Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Place: IHOP Restaurant.
Reason to go there: the only open place that sells food.
Place's capacity: 150
Number of people present: more than 150.
Nationality of people present: 90% Mexican, 10% Mexican-American.
Hareega's order: meat omlette to-go.
Time to get that order: 50 minutes.
I was sitting on the sofa waiting for my omlette, and as time passed the restaurant quickly started to empty up. The last couple next to me were delighted when the cute latina waitress told them, "Your table is ready , follow me pliss, taank you"
Nobody was waiting but me, and next to me sat Santa.
I Couldn't help but notice his wrinkled skin behind the fake moustache.
He looked at a waitress standing behind the cash, "Leslie, can I leave now?"
"No, you have to stay for 40 more minutes"
"But I wanna see my granddaughter before she leaves"
She didn't answer but grabbed a menu and faked a wide smile at the new customers arriving at the restaurant that moment.
A little kid then came rushing from a table and went towards Santa grabbing his pants,
"Quiero tomar un foto con Santa"- I wanna take a photo with Santa
Santa, exhausted, took good ten seconds before he stood up up and looked at the camera to have his photo taken with the happy kid.
Santa then sat down and started looking anxiously at the clock.
I told him, "You know something, you're the first Santa I see this Christmas!"
He looked at me and didn't answer, didn't even nod his head.... totally ignored me.
He stood up and started walking towards the empty space outside. It was pretty clear he was limping, couldn't tell if he was faking a Santa limp or if it was real.
He returned in five minutes and saw that I was sitting there. He asked, "How's your Christmas?"
"It's alright, yours?"
Again, he turned his head away and totally ignored me. I was hoping he'd treat me like a little kid and ring his bell at my face or throw some candy at me, but he remained silent.
Forty minutes passed and I finally got my omelette. Santa went to the cashier and gave her his small bag of candies and for some reason didn't take off his moustaches or beard, maybe because it would protect his frail body from the cold weather outside or maybe because he liked this new person he's hiding behind, one that people cheer to see and kids love to take pictures with.
By the way, Merry Christmas everyone :)
Monday, December 24, 2007
You have the right to education, health care, and the right to vote.
I will add another right: the right to exist.
This is a right you're given retrospectively, meaning I believe that you had the right to exist after you've already existed.
However if you're over 12 and you're someone who sends e-mails/letters/funwall posts thinking that you'll be rewarded or punished based on forwarding these messages, you're someone who should not have existed.
If it was to me, I would have denied your right to exist.
Have a great holiday
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Oh, life is bigger
Friday, December 21, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
After high school, the lucky (or unlucky) ones get into medical school. In Jordan it's six years. The first year is "the general sciences" with chemistry, physics and biology. Years 2 and 3 include medical sciences with no clinical experience. During years 4,5,6 students rotate through different clinical rotations in clinical settings, and they sit for exams at the end of the year. It's during these years that a student decides on the speciality s/he's interested in.
In the US it's a bit different. Students do not go directly into medical school but they have to get a degree first in something like chemistry, biology, economics...etc and they spend as long as it takes to finish these studies before doing the MCAT exams. If they did well in college and scored well on the MCAT, they get an acceptance into medical school.
That's why thousnads of Jordanian high school graduates have joined the AUB to study medicine but those who actually graduated from its medical school are fewer than 50.
After graduation from medical school, these "doctors" are still not allowed to practise medicine in the US, while in Jordan they're allowed to open their private clinics or join the hospital of their choice under the title "general practitioner".
In the US, they have to go through residency. There are dozens of specialities. Residencies last between 3 to 7 years. Residents start as interns, then they progress to more senior residents. Residents in general do the most work and they are supervised by an attending physician (specialist). The most senior residents are almost completely independent and comfortable working without supervision , however they cannot get patients in or out of the hospital or make major decisions without their attending physician's approval, and they need to give him a daily update on the patient and discuss the treatment plan with them.
The residency system is not much different between Jordan and the US, and at the end doctors can practise on their own or choose to do something called "fellowship", or a sub-speciality. For example a doctor who specialized (did residency in internal medicine) can choose to to become an internist or do a sub speciality in lung or heart or kidney disease. A surgeon can choose to stay a general surgeon or specialize in heart surgery and so on.
In general people who decide to do fellowships spend extra years but at the end become the experts in a certain area they truly enjoy doing, and earn more money. In Jordan fellowships have very recently started to emerge but they were nonexistent when I left Jordan in 2004.
That is a very general idea on how it works.
I joined medical school in 1996, finished residency in 2002, did a year of "imtiaz" that was a total waster of time, started residency in internal medicine in 2004, finished residency in 2007, and started the fellowship in infectious diseases last July. I will be done with fellowship in June 2009. Although I currently have my own patients in the clinic that I follow, and I make most decisions on the ill patients I see in the hospital, I am still always under the supervision of a specialist and I can't even leave a note on a patient without his signature on it.
I started in 1996, will be done in 2009 !!
..... 13 years
totally worth it.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
He goes, "Are you with infectious diseases?"
"I want to consult you about this lady, 30 yr old with psychosis. She's hallucinating ....etc"
"Ok what's the infectious problem?"
