Sunday, September 23, 2007


Editors Note: I'm still having internet issues, so I'm emailing my posts to "The Wife," and she's putting them up. This is the second of 3 installments about my "Typical Day in Iraq." As soon as you are done, head on over to The Wife's new blog If you know anyone who's been deployed, you know it's always tougher on those left at home, but she handles it with courage and candor. If you like what I'm doing here, you'll love it over there. Just remember, if you like her blog better than mine, keep it to yourself. - DrC

Continuing on my "typical day in Iraq" theme, I am now headed to work.

0645 I leave the chow hall and start the trek to the hospital. I live and eat on one camp, but I work on a different camp. Both camps (and many others) are contained within the larger Victory Base Complex you may have heard about recently on the news. Now comes the saluting. I am a Lieutenant Colonel, and I outrank just about everyone here, so everyone I walk past has to salute me. It's pretty cool, but to be honest it can get a little old. Still, I remember saluting everyone in sight when I was a Private First Class, so this is a nice turn around.

0700 I arrive at Camp Cropper and show my special ID to the gate guard. This takes me right past the "Do Not Enter – Deadly Force Authorized" sign. I usually check twice before I leave to make sure I have the proper ID.

0710 Finally, I'm at the hospital. My sand colored boots are now covered in actual sand, as is much of my lower uniform. It won't be until later that the sand has managed to find its way into my shirt, face, hat and hair. Ah yes, air conditioning!

0720 to 0800 – Now it's boring stuff. I catch up on emails, check in with the techs and get a report of radiology studies waiting to be read. Because of the miracles of the internet, I am the sole radiologist for 5 different facilities, 3 of which have radiology capability (the rest just send their patients over to us).

0800 to ? Now I'm ready to work. I read every study until the worklists are clean. It's usually between 100 and 150 exams. By contrast, I usually read 40 to 50 studies per day at Madigan back in Washington. The work is usually not as challenging (or time consuming) as back home, but it's important. Detainee health care may not sound glamorous, but patients are patients (regardless of their personal or political beliefs), and I'm here to help.

Somewhere in there, I go to the gym, and eat a little snack. In fact, I just got back from the gym, but I'm waiting to cool off before taking another combat shower here in the hospital.

Tomorrow: NIGHT LIFE!


Unknown said...

So what is the difference in working where you are and working in a real hospital?

Do you have the same or better equipment to work with for your job?

And with 150 exams a day, do you feel you give the same, better care for your fellow soldiers than a regular person.

Thanks for the update!

DrChako said...

This is a real hospital in the sense that it's condensed for war-fighting. Our equipment is new, but no where near as good as in my hospital in Washington (i.e. we are using a 2-slice CT, but there we have a 16-slice and are getting a 64 slice). It's adequate for our mission, I guess. And, even though my numbers of studies are way up, I usually have very little distractions, so I feel like I'm still providing great care.

Despite what many may think, I have no problem treating killers, and ever doc here provides the same great care for detainees as they do our soldiers.