment of pics that I took over the past few weeks. The top one is a picture of the volcano in Legaspi PI. It is still an active volcano. We flew a c-12 around it and they got close. It was a pretty amazing ride. I believe this volcano is one of the 7 wonders of the world, and we got to see it on a clear day.

The next pic is of a sunset over Danang, Vietnam.

The USS Peleliu is in the next one. I am on board an LCU and we are approaching the ship after coming back from Vietnam for the day

You will see the Vietnamese flag being flown at a school in the next pic. This is where I will be tomorrow doing a medcap mission.

Yes I am in body armour in the next one. This was what we had to wear to transit in Jolo to our last medcap there. It was hot as ____ (fill in the blank)
Next is a pic of me with some of our workers and some of the Filipino volunteers. They did an amazing job translating for us!
This was a pic of the entire group after we landed back in Legaspi after our 18 days in the jungle. We were so happy to get back to the ship and I never thought I would be saying that.
The next 2 are pictures of Danang. Everyone is on bikes! The last pic is the 60 that took us up to Legaspi on our final day in the PI. Boy were we happy to fly in that. Did you know they actually have air conditioning in them!
More pics and stories to come from Vietnam after we do our missions here. Take care and thanks again for all the comments. You'd be amazed at how much they help out!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Good Morning Vietnam!

Well, I made it to Danang Vietnam! Today we pulled into port several miles off the coast of Vietnam. I rode an LCU in and we pulled up and I stepped on land. This is the first time since the Vietnam War ended that a US Navy ship has pulled up and allowed military personnel ashore. It was actually a really cool experience. The people were extremely friendly and most were very happy to see us there. We drove around and surveyed our medcap sites. Danang seemed like a very busy and industrialized city. Everyone was either riding a bike or motorcycle. We saw very few cars and everyone wore hankerchiefs over their mouths and nose to cover up from the exhaust...or possibly avian flu...I heard they take that illness very seriously here. We didn't get the opportunity to eat or hang out at all. This port is technically a work port with our medcap missions, but they are letting us take some liberty. Uniforms are a major issue. They only want us to go out into town in our summer white uniforms. Absolutely no flightsuits, coveralls, or camouflage uniforms are allowed. Our aircraft were also required not only to not fly at all near vietnam, but they needed to be stored away so that they are less visable on the ship. All of our flags on our ships are at half mast and we are required to fly the Vietnamese flag on our tall mast. Wow, lots of restictions, but I guess I understand since relations in the past haven't been that good with Vietnam for obvious reasons. Overall I feel this will be a really good experience. I am looking forward to participating in the medcaps on the 17th and 19th. I will be taking a tour and hanging out 2 days so at least I will have a little bit of fun. It is so hot here! I was sweating so profusley today in the sun..ahhhh. We also watched Good Morning Vietnam yesterday which was pretty funny to see. Well here we are in Danang! I'll be sure to post some pics of Vietnam and the medcaps shortly. See ya!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Cotabato MEDCAPS

Here are some more pictures of our adventures in Cotabato, PI. This particular day we did numerous surgeries removing sebaceous cysts and lipomas. Everyone thinks that they have cancer, so removing a small cyst can really go a long way in helping them out. they would much rather have a scar than to have the mass. One woman in particular had a lipoma on her neck, and her family said she had a hard time finding a huspand because every man thought she had cancer and didn't want to marry her.

In one picture above I am helping the nurse learn how to inject lidocaine in to the face. She did a good job, but I had to correct her angle or else she may have punctured through into the cool points for that.

One woman had a cyst on her head, but was really scared of the pain. I assured her she wouldn't feel a thing and she agreed to the surgery. She felt no pain, we removed the cyst, and she was much happier.

I am curious to know what the infection rate out there was. We did our best to ensure clean instruments and a sterile working environment, but as you can see there were many challenges in front of us. we were basically doing surgery on school tables with limited resources. We only had one set of instruments that needed to be cleaned in between cases. I placed everybody on antibiotics just in case though.

There is a picture of us in zodiacs. That is how we got to 2 medcaps. It was so much fun!

Well we are finally done with all of our medcaps in the Philippines. We are just picking up some leftover gear and people now. After we pick them up, we will be moving over to Vietnam. it looks like I will be on 3 medcap missions in Vietnam which will be very interesting. More to come in the next few days...thanks for stopping by again.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

50 cal action!

Here is a video of me firing a 50cal out the side window on our 53 helicopter. We threw out barrels with sea dye so that we had a target. Not only did I hit the target while we flew by it, but apparently I destroyed it. Killa Doc is my new name, but don't worry I still enjoy healing more than shooting :)

Southern Philippines and Tawi Tawi

Alright, as promised here are a few pics of my journeys to the first several medcaps. I am still working on gathering up pics from Jolo. The first pic is of me in Taui-Taui, as we landed off from a 60 helo. The next pic is of our living arrangments there. Yes those tents were blasted hot! Our camp was on a tennis court and the locals would just look in through the fence all day long. I felt like I was a zoo animal on display :)
The 3rd pic is myself and Beth removing a lipoma from a guy's back that was the size of a fist. it was very deep to, and I know because I saw lung :) All the kids made smiles with their fingers so that is what I was doing in that pic.
The next pic myself and HM2 Jackson removed a sebaceous cyst the size of an orange from this guy's leg. It had been there 15 years and he was so happy to have it gone.
The bus in the next pic was public transportation and they would pack as many people as possible into these crazy looking bikes and buses
Yummy MREs(Meals Ready to Eat) . I had my share of these over the weeks. The next 2 pics were of us and all the happy kids at Taui taui. i couldn't believe how happy they were given their living conditions.
The next pic is of the thick jungle we flew over. so many peopl live on the water with their houses on stilts. Some people do it to avoid bugs, but most can't afford to buy land or they are forced to live in the water due to them being water gypsies. they will just throw down 4 poles and put up a house. these houses soon turn into small villages..crazy
Well I hope you enjoyed my pics. More to come. Right now I am back on the ship, safe and sound.