"She tested positive for syphilis, I don't know if it's the cause of her psychosis"
"OK I'll come and see her in a little bit"
"She's at risk of having syphilis"
"Why is that?", I asked
"Well, she's a professional sex worker"
"A professional sex worker"
I started wondering what a professional sex worker exactly meant.
"What kind of job does she have ?", I asked
"She's a professional sex work... has sex for money"
It's amazing how the political correctness in the US has now affected the world's oldest profession.
I wonder if we're going to start to call alcoholics "booze admirers" , intravenous drug users "needle lovers", and murderers "end-of-life fans".
Monday, December 10, 2007
Do you think the world would have been a better place without religion? If Moses, Muhammad, Jesus, Budha and the rest didn't come to the world, wouldn't have people made their own prophets and fought over them?
Give me your 2 cents
Sunday, December 09, 2007
1- Sono l'italiano !
A great song by Toto Cotungo
Lasciatemi cantare con la chitarra in mano
Lasciatemi cantare una canzone piano piano
Lasciatemi cantare, perché ne sono fiero.
Sono un Italiano, un Italiano vero
2- The blind man makes you see magic.
Andrea Bocielli singing Vivo per lei with Helene Segara. She sings in French.
Vivo per lei da quando sai
la prima volta l'ho incontrata
non mi ricordo come ma
mi è entrata dentro e c'è restata
Vivo per lei perché mi fa
vibrare forte l'anima
vivo per lei e non è un peso
Always reminds of a stupid juice commerical, but the song is great.
A recordacao vai estar com ele aonde for
A recordacao vai estar pra sempre aonde for
4- El Comanadnate.....
Hasta Siempre, a very old song for the memory of Che Guevara. I love Nathalie Cardone's version the most.
Aquí se queda la clara,
La entrañable transparencia
De tu querida presencia,
Comandante Ché Guevara.
Magestic music. This song of few words won Norway the Eurovision song contest in 1995
La dagen f
Sin hvile n
Og natten vil vke for den
6- Aicha.... Aicha
Aïcha, Aïcha écoute moi,
Aïcha, Aïcha t'en vas pas
Aïcha,Aïcha regarde moi,
Aïcha, Aïcha réponds-moi
7- Para bailar la bamba.
Los lobos's greatest work.
This should be the world's eighth wonder, it made Al Gore dance!
Unofrtunately, couldn't find the Spanish verison on youtube, here's a semi-Spanish one.
Dale a tu cuerpo alegria Macarena
Que tu cuerpo es pa' darle alegria y cosa buena
Dale a tu cuerpo alegria, Macarena
9- La Copa de la Vida
This was the official song of the 1998 Mundial. Good job Ricky
Tu y yo! Ale ale ale
Go, go, gol! Ale ale ale
Arriba va! El mundo esta de pie
Go, go, gol! Ale ale ale
10- Voice from the skies
Bocielli again, with con te partiro...
Con te partiro
Paesi che non ho mai
Veduto e vissuto con te
Adesso si li vivr?
Con te partiro
Su navi per mari
Che io lo so
No no non esistono pi?
Con te io li rivivro
Other great songs are Caruso (recommended by caroline), The mass-era (recommended by Majd Batarseh), X simarik (kiss kiss) recommended by Hala, and a random but good Turkish song -actually in English , by Gowaider.
Hope you liked them
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
"Hey Judy, I need 1/1 off, I'm going to New York"
Judy, "Awesome, I'm going with husband and in-laws to New York too. We're gonna watch my sister in a play! If you go to that play watch for her, her name is Amanda."
I asked, "Are they gonna introduce her?"
Judy, "Yes, I'll be happy to, and she's single too, 32, has a kid"
Hareega, "Oh, I meant are they gonna introduce her to us, the audience, so we can know who she is, I didn't to me".
then came the five seconds of silence......
"So can I take 1/1 off?"
I was talking to my attending physician (kinda my boss) about a patient whose first name is Benito, as in Benito Mussolini.
Hareega, "It's the the first time I meet someone whose name is Benito. He's 36, so he was born after the (second world) war! Why the hell did his parents name him Benito?"
Boss, "Well Mussolini wasn't that bad, not nearly as bad as Hitler. They say at least he made the trains run on time in Italy."
Hareega, "Ha Ha Ha that wasn't easy, Italians can't get anything done on time"
Then I quickly remembered something. I looked at my boss's badge and noticed that his name was as Italian as fettuccini alfredo.
There were five seconds of silence, then we proceeded to talk about the patient.
I'm technically on-call 24/7. I can get paged anytime and I have to call back immediately.
It was 10 pm, I was leaving the hospital, and decided to use the clean bathrooms they have for doctors inside the hospital to release my products of metabolism.
As I was inside, I got paged. I pick my cell phone and call back the number. It was the neurosurgery resident who is also a not-so close friend.
I called back.
She goes, " Hey Ferris you didn't mention in your note how long you wanna treat Mrs. Green for."
"Oh, 4 weeks."
"I can't hear you well!"
I realized the signal inside the bathroom sucked. I wasn't in a good position to leave the bathroom.
