Sunday, August 13, 2006

Worrying shipments to their destination

As I write this, another shipment is being handed over to an ambulance sent by the hospital to Mosul Airport if things have gone as planned. It's almost midnight here in Califrnia and almost 11AM Monday in Mosul. I'll know in a few hours if everything went well, but it has gone smoothly in the past and I assume things will be no different this time. Still I worry, because I am half a world away and all I can do is wait and worry. Every time a shipment gets to the hospital I feel like I worried it every inch of the way on it's journey, checking FedEx tracking data and sending emails and making phone calls to try to be sure everything will go smoothly.

The last couple of weeks have been hectic because one of the helpers at the airport transferred out and a new helper transferred in and was handed responsibility for the all important refrigerator where the drugs stay until they can be picked up by the hospital. Like his predecessors he was more than happy to lend a hand but it's always a bit of a shock to people's sense of place to arrive in Mosul judging from the emails I get - little is said, but the sense I get is that it takes a while do get things down to a routine and get one's feet under one.

The new helper's name is Ken. He's done yeoman service so far, helping get two huge and totally unexpected pallets of ostomy supplies shipped by Friends of Ostomates Worldwide (FOW, ) passed off to two ambulances sent from the hospital . I knew FOW was sending the shipment, but had been told it would be carried all the way to the hospital with no need for help at the airport. Unfortunately the shipping agent misunderstood the situation in Mosul and shipped via Mosul Airport, where all freight needs military clearance before it can be moved off base. I got a phone call in the middle of the night from my contact at the hospital reporting that a storekeeper had gotten a garbled email address over the phone and they needed help locating and collecting the supplies. The email address turned out to be for the DHL office at the airport and within few days Ken and the DHL folks were able to set up an appointment and meet the ambulances at the airport gate with the pallets on a forklift, where the thirtysix cartons of ostomy supplies on the pallets were loaded on the ambulances and whisked to the hospital.

Tonight (today in Mosul) Ken will be taking an insulated carton of chemotherapy drugs with fresh ice packs in it to the same gate and meeting another ambulance. I am sure everything will go smoothly. Still, I worry, and will continue to do so until I get an email confirmation from the hospital of it's arrival. Perhaps worrying helps.


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