From Thighland to Thailand

March 1, 2014

Thailand 5.7

Filed under: Uncategorized — markchinmd @ 10:45 pm

February 28, 2014-Friday


Thailand/Myanmar 5.7


upchuck, barfing, the runs, Montezuma’s revenge, tossing cookies, having a blast, blowing chunks, the trots, hugging the throne



We don’t need alarms here in Zalun.  A large loud speaker blaring music at 4 a.m.  was a rude awakening for some.  Others, unfortunately, were already awake throughout most of the night.   That Burmese banquet last night cost us dearly.  Nice cuisine, plenty of food including exotic dishes.  Not so nice affect.  It was food to die for and we almost did.


I was wrong (imagine that?)  The flashlight is not our most valuable tool.  No, the toilet replaced it.  HALF the mission team was stricken with nausea and vomiting, traveler’s diarrhea, flu-like symptoms, and intestinal cramping.  Hydration is a problem when things come out from both ends and you can’t hold anything in.  Please don’t try to imagine it.  We can hardly eat anything.  Gail brought in bananas.  I thought they were to plug us up.  I was informed that this was part of the BRAT diet for diarrhea: Banana, rice, apples, toast.  I still think that is still more effective as a plug.  Some nearly needed an I.V. since they couldn’t hold down liquids.  We were not going to enjoy a four-hour trip over bumpy roads in a cramp bus without a bathroom.  “Oh crap” would be apropos.  We needed a pit stop and everyone lined up and we weren’t shy; it’s a good thing were family.  We never appreciated a squatty potty more than now.  You have not seen a sadder mission team, even worse than not getting Economy Plus seating.  Some looked pale, some couldn’t wait for the pit stop and vomited in the bus, while some wanted to just roll over and die.  To make matters worse, we crawled into the bus wanting to sleep and have peace and quiet since most of us did not get much sleep the night before.  Then our gracious host begins to play loud music video a la Miley Cyrus of some festivity, which is pounding our ears that we might enjoy watching during the bus ride.  Where did I put my earplugs?  Bill tries to politely ask the host to turn the music down since we would rather hear him speak (like his previous guided tour).  He says proudly, “Oh, Okay” and THEN GRABS THE MICROPHONE and becomes louder than the music!  Thank God I found my earplugs!  We are miserable; we look pathetic, heads are hanging out the window.  It’s a good thing we wouldn’t be seeing patients today.  No way, Hosea.  If they saw us, they would have wanted to help us rather than vice versa.  This is an occupational hazard and the risk of traveling to foreign countries.  No, we were not overindulging and we were not gluttons for punishment but our American GI flora met its match.   Ming and Luka did just fine, thank you.   Fortunately, Dr. Patton had meds for traveler’s diarrhea and cramping at hand while Kane shared his antiemetic medicine, though he was one of them who needed it the most.  Our energy was sapped.  There were going to be casualties.  Vultures are actually circling the bus flying overhead.  Is that our hotel in the distance or an oasis?  The 7 Mile Hotel was sight for sore eyes when we arrived and home in bed for the next 18 hours. 


Curiously, the medical and optometry team were the ones most stricken.  I don’t think we were sabotaged by the remaining clinic, which will remain nameless, but

they seemed to be beaming their Ultrabrite Toothpaste smiles as not a single one of them were sick.  Something was making them cheerful.  Were they jealous because we saw more patients than them and we had to set them a quoto?  As the rest of the of the team was writing their last will and testament, the others went on a more personal (smaller crowd) guided tour of Yangon, seeing what I am told the “Famous Pagoda that you HAVE to see if you ever visit Yangon; you better not miss it.”  Well, then, send me a postcard.  They traveled to Scott’s market, a bazaar type flea market, and I suppose that the other team was glad that we weren’t there counter offer something they wanted to buy for themselves.  Call me paranoid, but I swear there was whispering and giggling at the banquet table by those guys.  Maybe my dehydration is making me delusional and I can’t be responsible for what I am writing at the moment.  While most of us slept or sipped on sugar water while sitting on the john recycling our Tucks pads asking for refills for toilet paper (I think the hotel thinks we were stealing the TP and they would be right), the rest of the team had a nice American style dinner and when they came back innocently said, “Hi guys! What are you up to?  Have fun today?”  I DO have to admit that they are the ones that exhibit the best hygiene donning gloves and masks with each patient.  I thought its because they had bad breath. We need to get back to the basics.  My bad.  


I’m sorry that the blogs have been delayed since the Internet was not available until we came back to Yangon and I have been trying to post the earlier ones first.  For those waiting for photos, I’m sorry, I barely get these blogs out. I am struggling on my deathbed, at the moment, so if this is the last blog I ever do, it was a pleasure.  I stink from both ends and I’m reeking with sweat.  Who said being a plastic surgeon is glamorous??  Please pray for your teams health and recovery.  We still have a lot of work to do.  I hope that God is not done with us yet. 



I have to go (literally).  I’m pooped!  Mark



  1. Praying like mad. I will pass it on at church tomorrow. Expect God to move

    Comment by Dar Stukey — March 2, 2014 @ 7:42 am

  2. Yes we had a moving experience.

    Comment by markchinmd — March 2, 2014 @ 2:37 pm

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