"I said 4 weeks, FOUR WEEKS, FOUR, CUATRO. FOUR"
"OK, 4 weeks, hey where are you?"
From previous experiences, I realized that it's not a pretty thing to tell people on the phone that you're calling them from the bathroom. It's even worse to tell them you're sitting on a toilet seat.
So she asked , "Where are you, there's a lot of echo around you"
"Yeah I know."
"Are you in a wear house?"
I said, "Oh yeah, in a wear house"
"What are you doing at 10 pm in a wear house!!"
Five second of silence........
Ten seconds of silence.......
then I hung up.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Here are ten moments in sports that made the whole world stand up, here they are in random order
1- The Arabian boy reigns over Europe
It was the final game of the Champions League in 1987. Rabah Madjer of Algeria played with Porto against Bayern Munich. Bayern was ahead 1-0 until Madjer scored this awesome goal with his heel. He later gave the assist that helped Porto win 2-1 and advance. Whenever a player is said to have "madjered" the ball, that would be in reference to this goal by Rabah.
2- Magic Johnson makes an announcement.
Magic Johnson, the LA Lakers star, the MVP, known all over the world, announces his retirement from basketball because he tested positive for HIV. Many people thought he would die, but he took medications and is still alive today giving inspiration to HIV positive patients.
This is the clip from 1991
3- Pele scores goal number 1000
4- Morocco hits
Morocco made it to the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. They had great performances, drawing 0-0 with England and Poland then defeating Portugal 3-1. They become the first African (and Arab) team to make it to the second round of the world cup.
Badu al-Zaki, Khairi, Karimo.... they were magic
here's a clip from Moroccan TV of their triumph over Portugal , sorry for the quality
5- How dumb can you get??
Can a player miss three penalties in one game?? Argentine Martin Palermo answered positively in 2001 when he missed 3 penalties against Colombia in Copa America. Colombia won 3-0!
6- Winning two battles.
Lance Armstrong was a cycling champion. He was diagnosed with testicular cancer that had spread all over his body, the brain included. He received treatment and came back to cycling to win the Tour de France (which is like the World Cup in other Sports) SEVEN times, a world record.
Here's a short clip about him
7- Jordan to the World Cup
Jordan defeated China 2-1 to qualify to the Youth World Cup that was held in Canada last summer. Man, that was something.
Here's a clip with Khalid Ghoul's commentary
8- Jordan defeats Iran in Tehran
Another Jordanian moment, of gold. In the World Cup qualifications in 2004, Jordan played Iran, a team that is virtually unbeatable in Tehran. Most experts expected a wide-margin victory for Iran.
We won 1-0. That was a great day.
9- Muhammad Ali gets back his gold medal.
Muhammad Ali won the gold medal in the 1960 Olympics. He lost his gold medal somewhere! He later became a professional boxing player and the most famous boxing champion.
36 years later, in the Olympic games in Atlanta and in the half-time break in a basketball game, Ali was given a gold medal in place of the old gold medal that was lost. That was a great moment for this boxer.
I wasn't able to put the video here, so you have to click here to see it.
10- Owairan Sensation
Saed Owairan the Saudi player made this long run past 4 Belgian players and scored this magnificent goal in the World Cup in 1994. It lead KSA to a 1-0 victory and booked them a place in the second round.
I hope you liked this selection,
The elevator was closing, but just before it did he smiled at me and pointed his finger upwards, saying, "it's always good to go up" then he looked up.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Sometimes I wonder whether or not Americans are rich. Compared to the average Jordanian for example, Americans are so rich. A middle-class American lives in a nice house, has a car for him and his wife, sends his kids to a good college, has plenty of clothes, a digital camera, a great TV, and can afford to go on vacation every while and then with his family.
A middle-class Jordanian (they still exist) barely has any of the above. He is usually renting or owns a smaller house, has one car for the whole big family, owns an old TV, and can hardly ever go with the whole family on a vacation.
However, when I look at Americans rushing to the malls today to buy plenty of things they don't need, I pause and think of how rich they are. The majority of Americans do not really own most of the important things they have. They have a house but they don't own it; many of them have great 25K-dollar cars, but they don't own them. Their kids go to great colleges, but they graduate with debts up to 200,000 dollars, sometimes more. they do lots of shopping, and it's all with credit cards.
They have the impression that they are rich, they live the lives of rich people, they have a lot of things that only rich people can afford, but they don't own anything.
All what it takes for the average American citizen is to lose his job, and it's very easy in America. Even if he's performing well, he can come in the morning to his job to find himself fired because his job is not necessary anymore in the company.
He can lose his house, his car(s), the money he saved to pay for college, and he faces the dark truth that he owns nothing anymore, maybe because he owned nothing to start with.
More and more Americans are now one paycheck away from living on the street. More Americans (six million more) lost their health insurances under Bush, and much more believe they have a good health insurance until they get ill and discover they have to pay an incredible amount of money because their insurance was not covering for it. Medical bills are now the number one cause of bankruptcy in the US.
