Wednesday, May 23, 2007

my first walk in mosul

The absent sounds of bullettes did not take long and came back to my ears.. gunmen attacked police station near the hospital on the third day in Mosul and vehicle ban was declared in the city and to my surprise my colleagues told me : it is a vehicle ban, a very good time to take a walk in the city, come on doctor let us go out..

I went with him cause he seems wise, and I was reassured when saw the high number of people in the streets walking all around as if nothing happened and children made the streets as a football stadium and everywhere you see youngmen with their plastic balls shouting and running in a chaotic happy way.. they are not organized, they do not like rules…

We saw an old minaret called "al hadba'a" which dates back to 1000 years as my colleagues told me.. to the Othman era..

We say many churches

Tomb of Younan prophet from outside (the prophet taken and then released by a big fish)

And walked in an old quarter of the city

comeing back to life in Mosul

I reached Mosul while it was raining, the Taxi was not alloed to enter the hospital due to some security causes so I walked for about 5 minutes under the rain… I was still worried because I did not saw Mosul before and was thinking about how would the hospital look like and whether the house of doctors will be comfortable… and above all that the travel from Baghdad to Mosul took 9 hours in car and I was very tiered.. but rain let me really feel am traveling, I was not prepared for this rain, it never rain this time in Baghdad, so I did not bring any umbrella or clothes to walk under this rain.. I walked few meters fast.. get wet enough.. I decided I walk at ease.. walking fast won't help.. I let that rain to take some of the sorrows of Baghdad away from my mind..
My first day in Mosul was good and the second day I was welcomed by my colleagues and senior psychiatrist (8 senior psychiatrists and 8 resident doctors in psychiatry) and in the evening what surprises me is that there is no sounds of bullets in the neighborhood..
I went out to the garden and took these pictures to IBN SEENA general hospital in mosul..

Friday, May 18, 2007

the poor neglected woman with mental disorder

It was late in afternoon and before lunch, at the peak of my usual daily headache where a man with 2 women (one is in wheel chair) entered my room and the man anxiously asked that I help them by admitting his sister (in the wheel chair) to the our ward (the psychiatric ward). I asked them to sit down and tell me their story and the brother start to speak with anxious angry voice, interrupted at the peaks by the other (well) sister… the woman in the wheel chair was drowsy, sleepy, gave me a poor eye to eye contact at first but then ignored me and all the other surroundings and seem to be very sleepy…the story came as this from the mouth of the brother:
Before 2 days she was completely normal, not completely normal…. I mean…she has mental illness since years … but she was stable… till 2 days when we went to visit her in the home she lives in with her other brother… we knocked the door but she did not answer… we were sure she was inside so we broke the door and found her lying at the floor and blood was coming out of her ear…

What ear? (I asked..)
Her ear.. (answered her brother)
I meant left or right? (I asked him again)
What ear? (he repeated my question to the normal sister which did not respond but start to gaze at her sleepy sister)

I was surprised by their story, I was surprised because they came after 2 days.. what did they wait for? Why they came to the psychiatry unit? How come they did not know the ear that was bleeding?...
They felt that am feeling surprised so the brother said:
Doctor we do not live with her so we do not know her condition good
Where is the brother who lives with her?
He has work..
That meant he can not bring her to hospital..

I decided that I exam the woman.. she was wearing hijab, I asked her permission to take off the hijab, she did not answer, I took it off slowly and to my greater surprise found dry blood around her ear, and large ecchymosed area (bluish area due to accumulation of blood beneath the skin), my friend doctor wisam was hearing all the conversation so he asked them to do skull x-ray. The brother told us:
Doctor please admit her!
First do the skull x-ray (answered doctor wisam).

Doctor wisam wrote the paper that will let them get access to the free service of the same hospital we were in… they did not thanked us.. they went… we went to lunch… after that we were called to see the x-ray and it was this x-ray:

There was a bullet inside her skull… we searched for the site of entrance of the bullet but there was no site but the external ear opening!!
Take her to the surgical unit (doctor wisam said)
Her brother answered with cold blood that let me feel my forearm hair erected: doctor am tiered from going here and there.. is the surgical ward far from here?

qween tree

these are more pictures of the queen tree

That day I felt fatigue and I was avoiding conversations with my colleagues preferring to sit alone in complete silence while letting my eyes getting lost into gazes that scan the surroundings without exactly knowing what they see, and my head was going as a blank blackboard, but you can find the traces of the old words that was written by white and other colorful chock by the hands of the psychiatric ward.. I let them write on my mind blackboard all they want, and it came as a panorama of Iraqi languages: Arabic, Kurdish, Turkish, Armani, Assyrian, and others all speaking there problems so the threads of their stories get tied in my head today to a degree that I preferred to give my self a rest from talking… I went blank….
After the lunch I found my self tired so I went to bed and to my surprise I fell in deep sleep for about 3 hours, followed by rest in front of the TV alone changing the channels while the TV sound is too low..
My colleague told me that it is time to go to have dinner.. I told him to go before me and that I will follow him.. I took my clothes on slowly hopping that my colleague will find a person to talk to so that he will not talk to me.. I went slowly to the room where we usually have dinner but I found no one there.. I heard voices coming from the window, looked and found that doctors are having dinner in the garden… I put my headphone on and opened the radio of my mobile phone on the Air Force Radio (of the US army) while I walked to the garden hopping I will be more isolated from the sounds outside.. and it was this song:

No matter how hard I try
You keep pushing me aside
And I can't break through
There's no talking to you
It's so sad that you're leaving
It takes time to believe it
But after all is said and done
You've gonna be the lonely one
Do you believe in life after love?
I can feel something inside me say
I really don't think you're so strong enough
Do you believe in life after love?

This song (by Cher named Believe) made me smile for the first time in that day while am interring the garden where a fresh cold air came into my face hitting deep into my nose reaching my soul from there… I took out the ear pieces from my ears and looked above.. sky was deep blue in a strange way, and there was a lonely tree at the corner of the garden, it is in deep green, its contrast with the deep dark sky was amazing, as if am seeing this for the first time…
I hided my smile so that I do not look more strange than am really is today.. But that sight reminded me how life can be beautiful..
I came back to my normal level of functioning and took my lunch to sit beside my colleague and start to talk to him and he was happy to have me back again talking again.. we talked too much about all the silly things that we can talk.. I was suddenly happy and laughing with a true joy and my colleague was happy for me.. as I noticed..

At night, when all went to sleep I went back to that tree… how wonderful it is.. in Arabic language the word "tree" is feminine so I will refer to the tree by "she"..
She is tall.. high…and slim from below and strait.. then at the half of her way to stars above her leaves start to rise pointing to the sky…
There are blue looking small headed flowers around the garden all looking to the tree as small servants look to their queen, the tree…

She got a sister standing in the nearby garden, who is little shorter and more obese, I think the queen is the older sister.. the wiser..
At night I took all these picture to her by my poor quality mobile camera… and the next morning I was completely normal so I went again to the garden in the afternoon to say hi to my magical queen which healed me yesterday and took this picture to her