Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Quick Random Post

So, I forgot to put this down the other day, but it is too funny and I have to include it.
I was looking through the staff roster the other day and came across a name that made me laugh hysterically. Do you think his Filipino parents were witty or is it just a random occurrence? Decide for yourself...

Edgar Allen Hoe

How great is that?


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Do they speak American in Qatar?

Well, they came, they saw, they conquered. The family got about as much of the Qatar experience as you can in one week. It was a busy, fun, great time with some people that I love dearly. It was some of the best money I ever spent.

Saturday, Nov. 17

This was Jet Lag day. It was nice because I was able to get up and get a few things done before everyone emerged from the bedroom. It was after lunch when we got up and I decided to show the family the mall. (There is not much else to do in Qatar) So we went for some easy supplies, and they got their first taste of Arab culture. Mom didn’t believe me that the food spoils over here in just a few days. (There are no preservatives) She found out a few days later when the bread, tomatoes, etc was all bad. Anyway, we followed that up with a trip to Nando’s where we got an Espetata. This is basically a big Kebab that they bring on a big spear that hangs over your plate. Not real traditional, but fun none the less. Afterwards, we did a drive through town and headed to the Ritz for a quick tour and some tea. Soon it was back to the villa to relax and have a few drinks. I was so proud of the family, this did not help their jet lag any…but they all got up at 3:30 am to watch the game with me. Very nice.

Sunday, Nov. 18

After sleeping in a bit, I headed to work to tie up some loose ends. I came home and we hung out. We headed to Turkey Central for some traditional Arabic food for dinner. My co-worker Kevin and friend Rana joined us for the dinner. It was a nice time. Afterwards, we headed to the Souqs…which is the traditional marketplace of the old desert. This is where you barter for everything, and no price is set. It was a fun time.

Monday, Nov. 19

I headed to work for an 8:00 meeting and came home at lunch. We headed to the desert via Gulf Adventures for some kick ass dune bashing. They picked us up at 2:30 in the traditional land cruiser. Our driver was in a thobe and of course was named Mohammad. We had 2 other cars with us, one of which was Dr. K’s family and our Trauma Coordinator. We headed for the dunes. We stopped while they were letting the air out of the tires and took a short camel ride. Then we headed to the inland sea. We were able to see Saudi on the other side. Never thought my family would be within sight of Saudi Arabia. They took us to the camp where they have traditional tents set up and they provide dinner. It was a awesome night and the camp was right on the gulf. It was lit by many tiki torches and had a really nice ambiance to it. This was definitely a highlight of the trip and a recommendation to anyone that goes to a desert country.

Tuesday, Nov. 20

Since I was a nice host and let my family sleep in every day, I headed to work for the morning. This let them enjoy the pool and relax during the morning hours. I came home in the afternoon and we headed to Harley shop. Had to get some destination shirts and other items…lord knows with this traffic I am not riding anything with 2 wheels in this country. That evening we headed to the Ritz. We had a fabulous dinner at Porcini’s which is an Italian restaurant. It was a very nice highlight. Afterwards we headed to Habanos in the Ritz, which is a Cigar bar. Needless to say, Dad was in heaven. They had a Latino band playing some random music, which actually set the mood pretty nice. Hussein came and picked us up…

Wednesday, Nov. 21

I took this day off. We of course hung out in the morning and headed to Thai Chi for Lunch. It was nice to get Mom and Carrie experienced on new foods. Carrie and I went for a swim and then we headed to Majalis for dinner. This is traditional Arabic food, where you sit on the floor in a private room. We had Lamb chops, Hummus, Vegetables, Bread…so good.

Thursday, Nov. 22

I worked all day. Being a business person let me put it like this…if I accrue the equivalent of 2 hours for every 8 hour day I work, and I accrue 8 Hours for every 8 Hours I work on a holiday, it makes sense for me to take another day off during the week and then work on the holiday. I got home and the family was at the pool. Enjoying the nice weather and facilities. We all went back and got dressed, we met John and his wife, Connie and her husband and went to Garvey’s for the evening. This is the British style pub in town that is not too far from where I live. We knew the girl singing and it was a nice time. Carrie actually said it felt more like home. We had some traditional fish and chips…mmm so good.

Friday, Nov. 23

We all got up and headed out in the city. Friday is the best day to drive around and get random stuff done because everyone is at the Mosque (kinda like Sunday Morning in the states). So we went to the Cornice and around the city and saw the random landmarks, fountains, etc. Carrie got numerous random pictures, then we tried to drive into the desert so I could get here a camel crossing sign, but with all of the construction, they had the signs down or moved. We ran out of time. At 2:45, Hussein showed up and took us to Connie’s for Thanksgiving Dinner. There was about 20-25 people there with about nationalities represented, it was awesome. A really good experience for the family. We had all the traditional food with some kick ass pumpkin soup. That is a must try! Our Filipino secretaries brought over their karaoke machine and it was on from there. We sang and partied until late that night.