USA is a rich country, but most of its people are not. At a time when 1.6 trillion dollars (that's 1600 billion) have already been spent on two failing wars, there seems to be reason why one cannot be very optimistic about the future of this country. The American dream used to be a reality, but now it's becoming just a dream.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
االدائرة التاسعة - الوسطية: د. محمود مهيدات 2377 صوتاً
محافظة البلقاء ، الدائرة الاولى : محمود الخرابشة 4282 صوتاً ، ياسين الزعبي 4220 صوتاً ، بسام الخليفة المناصير 4015 صوتاً ، مبارك ابو يامين 3907 صوتاً ،سليمان غنيمات 3319 صوتاً ، حازم الناصر(المقعد المسيحي ) 4259 صوتاً ،فخري اسكندر (المقعد المسيحي ) 3576 صوتاً.
محافظة الكرك - الدائرة الاولى : عبدالحميد الذنيبات 3544 صوتاً، عبدالفتاح المعايطة 3126 صوتاً، عبدالله غانم زريقات(المقعد المسيحي ) 2251 صوتاً .
المفرق : عبد الكريم الدغمي 6658 صوت، تيسير شديفات 5053 صوتا ، ابراهيم الحسبان 4324 صوتا ، مفلح الخزاعلة 4011 صوتا.
مادبا - الدائرة الاولى : د. يوسف ابو صليح 3559 ، محمد علي ابو الهية 2442،رياض اليعقوب (مقعد مسيحي 2926) .الدائرة
محافظة العقبة : زياد الشيويخ 6153 صوتا ،محمد البدري 3814 صوتا .
بدو الجنوب : عواد الزوايدة 3057 صوتا ، سند النعيمات 2699 صوتا ، د. عبد الله هارون الجازي 2371 صوتا .
بدو الشمال : حابس ركاد خليف الشبيب 4097 صوتا ، سعد هايل السرور 3559 صوتا ، صوان طلب مريبيع الشرفات 3499 صوتا.
محافظة جرش : د.محمد خالد زريقات 5011 صوتا ، مفلح الرحيمي 4297 صوتا ، احمد العتوم 3948 صوتا ، سليمان السعد 3840 صوتا .
بدو الوسط : صالح الجبور 3538 صوتا ، مجحم الخريشا 3458 صوتا ، د. محمد الشرعه 2921 صوتا
* ومن المقرر ان تعلن اللجنة العليا للانتخابات اسماء الفائزات بالكوتا النسائية اليوم.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
I opened the Internet Explorer. I typed in my blog.
The first entry of course the previous one, with Hillary's picture on the front.
The specialist walks in.
"Hey you like seeing Hillary's cleavage don't you?"
"No it's just her picture"
"But you wanna see her cleavage don't you?"
"No actually there's no cleavage in this picture"
He laughed and walked away.
One minute later the lovely and elderly nurse who overheard everything walked in.
"Hey Doc, if really want great pictures of naked women I can tell you how to get them."
I know they were all kidding but I am realizing how easy it is to get a reputation of doing something when you're totally not guilty.
Anyway , gotta go now to have dinner with farting Jeff and slutty Nancy.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
لولا مجالس النواب لما علمت أن نسبة حضور ممثلي الشعب للجلسات أسوأ بكثير من نسبة حضور طلاب الجامعة في أي جامعة أردنية لمحاضراتهم باستثناء الجلسات المتعلقة برفع رواتبهم
لولا محلس لما تعرفت على الحقيقة المذهلة بأن عبد الهادي المجالي رئيس مجلس الديمقراطية والحرية طالب يشدة بمعاقبة أي صحفي ينتقد أداء المجلس
لولا المجلس لما علمت أن الكنائس الأردنية التي أعتز بانتمائي لها ممكن أن تدعم مرشحاً مسيحياً على آخر اعتماداً على انتمائه الطائفي وكأن مصلحة الأردنيين المسيحيين تكمن في وصول مرشح من طائفة معينة وليست الأخرى بدلاً من الافتراض أن مصلحتهم تكمن في وصول مرشح مسيحي اختاره الأردنيون-مسلمين ومسيحيين- بسبب مؤهلاته
قد يكون وجود المجلس عبئاً ثقيلا على الوطن وميزانيته لكن العملية الانتخابية واصوات المواطنين ومتابعة جلسات النواب بخاطاباتهم الغبية ربما تفتح أعيننا أن المشكلة ربما لا تكمن فيهم بل فيمن أرسلهم مباشرة إلى تحت القبة ولعل وعسى الأعراس الديمقراطية التي عشناها ونعيشها تكون كاشفة لعيوب كبيرة عانينها لعقود من الزمان
Monday, November 12, 2007
Here's the latest from yesterday, where Hugo Chavez of Venezuela heavily criticized ex-Spanish prime minister Aznar calling him a fascist. The current Spanish prime minister wanted to respond in defence of Aznar but Chavez wasn't listening, until a man in the middle sitting on the table yelled at Chavez, "Por que no te callas" , which translates to "Why don't you shut up?"
That man in the middle was Spain's king Carlos.
Here's the clip
Can't forget the "Yel3an Abu Sharbak" argument between Izzat Al Douri and Kuwait's prince before the 2003 war started.
