From Thighland to Thailand

March 3, 2014

Thailand 5.8

Filed under: Uncategorized — markchinmd @ 12:59 am

March 1, 2014-Saturday


Thailand/Myanmar 5.8


Another day, another dolar (Spanish=pain)


Linh is our first casualty.  No show at breakfast.  Poor girl.  This trip is not making a good first impression for this rookie.  She can’t get out of bed.  Others, like Lena, Kane, and Mark Patton should have stayed in bed.  But Dr. Patton tranquilizes them so that they can, at least, get in the bus and they will wake up at our destination unbeknownst to them.   But most of us had a very moving experience with the GI bug.  It was cathartic and since many of us are FOS (full of uh stool, yeah, stool) it was a cleansing moment or two or three or four.


The team had brand new mission team uniforms to wear courtesy of Kane and his friend who makes the T-shirts, which read “Myanmar Medical Missions” with a cute origami elephant on the front. We stayed overnight in Yangon and made a short trip to the inner city and served at the Immanuel Baptist Church, an old and well established church.  Trevour’ Zin’s father used to attend this church, as well as Trevour as a child, and this church has a long history.  They appreciated that another Baptist church came and visited them in this mostly Buddhist country, but as I mentioned, Myanmar is the third largest country in the world with Baptists.  Call it camaraderie and bros in Christ because it can get kind of lonely here.  We asked them how can we help and what can we do for them?  They didn’t ask for money and they didn’t ask, really, of anything of us and were just glad that we came to help serve the church community.  It was the first time that a medical team such as this had served in the church and their parishioners were quite grateful.  They were quite accommodating and after moving around a few pews and setting up tables, we were in business.  


This patient population was a totally different class of people compared to Myit Wa.  Most of the patients were church members were fairly affluent and sustained the nice facilities of the church with their offerings.  Most of the patients had access to some form of health care and interestingly did not optimize their health care.  They had medications they weren’t taking and follow up appointments that they weren’t making.   In contrast to the rural villagers that want or need what they don’t have many of the patients that I saw had the convenience of a health care system but did not optimize it.  There is no insurance here but many could afford to pay for the office visits.  Many local doctors helped translate for us and helped with triage.  They are very well educated and only costs $1000 (US) for 6 years of college/medical school and they pay $1 a month for fees!!  What a bargain.


The chief complaints were in stark contrast to the villagers.  Here the complaints of minor discomfort affecting everyday living and not ailments that definitely needed treatment to make a living.  Some ailments could be avoided just by avoiding the offending activity in the first place.  Kane had a diabetic patient that would refuse to see her doctor because he would only tell her to stop eating so much to get her diabetes under control.  “But I like to eat” was her response.  I had a patient that gets gastritis after eating spicy foods.  This has been going on two years.  But he likes to eat spicy foods.   I had a lot of patients with extremely high blood pressure that would put them at risk for heart attack and stroke but were not taking their antihypertensive medications.   We spent time educating what the “silent killer” could do to ones health. One of my patients actually came for a follow up for his prostatectomy for prostate cancer that was performed with Da Vinci robotic surgery at Northwestern University in Chicago but he didn’t want to go back for his follow up and wanted to know what I thought.  Several came to just get a physical exam but curiously refused the rectal exam when I put on “the glove and pointed my finger”.  It was hard to get the female translator to say, “Bend over.”  They just kind of waved me off.  I just wanted to be complete. 


The pace was better as the medical and optometry team were recovering from their maladies.  The dental team obtained a new compressor and was back in business after doing some retrofitting.  The sound of high-pitched whining was music to their ears.  They were in production line mode once again.  The optometry team chose the nicest place with great lighting and natural air conditioning and the grinding team of Pastor, Mark, and Ron reminded me of “See no evil, Speak no evil, and Hear no evil” and I even got them to pose for that.  I definitely need to post the photos.


David Chow left most of the work to his son, Chris, in the pharmacy department because every time he moved he got nauseous.  (He ended up sitting outside on a stairwell with his head slumped over for hours.  I thought he was meditating.  He couldn’t seem to figure out why this queasy feeling and this awful smell wouldn’t go away.  It turned out he had been sitting over a sewage system passing under him.  Other members took five resting in the pews but overall it was a good turnout for the patients and the mission team sucked it up and with God’s strength and for his glory we were able to share fellowship with our Christian brothers and sisters in this foreign country.  Pastor pointed out that not only were we Christians coming together in another country, we were also Baptists.  That was a great feeling.

A miracle happened today.  Dr. Patton was going through the inventory and found two extra stethoscopes and blood pressure cuffs from the MAP boxes to give to someone.  He heard that there was a mobile medical team that was leaving that night for Mandalay to set up a clinic.  He thought that they might have some use for them and approached them and asked, “We have 2 stethoscopes and 2 sphygmomanometers, can you use them?” The coordinator looked at him with a look of amazement and asked Dr. Patton, “Did God tell you to do this?  Apparently, the local team had ordered medications and 2 stethoscopes and 2 BP cuffs which didn’t arrive with the order, and here, just a few hours before their departure, they are presented with 2 stethoscopes and 2 BP cuffs.  Caught off guard with the puzzling question he responded, “I don’t know; I’ll have to ask Pastor Jack.”  Pastor Jack explained that God sent us to Myanmar.  God sent us to Immanuel Baptist Church and we had these things to give to you, which you needed.   So yes, God sent these.  Perfect timing.  Keep the faith.


Pastor summed it up, “Buddha is good, God is greater” Mark


1 Comment »

  1. Glad that all are in various stages of recovery. Will be praying for renewed strength, stamina, and grace.

    Comment by Kelley Quan — March 3, 2014 @ 5:55 am

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 )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter 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: