I recently had an amazing experience that I wanted to tell you about. In November I was one of the speakers for the World Radiography Day seminar at the Aspetar Orthodedic and Sports Medicine Hospital in Doha, Qatar.
Here’s how I ended up there. A year ago I was asked to speak on digital radiography for the ASRT at the RSNA in Chicago. Attending that talk was Donna Smith, who is the supervisor of the radiology department at Aspetar. Soon after she wrote and invited me Doha. It took ¾ of a year to get everything finalized but in the end Donna pulled it all off and everything was set.
On the Friday before the seminar I flew out of San Francisco at noon and after a 4 hour flight to Chicago and then the big13 hour flight, I was in Doha. It was also Saturday evening now. Thankfully Aspetar is very generous with flights and purchased a business class ticket for me. I could easily write an entire article just describing the magnificence of that Qatar Airlines business class flight. Suffice it to say my seat turned into a bed, I was served gourmet delicasies whenever I wanted them and there was an 18” monitor built into the seat in front of me with countless free movies to watch (which I did while wearing the pajama/sweats they gave us).
After visa, customs and getting my baggage, Donna was there to pick me up. Yayyy!!! My hotel (the Torch) was about 45 minutes away and was spectacular. It was a 5 minute walk to the hospital and is surrounded by indoor sports arenas and outdoor playing fields, as well as a gorgeous park and incredibly upscale indoor mall.
Doha is super modern and everything is written in both Arabic and English. Qatar (pronounced like the word cutter) is a small country shaped like a finger that sticks out into the Persian Gulf and Doha is right on the water.
The next morning was the World Radiography Day seminar. As jet lag was already kicking in, I was up and rolling by 3 am, so by the time it began at 8 am I was raring to go. The director of the radiology department, Salwa …., likes to have lots of speakers who each get 15-20 minutes for their presentation. It’s a great idea as many different topics can be covered by all kinds of people. I was very fortunate that she allowed me to have two 30 minute slots. In that time I was able to present “Mastering Digital Radiography & Radiation Protection” in its entirety.
The next day they had hired me to consult with the staff about using the high kV and low mAs techniques. Luckily they had already done a lot of this after Donna saw me last year at th RSNA because the department was super busy and they barely had a chance to talk with me (how typical is that?). The department primarily works on athletes and has general x-ray, CT and 2 MRI’s. Everyone was pumping that day and it showed me once again that diagnostic imaging is very similar no matter where you are.
The next morning I flew over the Persian Gulf (a one hour flight) and landed in Dubai where I proceeded to have a blast touristing around and seeing the sights. Two of the highlights were the Burj Khalifa, which is the tallest building in the world at just over ½ a mile tall (spectacular from the 148th floor observation deck and at the base) and skidubai, where I spent a morning snowboarding and skiing indoors.
On the way home I slept 14 of the 20 hours I was in planes and a week later I was just getting over the jet lag. I can’t tell you how weird it is to wake up at 3 am and be wide awake and ready to take on the day.
I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season.