Abdullah of KSA and Qadhafi fighting
Jordan is not much better, wish there were some "Klashins" in there!!
This Jordanian cat fight is nothing close to what might happen in India's Parliament!
IF you were going to boycott the elections, you might have changed your mind by now. If you think whoever will be elected will be politically corrupt, you might wanna vote for who can come up with the best "action".
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Saturday, November 10, 2007
"Can I get HIV just by sitting on a toilet seat?"
"NO", I answered
"Even if an HIV positive person was sitting on it before me?"
"You still won't get it"
"Even if the seat was not cleaned?"
"No, you still won't get it, you won't"
He looked at me unconvinced.
I told him, "Well if you weren't going to get convinced you shouldn't have asked me!"
"Well I don't know....", he said.
I started to get pissed. Those cardiologists think they know everything.
I looked again at him and said, "You won't get HIV unless you sit on the seat before that person gets up."
He turned away and kept walking. I'm pretty sure he was now convinced.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
For the first time in 22 years, we are the Arab champions in basketball after defeating Egypt 80-69 in Alexandria.
The last time we won, we had Murad Barakat, his brother Hilal, Samir Morqos, Yousef Zaghlol, Yanal Qannash and a few others (feel free to drop their names if you remember).
Just like most sport teams, I liked the old team more. They were a bunch of hard working players who have played together for more than a decade, with a fantastic teamwork. Yet they were very simple and they played only for the game. I don't think any of them made a single ta3reefeh from playing basketball.
But now we have a great team , good job!
In Time's November 5th edition, Andrew Lee Butters writes his one-page "Postcard" from Madaba. His topic : King's Academy.
Here's the article:
Postcard from Madaba
King Abdullah II has opened an ambitious new academy modeled on the New England boarding school he attended.
Can Arab Preppies Save the Middle East?
In 1977 an unlikely new 10th-grader arrived on the campus of Deerfield Academy in western Massachusetts. He was Abdullah ibn Hussein, direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad and scion of the Hashemite dynasty, the onetime princes of Mecca and currently the ruling family of the kingdom of Jordan. Now known as His Majesty King Abdullah II, he points to the years spent as a member of the academy's class of 1980 as the most formative of his life. Deerfield introduced Abdullah to a much broader range of friends than is normally available to young Arab princes, and the character-building crucible of dormitory life taught him Yankee egalitarianism, self-reliance and how to clear dishes from the dinner table.
After he ascended to the throne in 1999, the King wanted to bring these values to Jordan. His plan: create the Arab world's first coed boarding school. In 2006 he brought in Deerfield's headmaster, Eric Widmer, and several other Deerfield teachers to kick-start King's Academy, which opened this fall with about 100 students.
But what can preppies bring to the semidesert kingdom? Some of the evidence is already on display at the campus, near Madaba, a farming town about 30 miles (48 km) south of Amman, Jordan's capital. Yes, there are boarding-school staples like family-style meals at round tables, school-wide meetings, blue blazers and khaki pants. There's also the rather revolutionary belief that the classroom should be an intimate place that fosters discussion and critical thinking rather than rote memorization, which is the default teaching method in much of the region. But more important is the school's effort to create an environment where learning takes place outside the classroom — through athletics, community service, honor codes and an expectation that students become leaders in everyday life. The school also plans to bring a new diversity to campus. The current class members come from countries across the Middle East, but although there are no Westerners now, the school hopes to eventually attract students from the U.S. — or even Israel — and about one-third of the student body will receive financial aid. This is a far cry from most élite high schools in Jordan today, which are more like an Arab Beverly Hills 90210 — wealthy kids leading insular lives.
Not that the academy is keen to be just a carbon copy of a New England prep school. The campus's Levantine-style white stone buildings — and the tight security at its main gate — remind visitors that they're not in Massachusetts anymore. Arabic-language classes are mandatory, and humanities courses, though though taught in English, draw on the canonical works of many civilizations.
Anticipating the difficulty of persuading parents in this conservative society to send their children away to school, the academy sets strict rules governing relations between boys and girls: no kissing, no holding hands and no visiting one another's dorms.
But perhaps the biggest challenge facing the academy is beyond the control of even the most committed faculty member or enlighted royal pattern: the ever turbulent Middle East. As King Abdullah likes to say, Jordan is a country caught between "Iraq and a hard place"-i.e. Israel and the occupied Palestinian terrirtories. As much as the King would like to reform education using his flagship academy, there are more pressing problems, like the flood of Iraqi and Palestinian refugees pouring into Jordan. In such a heated environment, can an American model school thrive? Safwan Masri, the Jordanian chairman of the academy's board of trustees and a professor at Columbia Business School, is optimistic. "The one thing that almost everyone in the Middle East respects is American education," he says. "The fact that is a troubled region makes the case for this kind of school even stronger."
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Right after this discovery , a French doctor, Didier Raoult, along with his coworkers analyzed the earth and the military uniforms around these bodies and found some body parts of different lice (bugs) around these bodies. They also analyzed the teeth of many of the dead soldiers by advanced techniques examining the genetic material of the bacteria and discovered two types of bacteria, responsible for the disease epidemic typhus and Trench fever. They concluded that these disease have killed at least one third of these troops.
