From Thighland to Thailand

March 1, 2014

Thailand 5.6

Filed under: Uncategorized — markchinmd @ 10:38 pm

February 27, 2014-Thursday


Thailand/Myanmar 5.6


Bruised, Battered, and Blessed


Happy Birthday Lynelle! And to my sister Sandy!


The physical stress is taking a toll on our bodies.  Most of us miss our Tempeurpedic foam mattress and pillow tops.  The jostling around in the ox cart is evident on bruising on some bodies.  Headaches, backaches, and insomnia from lying on the floor are common but in comparison, these discomforts are nowhere as significant as the ailments and maladies that the barefoot peasants bring to us.


There were discussions between Sayadow and our chiefs and it was agreed upon that Dr. Chu, Andy, and Linh would triage the patients and to set the pace for today.  This ultimately settled the discontent of being overwhelmed.  Because, I was involved in most of the surgeries, I saw fewer patients than my colleagues and I felt bad that by the numbers, I didn’t or couldn’t see a many as them because some procedures take longer than others (prep, numb, cut, bandage).  Kane said that, “I would see 40 patients just so that you can do just one surgery.”  Okay, I’m not that slow, but thank you Kane I appreciate the team effort.  Dr. Patton, our resident family practitioner was our “go-to guy” for unusual presentations and his comforting words could be felt despite the language barrier.  Being fluent in Burmese made communication very easy with Drs. Chu and Wu and the patients seemed very comfortable with them and more personal.  Dr. Wu even performed unique treatments such as thermal acupuncture.  Kane continued his gentle approach to the patients and also did some surgical procedures.  The clinics functioned at a more tolerable pace. 


I don’t even get to leave our area much to wander over to the eye clinic and dental clinic so I apologize that this journal is more from the medical viewpoint.  It’s impossible to be a roving reporter and photojournalist.  So I am thankful for Jennifer to take a lot of photos to document our experiences.  All patients have one thing in common with regard to wanting to improve their health.  All the team members have a desire to do whatever they can to bring hope from despair to the patients and God has equipped us with a caring heart to search for those answers.


It is our last day and we do want to treat those that have come to the clinic.  Some just couldn’t be treated but by all accounts, it is estimated that 2000 patients were seen.  Some estimate 3000. Whoa!  In the last mission trip, 2500 patients were treated over a two-week span.  This number covered 2 ½ days!  I told you we were swamped.  That may seem a lot but like I said swarms of people came and it would not seem unlikely.  Five thousand fliers went out to families with an average of 5 people per family; that’s 25,000 potential patients. It certainly seemed so.  Bringing sight to the blind, improving the quality of dentition, which is essential to eat and relieve decaying teeth and abscesses, and improving the health and quality of life to these patients, were our goals.  By God’s grace and mercy, I think the mission team truly met them.


At the end of the day there was a ceremony and thank you from Sayadow to the team.  Words of kindness were exchanged.  A monetary gift from the mission team was presented to Sayadow, in part, for providing a generator, comfortable living quarters, real toilets, a shower, etc. in preparation to our arrival.  We sang some songs, one an old Christian song singing “Halleluiah!” and another one “See you in one year!”  Was that an invitation? We took pictures with our interpreters and new friends, packed up, and departed for our next destination.  Tears were shed.  Hugs prolonged.  No one was eager to leave.  Leaving friends and the people that need you here for at least another month or two left some emptiness.  Little kids lined the path waving good-bye as we returned to the river saying, “I love you!” in English.  We were both charmed and touched.


Now the hard part: going back from whence we came.  Okay, we have to think positive.  Think Disneyland, the happiest place on earth, because it aint here.  “Oh goody! We get to ride the jetty again, almost sinking was fun!”   “Whoopee!, we get to go on the ox cart ride.  Look mommy, why is that big ox jumping on that other one?  What’s THAT thing?”   Not being able to breathe or see in this dust reminds us living back home in LA, any way, “It’s not that bad!”   Then river crossing #2 is like the Robinson Crusoe ride, but didn’t he get stranded?  And now back to Zalun for an overnight stay and then we will take the 4-hour bumpy bus ride back to Yangon but we ARE going to enjoy the scenery this time, aren’t we?


Attitudes change.  Hearts soften.   Initially it went from “I don’t know IF we will come back here” to “When CAN we come back here?”


I have also noted my blogs are becoming more sober, I mean somber.

Attitudes change.  Mark




Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: