From Thighland to Thailand

February 22, 2012

Thailand 4.6

Filed under: Uncategorized — markchinmd @ 4:09 pm

Thailand 4.6: Wake up call

February 22, 2012-Wednesday

Bob Wu made an interesting comment that my journal writing has been, say, more subdued than in the past.  Perhaps it’s been that I am being more polite and writing more facts and recounting experiences and reporting rather than commentating my “feelings”.  Personally I like writing with more feelings and passion but I have to remind you that my wife is accompanying me this trip so I am trying to behave myself.  Please make a comment at the end and tell me what style that you prefer.  I would like to keep the readers attention and perhaps entertained so it wont be so boring.

Sight for sore eyes vs. eye sore:

Sight for sore eyes is seeing the last patient of the day after going nonstop.   I want you to close your eyes and picture that old Burt Reynolds pose for a women’s magazine lying on his side with his hand propping up his head with strategically placed hands.  Provocative isn’t it.  Now picture Richard, hand on his head propping his head with a sheet strategically placed over his belly with this grin on his mouth.  I was afraid to ask whether or not he had anything on underneath. That’s an eye sore.  That is why I slept in another room otherwise I would have had nightmares.  I wish I had that camera…

We have real early birds.  Larry’s was up at 0400 surfing the web. Bill was up since 0300 trading stocks in the wee hour and has a software program to alert him of opportunity to buy/sell.  Its just to much work but I guess its worth it to him,   No, I know its worth it because he’s already in retirement.  “Gold is going Up”, he says.  too bad the only gold I own is in my mouth.  Now I know why I’m not rich.

The women came out of their dorms  ready to go for a stroll but came into our building so they wont’ disturbed those still sleeping in their building.  What about those that are still sleeping in our building.?   Gail, Lena, and Lynelle followed by allyson came in literally walking right over steven who was sleeping on the floor in the middle of the room.  They treated him like he was the door mat.  Poor steven so bill and I drug him over to the side of he the room lest he be furthered disturbed.  I don’t like to talk at 5 am but the girls always seem to find something to talk about.

Since we were all eventually up early we got prepared for breakfast.  Already the Lao school kids who come from the villages were ready to take a van to school.  A van half full already came to pick them up and the dozen kids standing in line eventually piled into the back of the van one by one.  The Lao are really efficient; they can fit 25 kids in one van. But interestingly their van doesn’t bottom out compared to the van carrying 12 of us Americans.

We had a very productive day today and had to turn back a few patients who travelled to see us.  We felt bad since many came from Laos across the border.  We treated many physical ailments but Kane treated a number of patients spiritually by praying for and with them for their physical and emotional healing.  Kane has that gift of compassion and patience and takes the opportunity to evangelize whenever possible.

Daily tally: 287 patients seen

  1. Medical: 160 patients
  2. Dental:      65 patients
  3. Eye:            62 patients

Top 5 ailments I’ve seen in missions:

  1. joint pain
  2. back pain
  3. numbness
  4. hand pain
  5. heartburn

Top 5 helpless moments treating patients:

  1. Arterio-venous Malformation of the face
  2. Infant Cleft lip and palate
  3. Bone pain in my whole body
  4. Symptoms changing when there is a full moon
  5. HIV

Top 5 Treatments I wish I could honestly suggest:

  1. Change jobs
  2. Don’t sit on the floor and don’t stand
  3. Drink alcohol
  4. Get a Thai massage
  5. Eat better




We pack our bags after feeling satisfied and productive and say our good byes to our host Pastor Phonekeo and Directors Robert and Chris Davis.  However, I am a miffed at Bill.  Okay, I am po’d.  As you know I like to take photos for documentation and Kodak moment opportunities.  My photos are usually in the journal so I have to take more than enough photos.  I guess I’ve been replaced by Steven who gets free reign of the place and of people.  Bill let him take photos of the combined group with a dozen different cameras of several team.  But Steven wasn’t in any of the photos and since it was his first time I wanted him to be in at least one photo with the group so I quickly stepped out and said, “Just one more photo please.” he says NO!  We have to go! And reluctantly returns to his position and doesn’t’ smile.  Okay I took 30 seconds to take the final photo.  You can see his eyes roll up into his head.  So now we rush cause he wants to get back quickly and pack the bags and away we go.  We aren’t even 5 minutes down the main road and then the vans are pulling over next to the Mekong River.   I thought we had a flat or something.    People exit the other two vehicles en mass to take a photo of this bright boat travelling down the river.  I guess it’s a Kodak moment.   I see Bill and Gail checking out the right position for a photo with the river in the background and he’s checking out the lighting so that the sun would hit softly on his face to shadow out his bags and wrinkles and the two are combing their hair and posing and smiling like a honeymoon picture taking their sweet time.  I can read his lips through my van window saying “Take another shot to be sure.”  I was stuck in my van in the third row against the window opposite the door sitting next to Richard who was barricading me with his eyes staring at me saying ”you’re not getting out.”  Yes sir master sergeant!  So I missed that shot.  All I want is consistency Mr. team Leader.   I can’t wait to see the lovebird photo of Dr. Hypocrite Ho.  Oh, I thought you were in a hurry?!?

I think I’m being seduced by the dark side (I have even seen a star wars t-shirt on an Akha elder before) as I have been hanging around with the wrong crowd.  I had befriended an Akha elder the last few trips.  She’s the one who got me to try the betelnut plant that has an addictive drug that causes chronic users to get dark red/black teeth.  It gives you a little buzz but can be sedating as I had discovered.  I saw her again this trip and she greeted me with smiles, sometimes being a little too friendly, but I thought it was their custom and hospitality.  Now I am not so sure what her particular individual’s motives were.  I discovered through a reliable source that this 75ish year old lady just spent two months in prison with her son for using opium and peddling the drug.  No lie.  Really.  I’ve been comingling with a felon! Her own village turned her in due to the strict codes or laws that they have and so for her own good she was taken away and put in prison so that she could rehab and detox off the drug.  I’d like to see if I can get her on the Dr. Drew show.  I suspect, though not confirmed that she may have wanted me to, you know, deal for her.   Be the usa connection perhaps.  So I am, at least being cautiously optimistic and giving her the benefit of the doubt.  She’s a nice lady and always seemed happy.  I thought she was high on life but it could have been something else.  I’m glad she cleaned up her act.  Praise the Lord!

May the force be with you-Mark


  1. Great to be able to follow the medical mission team. Brings back memories of helping and serving. Keep up the good work and sharing God’s love.


    Comment by Leroy — February 23, 2012 @ 3:45 am

  2. Hi Mark et al! Libby here. Love reading your blog, I’m glad it has a catchy title, was easy to pull out of the dark depths of my memory. Wish I could be there with you all, praying for safety as you travel. Say hello to all my friends on the Fresno team…..i hope you don’t get run out of town again this trip.

    Comment by Libby — February 23, 2012 @ 5:22 pm

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