Whenever a study is conducted, the results should be compared with a comparison group called the control group. This control group consists of patients with very similar characteristics to the study group. Because the "patients" here were all dead, they compared the findings of the dead soldiers in Lithuania to bodies excavated from a grave in Briançon, France. The bodies in France did not carry any of the infections that the bodies in Lithuania did.
It's always been thought that typhus and fever were responsible for the death of Napoleon's soldiers but there was no clear evidence of that. This study by these physicians in the Université de la Méditerranée was able to prove that about 200 years after the death of these soldiers.
It was fascinating to make a diagnosis of an infection two centuries after it occurred. I heard Raoult speak in an international conference in Chicago last September and was honored to meet him and learn about his great achievments in different fields in infectious diseases. It was like meeting Diego Maradona or Jiries Tadros.
Ihis study was just another reminder how medicine can solve many misteries of the past, the very very past.
(P.S. Click here for a link to the full text of the study)
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
It's always locked to prevent patients from leaving. Whenver a doctor is done seeing a patient the employee at the front desk unlocks the door for him.
I have a patient there whom I'm seeing because he's HIV positive. Whenever I'm done seeing him and I'm about to leave, the employee at the front desk asks me for my ID to make sure I'm not a patient attempting to run away. He doesn't ask other doctors for their IDs.
I thought that employee had a problem with me. However, today they had a new one at he fron desk and he did ask me for my ID before I left the unit to make sure I'm not a patient.
Other doctors leave without being IDs.
It feels great when you realize that your co-workers believe that you're really crazy.
Monday, November 05, 2007
Erica was my new neighbor. She moved to the apartment next to mine a few months ago with her husband. They looked like a beautiful couple.
I couldn't get to know them better. I was busy and they were busy, but I recently noticed that they were fighting.
Now I'm sitting in my apartment, it's one in the morning, ready to go to bed. I started hearing the screams again.
This time it is getting more intense, they've been screaming for about 20 minutes now. This fight has taken too long, and ooops!! I can hear the sound of something hitting the ground really hard.
Bumm, now it's hitting the wall.
The impact was so strong I felt that I was hit.
The man was screaming, but the voice of Erica has disappeared.
I really thought he killed her.
But wait, here is her voice again, she's screaming again. She's crying , a lot. I wonder if their kid is still asleep, not sure. She's screaming again, and here we go again, he's screaming too, maybe he's crying also. But the poor lady! I've never heard anyone cry that loud.
In my old apartment I once heard such voices, and it then turned out the neighbors were just screaming in excitement for a football game. But now it's 1 in the morning, and the sounds of punching and slapping are unmistakable.
Erica was silenced again, but here she is screaming and crying again.
I'm so surprised how she knows she's gonna beaten again but she can't stay quiet, she wants to let it out.
I feel sorry for the woman, I feel sorry for the child.
I feel sorry for any woman who thinks she has no option but to live with a monster who treats her like an enemy.
Just an advice from a man with a very poor experience in relationships: Never live one more second with an abusive partner. I can bet with my life that Erica just had one of the worse nights in her life.
Abusers are ill-minded. They have plenty of psychological issues and unless they seek professional help, nothing will change.
Things WILL NOT GET BETTER just by waiting.
Here's some selected words for the battered:
Once upon a time I was falling in love
But now I'm only falling apart
There's nothing I can do
A total eclipse of the heart
Once upon a time there was light in my life
But now there's only love in the dark
Nothing I can say
A total eclipse of the heart
Thursday, November 01, 2007
I saw one employee (hopefully not a nurse) dressed up in balloons that looked like a bacteria cluster and a big sign on one of them (MRSA Monster).
MRSA stands for Methcillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria that was the talk of the media recently as a "super bug" because it is resistant to the majority of the available antibiotics. It has been around for more than 20 years.
Despite the media's focus, there are many other bacteria that are behind some horror stories in many hospitals. These bacteria cause invasive infections in any place in the body. Not a single organ is an exception.
The sad fact is that health care employees mainly physicians and nurses are behind the evolution and spread of these deadly bugs. There are two major ways how this happened.
1- They forget to wash their hands after seeing patients. MRSA would not even be a problem today if all doctors and nurses have done that!
2- Doctors tend to use antibiotics when they do not need to. For some reason doctors and patients feel much better if an antibiotics is used to treat an illness. The results are disastrous. Bacteria have the ability to quickly, sometimes incredibly quickly, develop resistance to the most powerful antibiotics in the market.
Why do I think it's a major problem in Jordan?
1- Doctors rarely ever wash their hands after or wear gloves during patient examinations. One of these powerful bugs can be transmitted from one patient to another through the doctor's or nurse's hands.
2- Nonexistent or very poor infection control programs in almost all Jordanian hospitals, where you find a patient with very poor immunity from various illnesses being placed in the same room with someone who has a significant illness. Hospitals are not taking the measures needed to prevent the evolution and spread of fatal bacteria inside hospitals.