Saturday, Nov. 24

It was a short, sad day. Everyone was up early, packed and out the door. We had to leave at 9:00 because their flight was at 11:30. We said our goodbyes and it will be February before I see those wonderful people again. The rest of the day was doing laundry and laying on the couch. I have to stay up late tonight thanks to the time change for the game, and the next 3 days at work are going to be killer.
That was a great week, and like I said before a week full of great memories I will remember for the rest of my life. I truly have a great family and I love them all dearly. I apologize to all of my friends and others I have not responded to in the last couple of weeks via email or phone. The impending arrival, work craziness, and visitors I was not able to get back to everyone. Hopefully this week I will be in touch with a few people every night. Talk to you all soon… Let Go’s WVU…Let’s build on the present we got from Arkansas. Cheers!

Pics of the invasion...

Dune bashing in the desert...
Dad on a Camel

Prior to our dinner after the dune bashing. This is a traditional Bedouin tent

So, they wanted a "No Sunglasses" Picture. So we are probably all squinting. This is on the Cornice, the big Pearl fountain.

The Family in Doha

Saturday, November 17, 2007

West Virginia Invasion

So, to all of those wondering...they are here. Mom's first trip out of the country, and it is to the middle east. They got here all of you wondering, relax. (Although I think Mom is still looking for the Eiffel Tower) When they met me just out side of the airport Mom stated it was "Just like beach weather". Since I have the smallest car on the face of the Earth, I got Chaker to go with me to the airport because I knew the family would bring lots of luggage. They actually were pretty subdued with it. Anyway, Chaker loaded up all of the luggage...and the family rode with me. We took a slightly strange route home and they got to see Doha traffic up close.
Adults in the front seat are required to wear seatbelts. However there are no car seat a stoplight, we looked over and there was a kid standing on the center console with a metal knife and fork in his hand. Mom was amazed...welcome to Doha.

Like any Weyen function, last night turned into a drunk fest. Carrie and I stayed up till about 3:00am, Mom and Dad made it till about 1:30 - 2:00ish. Lots of Jack Daniels, John Smith, and Killkenny. I went really traditional with them last night...we had Pizza Hut for dinner. (Don't worry, it was planned that way)

Well I am up and they are still in bed. I am going to read the paper and watch some tv. Talk to you soon.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Doha Endurance

A team of these guys ride for 8 hours...isn't that crazy? Usually if they wreck, they get right back up and keep racing. These guys are moving...

Endurance Race Pics

Check out the packed stands! This is the middle of the race. About 1000+ support staff, 160+ EMS providers...and about 200-500 spectators.

These pods are spaced out along the track. Track people, EMS, officials, etc. These guys hang out here for 8+ hours. (EMS rotates their guys!)

So, being with the EMS Director, I could get close. These guys are about 12-25 feet from me.

You know you have money when the race lets you use BMW SUVs as Medical Response Cars. That is our head of scheduling. These guys loved it!

Mountaineers? In Doha????

Ok…so here I go again. I know I start out most of my posts like this…but it has been crazy busy. I have been pouring over polices all day long reading, retyping, correcting, etc. so when I come home, I do not want to type anymore. Hopefully that will be over soon. Actually, Julie finally sent me the book she has been working on for like 6 months and I am supposed to be reading it…but since it is electronic it is going to have to wait a few more weeks.

So, we had a tussle with these dang radios I am trying to get installed. Actually, I inherited the problem. It was not mine to begin with. Anyway, our Trauma doc…who I like…even though he is from Alabama and is a Tennessee fan… caught me at a meeting and told me the radio was not working (we installed in last week). I knew this, however I was just informed about 10 minutes prior to his rant. I told him I was on it and he kept coming back to this freaking radio crap. I had to basically say “What do you want from me…short of calling the emir himself I am doing everything I can” Moving on…our radio guy showed up after the meeting and we took the radio back to the shop, fixed it and had it back in service in about 30 minutes. It was a simple fuse problem. When putting it back in, the ER director rolls through with our Trauma doc and something came to light. First, that they would be getting very little information from that radio as we are in the stages of training 660 staff to properly use it. This is going on for a few months. Second, the channel was programmed wrong. It was still usable, just incorrect…a programming fix which could be done the next day. This led to an impromptu meeting in his office that included a hurried call to the assistant director of EMS who hurried over, our radio guy, trauma doc, me, and some other guy who is worthless. To make a long story short…he basically wanted us to suspend the entire training that we were doing to teach our entire staff how to use the radio in 3 days. This basically put me, the EMS guy, and our medical director into an uproar. Turns out that with scheduling and instructors, it is not feasible. Also, the funny part is…the Trauma team is supposed to be teaching all of the nurses in the country how to answer the radio…and they haven’t even begun…so who were we going to talk to? Sorry this is kinda jumbled…and I left some stuff out…but now I can remember it later.

