I don’t know whether to report on the work, the people, the politics, the food, the sounds, or the scenery. Ill see what I have time for tonight.
The work is actually exhausting and difficult. The vascular surgeon here has not a lot of modern equipment and no other colleagues so he has saved up a backload of the worst of the worst (for you Dr. Binder wherever you are). Yesterday we did three fem-pop bypasses, today a mesenteric bypass iliac bypass on the same patient and tomorrow have 6 fistulas for access. There is really no alcohol in Palestine, at least where we are staying, but everyone smokes, even in the hospital. Good for business. Marty is loving the hard work and interesting cases but dad needs some advil and a massage. Dr. Ihab, the primary surgeon we work with is a native of Nablus and is an Arab Christian. A very dedicated soul, very talented. The entire staff are very appreciative and nice, communication is a problem with my 6 now words of Arabic I know, but it works. Dr. Ihab has taken us under his wing and shown us around as well. I could write a whole blog on him and his family(see below).
Besides the surgeries Dr Ihab has asks us to see many complicated patients, eg 5 different vascular malformations.
Enough medicine. We have toured the old city. I mentioned in my introduction a little of the history of Nablus. It really dates back 7-9000 years with many cities on top of cities but the known area was built by the Romans. We walked through the Roman areas with many of the original marble and sandstone in place.
The pictures represent an inside view of a beautiful city mosque, an early roman street, a market with the typical head covering of all the women, a 10th century tower, and of course we are eating very well.
A quick comment about the sounds and smells. Spices, coffee, food, as well as tobacco smells waft everywhere. The roosters her however cannot tell time as they crow about 2 am, and every morning at 4 am an half hour of prayers and chants blast form the loudspeakers from the mosque. (this happens 5 times a day but I only seem to notice at 4 am).
Politics and religion dominate the conversations here and these both lead to a very sad situation for the Palestinian people, and I mean the everyday people, the families, the men and women and children who just want what we all want. I encourage you all to read at least briefly about the history of the Palestinians, especially the most recent history since World War II. It unfortunately is a major part of why we are here, and what we are learning about this place. It is complicated and no end is in sight and requires more information and careful writing. Stay tuned to this when I discuss The Case of the Missing Big Blue Suitcase.
Man I wish I could sleep like Marty. Hes been asleep for 3 hours and this blog is his baby.