Friday, May 2, 2008

Want to buy me a coffee?

Hey, thought I would add the link to Green Beans Coffee, its the US run coffee shop on camp, they are essentially like a Starbucks coffee. Anyway, they have this AWESOME program that you can buy coffee cards for the troops overseas! If you click on the link, then go to Buy Online, click on the coffee card link. So you can send me a prepaid coffee card if you feel so inclined! You just need to follow the prompts! You will need to select a location, Kandahar, and the Main location is the best one for me here. Its just outside the hospital! So if you don't want to send a big box of stuff, these would be super!!
Thank you!!
Talk to you all soon!

Its MAY!! 4 more months until Sept and one more month until my vacation!

Greetings all, its been awhile since I've posted. It's hard to believe where the time goes, its flying by here, and I find myself wondering more often than not what day of the week it is! Working shift work doesn't hurt either. We've been incredibly busy this past month. I think I've spent 2 days in total on the ward, and the rest in the ICU, we've been over our maximum capacity on several occassions here. That helps pass the time as well. We moved into our temporary quarters until our regular quarters are ready. What a pain in the ass for me since I have so much stuff! Plus I got two huge parcels from Mom right in the midst of the move! That's ok though! Everyone here enjoys all the food and snacks I share! So we cleared out of the American quarters and moved into a building up at New Canada House, in the Canadian lines. So on the complete opposite side of the camp from where we were. Its nice to be up here, and we find that we are all hanging out alot more, as we are all living together in the same building. Guys on one side of the hall and girls on the other. My roomie is another nurse here, she's awesome and we get along great. She's super considerate and is totally fun too! We have the same ideas about alot of things so we are pretty compatible! Our permanent quarters might be ready by the end of the month, so we'll likely be moving then. Hope so! I hope to be in an settled into the new building before I go on my leave in June! But we are really enjoying being here, we hang out alot together, more than before since we were all in separate buildings, and it's alot of fun! We plan on building a patio outside for a place to hang but we'll see how that goes.
Its also nice to have access to some more Canadians as well, before we were down in the US lines and never saw any of our own.
So things are going good. Derek is at home with Mom and Dad now, hanging out with the puppies and going fishing with his new fishing rod. It will be nice to be able to see him on webcam again. I was also able to reconnect my internet in this building, so that is pretty exciting! Worth every penny I believe! Although wireless was available at New Canada House, but I would spend more time socializing than emailing!
So things have been good here, lots of new staff in, and some on HLTA, so its fun to have all these new faces. I've met some pretty great people from here, and enjoy getting to know people. So far I haven't been too homesick, but I try not to think about it. I try not to let it get to me. Had some difficult patient cases too, but it hasn't been too bad. We're seeing alot of head injury patients, we have a British neurosurgeon with us, so that sucks as it seems like that's all we get. But they've been interesting cases atleast.
We've had a few more rocket attacks, two of the videos I will post are from that. It was hilarious, we made sure our patients were covered with the blast blankets and our own PPE on and then proceeded to goof off for the rest of it. It was a busy night in the ICU so that was almost the final straw. Atleast we can laugh about it instead of getting all freaked out, I mean the sirens go after the rockets have landed so if you are still alive, then you have reason to be happy I think.
Its been getting really hot here, the outdoor thermometer we brought with us has been reading into the high 40's during the day. So its really nice in the evenings and in the mornings but mid day is almost untolerable at times. Amazing how you get used to it though. I have been trying to work on my tan but know that I will still have the worst tan lines on my trip.
Also got my hair coloured here at the little spa on camp. Its run by these women from Kurjistan or something like that. I asked for a few highlights, and now I'm almost a blond! Oopsy! It looks ok, I've got a lot of compliments on it, but I'm still alittle unsure. Guess we'll see! Maintaining it might be a bit of a problem though. Think I'll be getting my hair done in Greece!
So its now May, its going to be a busy month for me I think. Lots on the go, I have a videoteleconference with KGH on the 14th, which is also my birthday, (yay!) and then we have nurses week that week as well and I'm arranging the festivities here. I'm planning another luncheon like I did in Kabul. So we'll see how that goes. But the month will fly by I think and before I know it I'll be packing my bags for my HLTA and on my way to Greece.
Well, that's enough of my babble for a bit. I will try to post more now since I have internet in my room again.
Thanks for all your love and support, it is appreciated and helps the time go by easier.
I'm sorry if I don't get back to you all individually more often, I get about 20 emails a day from various people and just don't have the time to email you all! Hence the need for the blog! Sorry! I still love you all though!
Thanks for understanding.
Lots of love,
Mary Ann

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Its April! 5 more months to go!