3- Doctors tend to overuse antibiotics. Even when an antibiotic is used physicians tend to use the most powerful one. Bacteria develop resistance to these antibiotics and quickly become resistant to all antibiotics.
4- Antibiotics are sold without a prescription in Jordan and people use them for the most trivial reasons from a runny nose to food poisoning. When the time comes for this person to get a serious infection the bacteria s/he has would be resistant to all antibiotics.
5- There are almost no infectious disease specialists in Jordan to guide other physicians and hospitals in the use of the right antibiotic to the right person at the right time and for the necessary duration. As far as I know there are only 7 specialists in the whole country, all of them working in Amman.
I have worked for a few months in King Hussein Cancer Center (Al-Amal) and I have seen some bacteria there that I have never seen In the US. In one day over there we had three patient die of an infection with the same bacteria (MDR Pseudomonas). They had to shut down the whole Intensive Care Unit to get cleaned out. Unfortunately that did not work and patients still got infections with these nasty bugs.
Like many health problems, infection is a major health problem in Jordan that is being neglected. Health care workers are the major attributers to this problem and they are not realizing this. The behavior of physicians and nurses in many hospitals is hazardous to patient care and needs to be controlled.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
I will not dance with you
I will not dance for you
Your lyrics are bullets of death
preying on the breath
of my kids, and your hymn
is not mine
I will not dance to your shrine
your conscience is hard to define
your cruelty, sublime
people will remember
who danced to the trumpets
celebrating the Iraqi Auschwitz
and who stood with defiance
of the sound of silence
of people which
you've erased, you son of a bitch
their souls in heavens will wander
and your soul, no wonder,
will forever rot with you
six feet under
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Why did I do so? Because I knew every one of them had, at least on several occasions, talked about something worth talking about and realized that it wouldn't be a waste of time if you checked them out.
Here's a random list of blogs I read.
1- Kuzzin, that is my cousin Iyas. He's older than me in blogging and in reality. His humor is a reflection of a pissed-off state, and he is a lot smarter than what he appears to be. If he wasn't living in Utah I'd think he was drunk while writing every single post of his.
2- Laundry (Pick-ups), that is malaget ghassel. The Internet version of Sharihan, she is very active and creative. Comes up with interesting ideas and interacts wonderfully with all of her readers.
3- Empty Speech, "Haki Fadi" , one thing for sure when you're reading her blog: it's not haki fadi. Casual, open-minded, and welcoming, occasionally tackling serious issues. I sometimes wonder if she's Makadi Nahhas in disguise, her voice is great!
4- The Future Scorsese, that is Jordanian film director Amin Matalqa. Other than him being from Madaba, there are several reasons to like this guy. He is almost done directing the first Jordanian movie in a few decades. He talks about his career with great passion that can make you interested in reading even if you didn't give a shit about movies. He might be better than our national football team in putting Jordan on the world map.
5- Kinzi. An American Jordanian who knows Jordan better than a lot of Jordanians. One thing for sure is that she knows what she's talking about. She talks about women in her environment, about God, about her children and she does care about people with her big heart.
She also knows Arabic pretty well although when she writes it down it's as funny as hell :)
6- Red Shoes. That's Roba's "And Far Away". Arguably the most readable Jordanian blog. A lady who loves life, Amman and family, pretty much like 5% of the Jordanian population. Young but mature, daring but polite, and a geek but has a great taste. Don't insult her red shoes, it's family.
7- Gowaider, that's Qwaider and his planet. It appears that this guy has double the time anyone of us has. He's a hard worker but he writes almost daily and talks about everything and frequently he hits the nail with his entries. He allows people to write in his blog and that's cool.
8- Al Koza7iyyeh al Sawdaa2, that is the Arabic translation of the Black Iris of Nasim Tarawneh. Analytical, knowledgable, fair and cares about his country. Takes people seriously, and so he does with blogging. It's amazing how he's able to come up with interesting subjects to talk about. In the rare occasion when he doesn't, he leaves a poem for Hafiz.
9- Mokh, that is Khalidah's MIND. Her blog is rich, and she discusses the social life in Jordan on different levels. Will wait for her to return to write.
10- Loves Amman, that is Firas' "I heart Amman". Politically incorrect but sharp, doesn't hesitate to say what runs in his mind. You definitely don't have to read between the lines to read him. I would like to see him blog more.
11- Beace, that is Salam's Reflections. A good observer and a brilliant writer when she has time to write.
12- Dandara in the head, that is Natasha Twal Tynes, probably the most professional among all Jordanian bloggers who write in English. Mental Mayhem talks about freedom of the press, women's rights, and Virginia. The discussions that take place in her blog are the best in sphere.
13- Observes stuff, that is Fadi, the Observer. A very liberal blogger who might get physically hurt if he takes his opinions to the street. He has made a small nice world for himself and he easily takes you to it with his emotional writings.
14- Batir Wardam, another professional writer who doesn't usually go with the stream. He gets heavy criticism for a lot of his opinions but that only keeps him writing more and more. Very passionate about his opinions and often very convincing.
15- Sabbah, a blogger who dedicates his time to his people, and a constant reminder that Palestinians are victims. I wish we had more of him.
