Well, it seems that I'm turning into quite a slug. I no longer wake at the crack of dawn, mysteriously, wondering where I am. I will sleep hard and deep until that alarm gets me up. I'm still not back to work, but I've made all the arrangements to have things up and running when I get back.
I've been getting the kids up and ready for school most mornings, and it is a lot of work! Today I was nearly foiled by a lost shoe, but we were able to locate an old pair of red Chuck Taylors. It's tougher than getting an army marching in the morning! It is also nice to have calm quiet lunches with M. while the boys are at school.
I received some very happy news from my friends back at the hospital. We had been treating an Iraqi girl named S. who had developed an abnormal blood vessel in her neck from a gunshot wound years ago. Vascular Surgeon M. and Radiologist B. worked intensely to correct it using minimally invasive techniques. As Radiologist B. and I travelled home together, we wondered what would become of S. and how she would recover. I've delayed in reporting this a few days to allow the family a safe passage home, but I'm happy to report that S. had an excellent recovery and shouldn't be bothered by that abnormal vessel anymore. Perhaps most importantly, after a few days recovering from the stress of surgery and anesthetics, she was up at the Wii video game again, owning anyone who challenged her to bowling.
It is so easy to come home and return to loved ones and familiar surroundings. Still, I can't help but leave a small part of myself behind. There is no way to treat the Iraqis and work side by side with the team at the hospital and not leave a small part of my heart behind. Now the people I have contacted are individuals to me, and my fate will always be tied up with their future well being in a small way. The desire for things to improve in Iraq is very personal, both for troops who are doing the best job they can in the face of danger, but also for the Iraqis striving for a safe home for their children.
I was contacted concerning an upcoming documentary that will be shown on HBO 29 JAN called Baghdad Hospital, Inside the Red Zone. It is about the experiences of doctors and patients in one of Iraq's civilian hospitals. As much as we had correspondence with Iraqi doctors concerning patients we shared, I never had the opportunity to visit an Iraqi hospital. With the terrible dangers outside of our protected nest in Balad, I'm glad for that. But it does make me eager to see a view of their world.