Hello! Yay! Its April! Only 5 more months until Sept, which is when I hope to be home! But it might be Oct before I make it back, so then we're back to 6 more months. Oh well. I am not going to think about it at this point! Time continues to fly by, so I'm very happy about that! The faster the better! All my plans are booked for my leave in June! Derek and I meet up in the Athens airport, I think we arrive within 30 min's of each other, and then we are on the same flight together to Santorini, so I'm super excited about that! Derek comes home at the end of April, I'm really looking forward to that too! We should be able to webcam chat again, I'm looking forward to that! I know Derek is pumped to come home and plans to go hang out at Mom and Dad's, ice fish and pick up the puppies! And be spoiled by Mom as well!
Things are going well here, we've been fairly busy with lots of incoming casualties, but it keeps things moving smoothly, and keeps us on our toes. It also helps to pass the time, although I would not want to wish suffering on anyone! I would rather be bored to death and have no patients, but that is not the case here, nor will it be.
We had our first beer call, I was working nights, so I just came into work early and sent the evening shift to the Stand Easy (our work hang out behind the hospital) for their two beers! I hope I get to go to the next one! woohoo!
The weather has been good, very hot this past week, and today we had our first thunderstorm. I walked home in the rain, it was nice and refreshing! Still nice and warm too, but its more like mud falling from the skies! And the ground turns into wet clay very quickly! But the storm keeps messing with our TV and internet, so that's no fun! But I did sit out on the boardwalk, and watch the rain, and the clouds, they were brown! I put up a picture so that you could see. Brown sky, its hard to capture on film, but its something to see in person. Kinda neat actually!
I finally bought that new camera I wanted! The red Canon IXUSi, its really really nice! And red! yay! I have been trying to figure it out over the last two days, and I'm really happy with it so far. But it does have a European plug on it, so that will be interesting once I get home.
Rumour has it that we are moving into the new quarters up in the Canadian lines, (we currently live in the American quarters down by the shit pond), by the end of this month. Its going to be a very painful move for me, since I have double the crap that everyone else has! haha! Not fun! Oh well, I pity my roommate, but we'll make due. We always do!
I finally saw pictures of my new nephew/niece! Elizabeth and Rob sent me pictures of her latest ultra sound, I instantly started to bawl! I just hope I'm home in time for the birth! I'm crossing my fingers! I'm pretty excited for little Maverick! (Rob's idea of baby name) to arrive! Going to be awesome!
So, that's life here in a nutshell. Been pretty busy, but I'm feeling alot better than I was, I still have a bad cough, but oh well, I don't expect that to go away, not with all the dust.
Anyway, have to run, just got paged in! Time to go back to work!
Lots of love,
Mary Ann