16- Jordan, I will be back. A very Jordanian blog. Tackles issues related to Jordanians and their lives. Has not blogged in a while though!
17- Hussein, who-sane, proved me and a few others wrong, when the story of the awful treatment his sick father received in a Jordanian hospital got to the press and resulted in sacking of an important official. I was starting to feel that blogging in Jordan was totally useless until this happened. His entries prior to that were also very interesting. He had also met Diego Maradona!
18- Tarmaweel, Lina's Turmoil. She takes you to different spots not only in Jordan but also in other areas of the world. She understands the cultural aspects of a city like Amman more than anyone else. She's vivid in her descriptions and the photos she posts are precious.
19- Tinker, recently added, a blogger who lives in the US and posts interesting stuff.
20- Lubna, her posts can be a very interesting read, especially the long ones!
Finally, I don't have one favorite blogger, and I don't think I ever will. It's like comparing apples and oranges and watermelons. I find in Jordanian blogs a lot of things that I don't find in Jordanian press: Honesty, political incorrectness and grammatical mistakes.
Overall, I think we have a wonderful bunch of blogs. Keeb it ub, Jordan.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
"Good morning Mr. Garcia"
He kept his head covered with the blanket and pretended he couldn't hear me.
"Good morning Mr. Garcia" I said again.
Now he started snoring, pretending he was asleep.
My patient, Mr. Garcia, was not a 5-year old kid. He is 72. What he was doing was a defence mechanism that many sick people have when they get sick, it's called regression.
A lot of people, even the smart intellectual ones, do the same when they become sick. They start behaving like kids, or regressing.
I am no exception.
Towards the end of my medical school, I underwent a surgery for which I stayed for 4 days in the hospital. I was a pain in the ass. All nurses and doctors hated me. I kept asking for certain kinds of food they didn't have. I screamed and moaned and was a total bitch to everyone including my roommate who was an old man a hundred times sicker than me.
A story that I'll never forget was that of Zahra, 25-year old girl from the West Bank who was being treated in King Hussein Cancer Center. She had a rare cancer that was really eating her bones and flesh. Her mother came with her in her trip to Amman and was staying with her all the time. One day I was called because the young lady was refusing to take her medications.
I went to talk to her mother, a relatively old lady who you can tell from the look on her face that she's been through a lot.
She told me, "Zahra is not taking her medications, and she is angry at me"
"Why is she angry"
"She wants Manakeesh bi Za3tar , where can I find these manakeesh?? I looked in the cafeteria they don't have them. I went up the Jordan University Hospital cafeteria and didn't find any. Ma fee manakeesh!"
It was 10 pm. I went and talked to Zahra who was crying a lot. I was trying to talk her into taking the pills, but Zahra wasn't talking at all. She was crying and crying and it was clear that it wasn't all about the manakeesh, but perhaps her devastation about her illness. Her helplessness and feelings of defeat were transformed into rage on her beloved mother, and she started behaving like a little kid who won't do anything unless she eats these manakeesh.
I took her pills from the nurse and gave it to her, and to my surprise she did take them. A week later she developed a nasty infection in her blood and was transferred to the ICU. Her cancer was fairly advanced and the infection was untreatable. She died the next day and her mother returned alone to the West Bank.
Between Zahra's ocean of tears and Garcia's acting in the bed, I realized that the little child in you is the real thing. He's the one who cries for you, the one who screams the hysterical laughs out of your mouth, the one who senses the dangers and the one who lives with you all the way.
He's with you because he is you.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Say a "K", Say a "Y", Say an "R", Say a "G",Say a "Y", Say a "z", Say an "S", Say a "T", Say an "A", Say an "N"
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Place: Alfonso's house.
Occasion: The football match between Paraguay and Peru.
People watching the game in the house: Nine Paraguayans and one Jordanian.
Temper before the game : Everyone is angry, very angry.
Reason for being angry: unknown.
Youngest person in the house: Alfnonso, 25 years old.
Oldest: His grandmother, sixty-something
Every other word used during the game: puta
Player cursed the most: Cabañas from Paraguay for missing three golden chances
Person who cussed the most: the grandmother
Person cussed the most: Hareega for being a known Argentinian fan.
Referee of the game: some Brazilian, also referred to as a "un puto grande brasilieno" 23 times
Cuss words learned during the game: none, only puta was used.
End result: 0-0
but felt like: Paraguay lost 10-0
People blamed for not winning: Paraguay's 11 players, the coach, the assistant coach, the president of Paraguay, the ex-president of Paraguay and Hareega for bringing in the evil spirit of Argentina to the house.
Number of times Hareega mentioned he's not Argentinian just a supporter of the team: 9
Number of people who believed him: zero
Paraguay's next match: tomorrow
Paraguayans who want to see Hareega during the game: zero
Paraguayans who want to see Hareega ever: zero
The population of Paraguay: six million
The population of Jordan: six million
Most popular sport in Paraguay: football
Most popular sport in Jordan: football
Average IQ (according to Richard Lynn) of Paraguayans: 85
Average IQ of Jordanians: 87
Average IQ of Paraguayans during a football game: zero
Average IQ of Jordanians during a football game: zero.