We have a new communications guy from Pittsburgh that came to town for a 3 week assessment. I tried to show him around the first week and we went to dinner. After leaving dinner, we were in basically stopped traffic. The guy in front of me took his foot off the brake to inch forward, about 2 seconds later I was rear ended. Very light, no damage. It was by a Qatari. However, you know he was texting or playing with his cell phone and saw the guy in front of me start to move and just assumed that I would ride his ass like everyone else in this country does. Freaking idiots. I am sooo glad there was no damage to either car or injuries.

I did go to a bar last week that made me feel like home. It is called Garvey’s…it is a UK bar and the clientele is mainly white ex-pats. (There has been grumblings of discrimination…trust me…it happens at this bar..) They had a band from the UK that would mumble stuff into the microphone and the crowd would go crazy. It was kinda cool. Had some fish and chips and some beer. Nice change of pace. Not too busy, etc. Anyway…the funny part of it was that I met a girl from West Virginia there. What are the odds? You know me…wearing WVU crap. Anyway, this lady noticed my WVU stuff and came over to chat. She is a school teacher, is from wheeling, and has been here since 1993. Are you kidding me? That is way too long to stay in this town. She did tell me how much the place has grown and how different it is now. It was really cool catching up with someone from WV. Don’t you love the Randomness of Doha? This is truly the new melting pot of the world. I interact daily with people from so many countries. It is not uncommon for a day to go by where I talk with people from 10, 12, even 15 different countries. Crazy…

This is more random. So I have been keeping up with the workouts, exercise, and trying to eat right. One of our Doctor’s wives now has a cardio kickboxing class on Sunday nights. She definitely kicks your ass. Her husband is there too and there is only about 4-6 in the class…so I don’t feel too weird. However, it is a great change from my daily workout routine plus it gets the job done. Also…some other friends at UPMC have starting going to spinning class on Monday nights. I have joined in this as well. It is a different way to ride a bike, but it challenges you and like before is a good change of pace.

So this morning…the power was out. That is easy for me to figure out because my CPAP stops working. (Kinda hard to breathe with a mask on that is no longer giving you air) It sucks when the entire house runs on power. No water pressure (we all have our own pumps), no lights, no TV, etc. Plus today was foggy here. Apparently that happens in the winter. Thick, dense fog…it lifted about the normal time you would expect, but a really sudden change when you are used to looking out every morning for 4 months and see blue skies an bright sunshine.
I am currently getting ready for the WV invasion this weekend. It is going to be fun. Hopefully mom will not get sick when we go dune bashing and Carrie and I do not get arrested for chanting Let’s Go Mountaineers out the window at 3:00 am…we will see! I will talk to you all soon… Cheers!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Masa Il Kher

First, EMS finally got there website up and running. They were supposed to come to me for editing issues prior to launch, but we went ahead and launched it. Next week I get to spend a day editing it to make it grammatically correct. I even made the site...I am teaching on the training page...check it out.

So, I know it’s been a while…but it has been crazy. I am in the thick of things now. I am kicked it into high gear. The supervisors told they have noticed a change, the people at R and A (Regulatory and Accreditation…an entire department that is supposed to work on policies that have let 40 of ours go for over 4 months…sound familiar) do not like the timeline I have imposed on them. We are kicking some ass. I figure that either I will get stuff done or I will get deported…either way, I win!

Ok, first some insights into the country. Everybody hates regulatory agencies, I myself are included in that mix. However, when you move to a 3rd world country (which I firmly believe Qatar is…A friend of mine put it as a 3rd world country with a lot of bling) you see the benefits of regulatory agencies. You cannot get your car’s body worked on over here if it is damaged unless you have a police report. Even if you back into a pole at the mall. However, you can pass numerous cars going down the road that do not have tail lights, the doors are tied on, shooting out tons of exhaust, etc. When you buy an electrical appliance, you have to take it out of the box before you leave the store to see if you need to buy an adapter before you go home. Kids are bouncing around the car like it is a playpen, yet EMS gets complaints that we did not treat well enough last month when some local got into a wreck and their kid was ejected 50 feet and died. You think addressing is bad in WV? You have no idea…this is a slippery slope. If the road has a name, and if it has a sign, and if the people actually have numbers outside of their house, you might get an address…but more than likely not. We are starting to address this because someone finally realized that it is jacked up. Information from home phones will soon come up when you dial 9-9-9 like in the US. Information will also come up when you call 9-9-9 from a cell phone. All phones here have GPS capabilities…and that information is supposed to be transmitted immediately to the 9-9-9 center when called. We will see how that works out. No one has addresses because all mail in the country goes to PO Boxes…actually they are out of PO Boxes now and there is a waiting list. Instead of adding more, they just make a waiting list. Until then…you get no mail.