Thursday, March 27, 2008

27 March 2008

Sorry, I know its been a while since I last posted. Its been a whirlwind few weeks. We had a period of slowness, I actually have a picture of our admission board where where we had no patients at all. And then Easter weekend picked things up, of course. The Taliban know that if they hit us on our religious holidays it will have more of an impact back in Canada, thanks to all the nay-sayers and the media. I did an interview with TSN when the NHL All Stars were here, I didn't even know I did an interview, but supposedly it made it on the air. Wish I could have told you when or where to look for it on line. I guess you could always email TSN and ask them. I met the CDS's wife. She was a dear sweet woman, she brought duffel bags of stuff for the kids at the local market. So thoughtful. So, ya the NHL All Stars were here, I talked to Bob Probert again, and I got my picture taken with the lead singer of Blue Rodeo, Jim Cuddy. They performed a concert later that night, it was awesome! Totally made you forget that you were standing in the middle of a war zone, in the desert, five million miles from home. It was fun hanging out with some old friends from home, Comeau, Ellie, Slade, it was great!
So things are going well, and I was able to do some work reno's. We had a wall at the hospital that we've been waiting forever to have torn down, so one of the other nurses and I tore it down. We took crowbars, hammers, screwdrivers and a saw to it, so now we have more space for more beds, more equipment and more movement. It was funny to watch everyone coming around to see what was going on, I was like "you didn't see anything"! But we got it done, and the roof never collapsed. We did leave the supporting beam! We knew that much! haha
I have been sick for the last 5 days or so now. Yesterday I finally was able to get out of bed, but the day before I spent about 6 hours at the hospital on IV's. Today I feel abit better again, so I don't intend to push myself, but just plan to relax, and get ready for my night shift. I haven't worked in about 4 days, which hasn't been fair to my colleagues. Luckily we've been slow, but I still feel guilty about missing my shifts and not being able to get out of bed.
We had a St Patrick's day BBQ, which was fun, and nice to have everyone out for the festivities.
On a downside, we had an American ramp ceremony the other day, we had just finished being briefed by the CDS, and then a few us went into the hospital to see if we could take a few of the US patients over the ramp ceremony. It was pretty emotional to wheel two of these guys over to say goodbye to their fallen comrades. It was pretty tough to stand up there with the patients, with their unit on the aircraft while they said farewell. Very emotional.
Derek seems to be doing well in Jamaica, getting lots of sun, and their ex seems to be in full swing. I believe he's home a month from now! I know he's pretty excited about that.
I have booked his tickets to Santorini, and plan to book mine today. We are pretty excited! 71 days until I leave and 73 days until I see Derek! yay!! We meet up in the airport in Athens and make the trip into Santorini together! I can't wait! We have absolutely nothing planned, just going to relax, eat and drink and lay around in the sun on the black sand beaches! I can't wait! And the best part is that because the island is so small, and we don't feel like doing something one day, we don't have to. We can just relax and take it one day at a time. That I like the best.
I hope we ride the donkey's again! How much fun was that!! haha
Anyway, so life is good. Other than being really really sick, I am good. Thanks for all the emails and the parcels, I'm sorry if I don't get back to you as quickly as maybe you think I should, but I will get back to you. I appreciate your patience and understanding.
Lots of love!
Mary Ann

Monday, March 10, 2008

Its almost the middle of March! Yay!

Hi there, things have been going well so far this month. Its been a sad month, with our first ramp ceremony. I'm not going to jinx us and say that it will hopefully be the last. Sadly, we know there will be more, but I know that we will do absolutely everything possible if they come into us at the hospital. Our pace has slowed a bit and that is a good thing, its been a good chance to get in and get ourselves settled in, and organized and on our feet. I've been off sick the past few days, finally caught the bug that everyone else seems to have had, I think I slept 36hrs the other day. yikes! But before that I started my gym routine, which has been a nice release. So all is well. Time is going by quickly and I like that. I've started to make plans for our trip in June to Santorini. We are staying in the hotel we'd stayed at when we were on my HLTA from Kabul in 2005, so we are pumped to go back to one of our favorite haunts, and this time we'll do some day trips to other islands, and just relax and take it easy. I'm pretty excited, and so is Derek.
He's doing well in Jamaica, living in the jungle, we've talked a few times. He had a good birthday on Sat. The big 32! I keep teasing him that he is well into his 30's and I'm just barely 30. haha! Poor guy. But they made a cake for him, (although it said happy 33 on it heehee), and they all sang Happy Birthday to him. So that is good.
So I'm not sure if you all have heard yet, but the news is out, Elizabeth and Rob (sister and brother-in-law) are expecting! They are due Oct 1! I am pretty excited! I get to be an auntie again! (Well, Brit, you are more like a little sister than niece though!) I think we were all pretty surprised at the news! I think noone was more surprised than Elizabeth and Rob themselves! haha! I'm super excited at the news, and am just really hoping that I'll be home in time. It would be horrible to miss the birth of our new family edition, but I'm preparing myself for that possibility, especially if she goes into pre-term labour. But she won't, Eli is super healthy, and is listening to her body (after much badgering from all ha ha!), so we'll pray that all goes well and that I can be there to help out. Since Rob doesn't do well with body fluids or functions, I'm hoping to be the stand by for the big day! I'm excited to have another baby to buy shoes for! The plan is still to come home and start trying ourselves, so hopefully if all goes well, our kids won't be too far apart in age. But I won't count my eggs before the rooster and hen even get to see each other! ha ha
Anyway, all is well here. I'm doing good. Happy the time is passing quickly.
I can't talk too much about the patients we care for, or any particular cases, for obvious operational security matters. Plus, you don't really need to hear about the gore I see on a regular basis. It will just scar you. But just have a drink for me when you are out!
I hear that Ontario has retarded amounts of snow! Craziness! I'm kinda glad I'm not there to shovel it! ha ha. Derek feels the same! He's hoping it will all be gone by the time he gets home!
Talk to you all soon.
Mary Ann

