From Thighland to Thailand

February 21, 2012

Thailand 4.5

Filed under: Uncategorized — markchinmd @ 2:14 pm

Thailand 4.5: Heading for the border

February 21, 2012-Tuesday

Most of us are acclimating to the 90-degree heat and humidity and have recovered from jet lag.  We are dealing with the water shortage mentioned before by showering with bottled water.  I think I’ll try Avian next time to hydrate my sensitive skin.  last night we were treated to dessert by Ming with wonderful Mango sticky rice, my favorite!  Yummy, thank you Ming!

Today we traveled 2 hours to the Thailand Mennonite Brethren Foundation. It’s located near the border town of Chang  Khong situated along the Mekong River which separates Laos from Thailand. Our connection with this area is former fresnan Pastor Phonekeo Keovilay.  Born in Laos and imprisoned after the Laotian war he fled to a refugee camp where he was converted to Christianity.  He came to Fresno after training at San Jose Christian College to evangelize the Laotian population.  He felt called back to the Khmu tribe in Laos and as a missionary for the Mennonite Brethren Church, he help build this center for training lao pastors across the Mekong River.

The center is quite impressive and covers several acres and the buildings are only a few years old.  We set up house in the usual fashion and will be spending the night in separate male and female dormitories except those higher ranking couples who get to share a room.  I understand the lesser few will have to arrange conjugal visits. But most are too tired and the “headaches“ are for real.  The rest of us get to have a slumber party and pillow fights.  How fun.







Okay, stats for the day are 115 medical patients, 65 dental patients and 62 eye patients.  This is actually quite good since we only worked for about six hours starting just before noon.

One noteworthy patient passed out at the triage passed out from dehydration.  Andy has been salivating at the chance of starting an I.V.  A man with a history of diabetes came with low blood sugar and dehydration and collapsed in front of everyone.  Fortunately we had the supplies and I.V. fluids to successfully resuscitate him.  Andy Probably saved his life; it’s another day at the office for him.  We have many patients that we really can’t help like a patient who had a huge arterio-venous malformation on his face that was pulsating.  If we looked at it the wrong way it would have bled and that would have been fatal. Others like the patient with Hepatitis that we couldn’t treat or diseases that need a drug we don’t have need to have us spend time with them for the sake of caring.  Doug reminded me about patients just needing reassurance despite our limitations.

We are not expecting to treat a certain number and number crunching is not why we are here.   Quality outweighs quantity and sometimes patients just want to know that someone cares. Lena and Gail make the patient feel warm and their positions to greet the patients make them feel very welcomed.  The eye clinic continues to turnover glasses at a record pace as Mark Patton and Allyson grind away in their little corner.  It’s a dramatic change for most when they can immediately see a difference.

We cannot do what we do without all of our interpreters who have to interpret for up to three docs at a time.  They are greatly appreciated.

Top Ten things to do in Chiang rai in our spare time:

  1. Go to the day Market
  2. Walk with friends at 530 am
  3. Search for WI FI signal and surf the web
  4. Slap mosquitoes
  5. Count how many geckos are on the wall at any one time
  6. Read kindle
  7. Replenish drugs and dental supplies
  8. Eat mango sticky rice
  9. Call home
  10. Blog while everyone else is sleeping…

We are spending the night at the Foundation some sleeping on floors on pads sharing the room with up to a dozen people but it beats packing and driving back and returning in the morning.  Many patients are anticipated to cross the Mekong from communist Laos for medical care.  I hope that it will be worth their trip and efforts.  We hate to disappoint.

Got to go slap some mosquitoes-Mark

1 Comment »

  1. Hello Mark, Lena,Steven, Bill and Gail

    I am so humbled just reading about your journey…and proud to know good people doing God’s work. We lift you up in our prayers!

    Love ,
    Jack and Vicki Stonhaus

    Comment by Jack Stonhaus — February 22, 2012 @ 12:59 am

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