Sunday, July 12, 2009

Doctor, the Nurses are striking!

Yes, they're very attractive, but that's not important right now. We've got a surgery to do!

Okay I apologize. There may be some medical term for the constitutional inability to resist a good straight line. If not, maybe I could get it named after me...Shapira's syndrome. Hmmm, not bad.

Have I mentioned that the EMF's van resembles nothing so much as "The Mystery Machine" from old Scooby Doo cartoons? Well, there we were, bombing down the Somali road en route to General Peltier hospital to assist with evacuating a chronic subdural hematoma, and then a possible gastrectomy for gastric outlet obstruction of unknown etiology. Given the dearth of diagnostic technology - the countries' only CT scanner is currently broken - surgical exploration of the Djiboutian patient population is like a box of chocolates. Never sure what you'll get, to quote famous medical expert Forrest Gump. The cell phone queeped (Jinkies!) and Bill-the-surgeon answered, turning to us a moment later to say that surgery was on hold due to a nursing strike. Well, actually he said "The nurses are striking." So I said...well you get the picture. We'll try again on Monday.

Besides the doctors at Bouffard (french) and Peltier (djiboutian), there are a couple of French flight surgeons who work at the clinic at the French Foreign Legion base, right across the airport from us. They are nice folks, one chap is from Aix-en-Provence and the other from northern France. They are flight surgeons by training, and fill a sort of emergency medicine/family practice role for their posts. Remember that the French are here for 2 to 3 years at a time, and bring wives and children along to experience la vie djiboutienne. The French clinic thus has a significant pediatric and limited OB/GYN role which we by and large avoid on this side of the runway.

Anyway, Christophe, the northerner and his wife Muriel were headed home for a month's vacation in France, and we got together with them and Christophe's provencal colleague at a nice restaurant en route to the airport last night to make sure that they were properly fed and wined prior to the 7 hour midnight Air France flight to Paris. We went to Restaurant Bel Air, and were seated in their outdoor courtyard for yet another superb franco/ethiopian meal. I had a greek salad with the local feta (hey, all those goats must be good for something), and then grilled grouper (merou in french), and quite tolerable rose, which held up well on the addition of ice. We communicated by means of smiles, gestures and mutual assaults on each other's native tongues. On the whole, I'd say English came out of it better than French. Sigh. Back to Rosetta Stone. Anyway it was a delightful evening.

I'm using Hal Higdon's Half Marathon Training program, and ran the prescribed 7 miles this morning. My hope is to finish both his "novice" and "intermediate" regimens prior to getting back home, with a view toward attempting the Half Marathon Triple Crown in San Diego in 2010. Be that as it may, allow me to observe that even with ESPN on the big screen, and lots of tunes in my iPod, 7 miles is long way to go on a treadmill. I don't think I could last the distance outside however...hopefully come fall it will be a bit more bearable on the outdoor track. Anyway, today's picture shows the Gym - it's the large cement circus-tent shaped structure on the right - and looking past it the dust obscuring the outlines of the eastern camp.

First Netflix DVDs arrived last week, and having watched "The Wrestler" on Friday night, I believe that here in CLU 17 there'll be a Sunday matinee showing of "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button". As always, movie, music and book suggestions gratefully accepted.

And that's a wrap!

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