From Thighland to Thailand

March 3, 2012

Thailand 4:15

Filed under: Uncategorized — markchinmd @ 12:54 am

Thailand 4.15: Wax on wax off

March 2, 2012-Friday

Six things you need to know before you go:

  1. Dr. Tajiri tried to hypnotize Steven to help with his insomnia.  But Dr. Chinn who was listening fell asleep instead.
  1. A group of 4 vacationing Asian women at one of our pit stops approached Richard while he was sitting on a bench.  He graciously got up to allow them to sit down but they waved their hands “no” and asked instead if they could take a picture with them. Richard, who is quite photogenic, was  quite a celebrity.
  1. Don’t get a haircut in Thailand.   Steven almost did literally get his ears lower when the stylist nicked his ear and drew blood. I’m glad he got his hepatitis B shot. He does look a cute if not a little Thai.
  1. I am still the butt of the jokes especially when I fell on my behind today thinking there was a chair there.  I think Bill pulled it out when I wasn’t looking. Maybe Pastor.  Maybe someone I’m blogging about. My pride was hurt more that my buttocks thanks to the extra padding.
  1.  Yonnie was given grass jelly drink and felt something in her mouth and spit it out.  It looked like a leech.  Black and slimy.  She started gagging and ran to the bathroom to upchuck.  You can hear Cindy’s unique laugh then it turns hysterical when she calmly comes back and Bob spits out the same making it look like he had worms in his drink too.  Ghan’s was rolling on the ground too.  It just was the grass jelly.
  1. Contrary to belief, Bill is a nice and caring guy. It was nearly 11 pm and Allyson hadn’t returned from shopping.  This was about her 27th trip back to the bazaar.  He paced back and forth looking down the street and eventually went back to the dingy streets to look for her saying as he was leaving “Mark, I need your gun.”  I only had a flashlight, not even my Defender Surefire.  He took a deep breath and said hesitantly, “Ok”.   He returned15 minutes later genuinely concerned, “no Ally in the alley.”  As I continued typing I suggested that he check her room.  “I did!”  “Go check again.” I heard in the distance, “Tell me when you go on a date!”  He returns smiling and chuckling relieved.  “I guess she slipped by us.”  That is really surprising since very little gets by Bill.

The Sahasartsuksa school in Chiang Rai is great to come back to.  It was established by an American Baptist missionary, Cecil Rupert over 50 years ago in1959.  Some demographics:

  • 50 years in existence
  • 2339 students
  • 80% Hillside Tribe
  • 20 % Thai
  • 60% Christians
  • 30% Buddhists
  • 10% other religions
  • Luka Chermue’s alma mater

The children are so cute.  They remove their shoes and line up along the wall waiting patiently waiting their turn.   They bow politely with a nod of their tiny heads when answering questions affirmatively. We see lots of sniffles and coughs and colds and run out of cold medicine fast.  We saw ear infections and rashes.  Many of the adults I saw wanted lumps and bumps removed.  Apparently moles are not in this year.  The dentists do their usual cleaning and restoration but these teeth aren’t as bad as the villages.  The optometrist aid in reading and prescription glasses so the children can read and its helped alleviate some of the headaches they complain about.  I quickly get out of my comfort zone with these little crying kids.  They look like they’re afraid of me.  Frankly, I am afraid of them and those wide-eyes staring and glaring at me thinking “Don’t even think of touching me.”  Personally, I’d rather send them to Doug or Jack who are used to kids but there are too many and I have to carry my weight.   However, I just had the hardest case of the trip, maybe my entire career.  I couldn’t do it alone. The process took over two hours compounded by the limited space and in the makeshift OR table in the classroom. We work under harsh conditions.  It was a child, a crying child; a 4 year-old little girl.  This is why my patients are anesthetized back home.  No crying and no fidgeting and no talking back.  It took three people to help me and I had to eventually relinquish my position to Andy.  I was too exhausted to go on.  Thanks for bailing me out Andy.  I was humiliated. Even Steven held the little girl’s hand. It was the case of I.C. commonly known as impacted cerumen or ear wax.  I was hoping to pawn her off to Doug since he gave me prior tips about this ooey, gooey, smelly, yucky, sticky stuff but all he offered was “Good Luck.”  No sympathy from him.

Andy placed her into a jimmy-rigged papoose made of a blanket to wrap her up and for someone to hold her down snuggly since any sudden move around the ear drum could lead to a perforation and hearing loss and pain.  Steven paused from his shooting video to hold her hand.  It was Chinese torture on the first side and we were drawing a crowd.  I think some of the patients were scared off and the chairs quickly emptied.  Andy massaged her to sleep to calm her down.  As a pediatric ER nurse he has been here before.  Even Larry, the impacted tooth king, seeing the commotion came over to offer his services if needed.  We got out most of the wax on the first ear but EUREKA; we hit gold on the next side and we could see the ear drum.  She did great and her confidence was restored.  I didn’t want to tell her the old Chinese saying “No pain, no gain.”  It didn’t help when Doug was bringing over his trophies taken out of his patient’s ears and it seemed almost a competition to see who got the biggest plug.  Kane got in the act too.  Our efforts were visually rewarded.  YUK! We were just glad it was over with this poor child. It’s really a big deal when you think of it since they can’t hear with so much wax and it causes canal irritation and infections.  I think reconnecting a severed finger is easier than what we just went through.  Parents, go check you kids ear now or send them to Andy.  He does a great job.  All in all, the children are very cooperative and polite despite their reservations and letting strangers look into their mouths and poking and probing.

Some of the team went on a tour of the facilities and felt appalled at the living conditions.  Lena saw mops cluttering the bathroom and remarked that she couldn’t believe that this where the children bathe.   The children have to walk down a dark steep stairway just to go to potty. Thin mattresses covered the beds if they were lucky.  Even though that most of these children are villagers and are used to sleeping on mats on dirt floors at home, it is unlikely that we ourselves would want to or have our own children live like this.

We are proud to continue supporting this school year after year considering the heritage of the school and the commitment of that first missionary, Cecil Rupert that paved the road.  Where that road leads to rests on God’s plan.

D: 80


E: 74






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