Can You Look At My Wife?

During my time at FOB Tillman, we would have our medical clinic open everyday for 2 hours so that local Afghan villagers could receive medical care.  In this extremely remote FOB situated along the Afghan – Pakistan border, it was common to have some villagers walk 2-3 hours to see the medics.  We would see approximately 15-30 men and children at our clinic daily.

The one thing I didn’t see at all were women showing up to the clinic.  Although I wasn’t surprised by the lack of adult female attendance as this was ultra-conservative Pashtun and Waziri tribal area, I knew that the women still needed medical care.  After a little coordination, a US Army Reserve female physician assistant (PA), was flown in for a few days to help out.

Even though we had made sure to spread the word, we had very few females show to the clinic.  On the PA’s last day, a local man approached with his wife and was very concerned.  Our interpreter informed us that he was concerned that there was something wrong with his wife because she had not produced him any children yet and he wanted the female PA to fix her.

After a brief private exam the PA called the husband back into the clinic while the rest of us waited outside.  After a few minutes the husband emerged from the clinic with a relieved expression on his face as he led his wife from the FOB.  After the clinic closed to the locals I asked the PA what she discovered that was wrong with the local’s wife.  She stated that she couldn’t find anything “wrong” with his wife but after a few prodding questions she soon discovered that the wife was a virgin as the husband had only engaged her in anal sex.  That was when the PA had called the husband back into the clinic and gave him a crash course on sex education.  No wonder why the man left with a smile and a bit more spring in his step.

This is just another example of how uneducated the majority of this country really is.  It truly does need all the help it can get.

Live free or die trying!

5 thoughts on “Can You Look At My Wife?”

  1. Oh dear God in Heaven. I started off thinking you were making the same point I tried to make in my Armed Forces Day post, yesterday.
    Now, all I can think of is Rumsfeld there are so many unknown unknowns in Afghanistan, aren’t there? Who would have thought this was the problem. No one I know..

    The Unknown
    As we know,
    There are known knowns.
    There are things we know we know.
    We also know
    There are known unknowns.
    That is to say
    We know there are some things
    We do not know.
    But there are also unknown unknowns,
    The ones we don’t know
    We don’t know. We know what we know We know what we don’t know.

    Jane Rodmyre Payfer’s last blog post..Even in dire circumstances, there is good: an Armed Forces Day Musing

  2. Wow. That’s just so unbelievably naive and ignorant –no wonder there is very little healthcare for women. I’ve read about the efforts to establish women’s healthcare clinics in those regions. As an aside, what is the life expectancy for a woman over there?
    Anyway, good work in realizing that more women need healthcare services. I’m glad you got the PA in there.

    Interestingly, oftentimes what we found is that a lot of people from poorer countries who come to the US oftentimes neglect the healthcare of their females. I can’t tell you how many women we had come into our private surgery clinic with advanced stages of cancer –stuff they’d ignored, or had been told once or twice or three times but were so afraid of surgery they did nothing about it. They were from South America, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, China –everywhere, it seemed.

    While there are shades of this situation in probably every country, I would bet that in an area of the Wazirs, it’s more extreme.

  3. Kanani,

    The life expectancy for females in the Waziri tribal areas is only 35 years old. Males are slightly higher at 42 years. Their lifestyle is extremely rough, especially without proper medical care and a basic education.

  4. Wow, love this blog….I was OEF 2008 at FOB lightning and oftne wonder how the troops are doing there and hope that they are all safe and secure and hopefully SECFOR has the eneny mortar situation under control.

    Happy New year to all Coalition Forces around the world.


    SGT Coleman

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