I spoke of RNA above…but here is the reader’s digest version of what happened. We submitted them in June to the department (before I got here) The director when on leave (for over a month)…then the Assistant Director went on leave…then it was Ramadan, then Eid…then when I approached them about them..they had no idea where they were. The finally looked at them the day before our meeting which I had to schedule to get some of these jackasses working. These policies were reviewed numerous times and compared to JCI standards again and again. We have new protocols that are going online basically the 1st of December…many of our new protocols (that were approved)…related to policies. Like Death in the Field, Undeniable Death, Medication Administration, etc. These have to be in effect before them. This RNA group told me that we had to wait until Jan until an actual JCI person looked at the policies. Whatever. I gave them a week to approve 10 policies at a time and I am going to set up camp in their office to make sure they get it done. It is going to be hard to move a certified West Virginia redneck from your desk without help. We will see what happens.

More work stuff…our Medical Director (another UPMC guy) and I just completed a very comprehensive document that I think would be very beneficial to do at Mon EMS. It is called the 4R document. Recruitment, Retention, Remediation, and Release of needed staff. We analyzed EMTs, EMTIs, Paramedics, Supervisors, Communicators, and Critical Care Paramedics for Australia, South Africa, US, UK, and Canada. We analyzed every part of what was wrong, why we needed it, what we need to continue operations, including salaries. It was really difficult and challenging, but I think it really gives administration something to sink their teeth into. We all know you have to use smoke and mirrors with them to get stuff done, but when you have weeks and months of research to present and defend everything…it is a very good weapon to have in your arsenal.

Ok…so one more work related item before I get to me. We had a guy the Head of Engineering that was very helpful to the UPMC project and everyone else at HMC, a good British guy. We are doing some actual physical changes in addition to the flow and process changes. This guy has been here 25+ years and is a really go to guy. The only problem in an Arab world is that no one will make a decision without the consent of their boss. This causes major issues as he was very integrated in many of our projects and his assistants and stuff were not. Last weekend he was on the treadmill at his gym and he collapsed with a massive infarct. He was Asystolic when EMS got there. That is a huge loss for not only the corporation, but the project and the hospital as well. This guy was doing so much for so many…and now no one knows what all is going on. The moral of this story is to delegate. In all that you do, make sure someone knows a little about what is going on so they can carry on if you need to. Tell your next in line about projects, tell your sister where you keep your will, teach your wife to write checks….etc. Sorry…I digress….Anyway…a huge loss for all.

Good news for egg lovers….

So last week after work one day I went to Rydges with a Dr. that I don’t get along with too well…(actually I called him a dick in a recorded, minuted, meeting)…and another nurse. It was OK, but there is only so much I can handle of I am better than you stories. The big kicker is that I know the way around…I am in the field working with supervisors 2 days a week…We were heading away from our house and it took me 5 minutes of arguing with him that we were going the wrong way home. He kept saying..if we stay on this road we will get home…I was like “If you stay on this road we will see Saudi, the US, and Hawaii before we ever see home” Anyway…the fish and chips were great and the nurse and I found we had a similar like for 2003 Harley’s…He plans on buying one when his contract is finished.

So, last week I went to Oktoberfest held at the intercontinental. It was a freaking blast. They had every type of food you could imagine (German, that is)…German beer and wine, a band that kicked ass and was in the crowd. They had a guy that would chug the 1 liter beers all night long. It was absolutely awesome. I am going to post some pictures and video. You will enjoy. Too awesome to list all of it.

Lastly, you would be surprised how much certain people keep up with US politics. The Australian guys are always talking to me about Bush, the Presidential race, etc. They know very deeply some of the things going on there…and it amazes me that they know it better than some people that actually have a stake in the US. These guys stopped by my office and were talking about the fires, I got emails if I knew anybody in the bridge collapse. That just amazes me. I couldn’t tell you who the PM of Australia was or what the first thing going on down there is. I guess that is just reinforcement that the US has the eye of the world on it…and we need to take that responsibility seriously.

Well, I am going to go watch some TV…then maybe a swim. Have a good day. More to come soon.