Traveling to the Middle East you shouldn’t expect anything to go according to plan. We needed to change our travel plans and we arrived in Israel at Midnight last night, and still needed to get to our hotel in the West Bank. Luckily there were minimal customs lines and no stops at check points. We arrived at Al Yasmeen Hotel in Nablus, West Bank at about 2:00am local time, but didn’t fall asleep until much later because of our jet lag.
Today was a brilliant day. Missed our 8:00am wake up, got breakfast at 9:30, and made it to the hospital by 10:00. The Palestinian people are very accommodating, Sawsan is one of the young social workers on the team. She met us as we wandered through the hospital and directed us to Dr. Ehab. Dr. Ehab is the vascular surgeon we will be working with for the week. He sent Mark with Sawsan and Hanna to begin seeing the clinic patients. He took me and I scrubbed in the rudimentary day surgery OR. It was simple, but really not that much different from a simple surgery center OR.
Back in the clinic, myself and Ehab joined Mark and the rest of the team. The day was filled full of venous access fistulas, to a case of Aortal occlusive disease complicated with a retroaortic renal vein and a horseshoe kidney, to other rare disease such as Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome. I really cannot begin to describe what the clinic was like. With the vast array of simple and rare vascular disease, and the intimate up front interactions with the Arab culture the day went by in a blur.
This city is so ancient. We spent the evening in the Bazaars and Mosques with Dr. Ehab. He grew up on one the local streets where his father owned the factory on that city block. Ehab knew the city and the people very well. The old bazaar was a whirlwind of sights, sounds and strong odors. Coffee being ground, and quilt and comforters being stuffed and strung by hand. And we even spent time walking around the old mosque in our stockings. Everything here is completely different and new.