Saturday, March 1, 2008

A new month! 7 more to go!

Well here it is March 1st already. Hard to believe, where does the time go! Its been a fast 10 days and hard to believe that ten days have pasted since I got on the ground. I know that the rest of the tour will go by this quickly, and I'm keeping myself pre-occupied with work, and hanging out with friends who are not working at the hospital. Its nice to have some friends that you don't live, eat and work with, in a few months we'll be all sick of each other, which is normal, so I'm starting out with trying to have a bit of my own time. I am no longer in a room alone, I have two dutch roomies! The Dutch OR team is here, they are very nice, and have been here previously so they know what they are in for. I'm settling into my room and routine well though, and am very happy to be working at the bedside providing patient care. Derek is in Jamaica now, and has been putting in some pretty retarded long hours by the sounds of it getting the camp up and running and put together. We haven't chatted since he got there but I am hoping to catch him tonight (your time, tomorrow morning my time!) The time change is still throwing me for a bit too. I think its 10 1/2 hrs different from Ontario. Or something like that. I'm missing the puppies alot but mom has been able to send me some pictures of them up there, sounds like they are keeping mom busy too!
Well, things are going well at the hospital, I think we were all hoping Prince Harry would stop by for a visit before he left, but alas, the stars weren't ruling in our favour!haha! But its been busy, a few interesting cases, a few heartbreaking cases, of course, but its nice to feel like we are contributing. And I'm ok taking care of the Afghan Army and Police guys, since it means that they are fighting, and our fellow Canadians are taking a back seat, which I realize isn't always the case. But it still helps rationalize taking care of people who sometimes are not the friendliest or respectful towards women. But so far so good.
Anyway, so things are good, thanks again for all the emails and I will try to get back to you all soon.
Lots of love,
Mary Ann

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Roto 5 has officially taken over!

So today was my first full official day in the 2IC chair, (second in command for you non military types). It went ok, lucky for me the Roto 4 girls were around for a good portion of the day so that I could suck more info out of their brains, but it wasn't that bad a day. Funny how completely exhausted I am though, having done more admin than anything. Had a few patients come through, had the change of command parade, it was a pretty half decent day. So all in all, things are good. I'm exhausted, but what else is new. Missing home, of course, but content. 218 days to go I think! haha! That's not very motivating at this point in time.
Time for bed, I can barely keep my eyes open.
Thanks for all the well wishes and emails, I would love to write to each of you individually, and I will write you back soon.
lots of love,
mary ann

Friday, February 22, 2008

Alive and Well in Kandahar

Well I made it safe and somewhat sound, back in Afghanistan again. It's like deja vu here, a few changes to the camp but not many. It kinda feels like I never left. Its crazy!!! Really missing some of the people I was here with before, like Joni and Jacques and Tim, but our new team is great, and I'm really excited to be here with them. The new facility looks amazing, its crazy how many changes they've made to the Role 3, always for the better.
I am finally somewhat settled into my room, man did I ever bring alot of shit. I haven't even got my UAB yet and I'm full up! haha! oh well, lots to donate to charity! Brandy McKenna is my roomie right now, it took us a couple days to finally be living together but alas, we are! Its nice to have a familiar face and friend with me for a few more days!
So all is well, I am second-guessing at this point what the hell I was thinking when I decided I should come back over, but this will be good for me. I do have super high speed internet and cable in my room, its alittle pricey, but now I can webcam chat from my room, and it is pretty fast for satellite internet and cable.
Anyway, I'm missing home something fierce, missing Derek more than anything. We finally chatted today, I miss him so much and I miss all you guys too.
Lots of love.
I'll try to write atleast daily on this, just to keep you updated.
Love, Mary Ann