Day 0: March 28, 2017 – Trip prep in my apartment in SF

Published: April 1st 2017
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Finally all set. Luggage all packed and in 2 hours leaving for the airport. Seth, the Paragon 28 rep, is going to drop off some supplies and then drive me to the airport. I am meeting up with Dr. Scott Hoffinger, a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon also from Stanford, at the airport and we are flying Emirates from SFO to Dubai to Kuwait where we will await a shuttle to Basrah. That’s what they tell me, anyway.

Packing was interesting. I have a lot of long sleeved shirts, long skirts and pants. I have two scarves – unclear if I will need to cover my head or not. I brought my white coat as I feel this will be the most recognizable at the hospital, as I assume most people will wonder what the white, redheaded woman is doing there. I am bringing 10 Stanford neck ties for gifts which takes up the majority of my suitcase (in gift boxes). I feel prepared. I am bringing some screw caddies as well as some allograft bone (there is no allograft in the Iraq hospitals) and otherwise, I was trained to work with very minimal resources so I should be able to perform most surgeries with the resources provided. I was supposed to bring sterile gloves, which I forgot, as there are no female surgeons in Basrah and I have small hands. But I will make do.

I have 18 hours in the air between two flights, where I plan to prepare my lectures for the trauma conference. Weirdly looking forward to the flight – rare that I am forced to sit down, be still, and get things done that I’ve been meaning to get done for the past year. There is a new travel law so I cannot carry on my laptop BACK from Dubai to SFO. Concern for wifi detonated bombs is the word. I have a feeling I may be so tired after this trip I’ll sleep the whole way back anyway.

Dr. Scott Hoffinger has been to Basrah many times, which makes the trip much easier. I wonder if I should be more nervous than I am, but I’m not. Calm. Totally at peace. Far from my first interesting travel experience, but my first time in the Middle East. The whole time it has just felt right. Looking forward to the experiences to come.


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