From Thighland to Thailand

March 5, 2014

Thailand 5.10

Filed under: Uncategorized — markchinmd @ 12:43 am


March 3, 2014-Monday


Thailand/Myanmar 5.10


It’s great having Allison join Lena, Jennifer, and myself as part of the mission team.  It is truly a privilege to serve on this team and while we are all volunteers, we work with the gifts and talents that God has blessed us with in order to serve Him.  His grace has opened the doors to Myanmar and to Thailand and the temporary hardships that the medical team has endured seem insignificant to those chronic health issues of those whom we have come to serve.   Think of the miracle that has already been done.  Just a few years ago it would not be possible for a medical team such as ours to be allowed in the country to and bring aid to their people and yet we were able to treat thousands of people.  Yes, thousands.  It was estimated that in conjunction with the Burmese doctors our team served about 3400 medical, dental, and eye patients in two and a half days, mind you, and yet it is just a drop in the bucket. 


We enjoy our stay at the Golden Triangle Inn as it is quite cozy.  No frills, but flushing western toilets with toilet paper and not-cold water to shower with and bottled water serve our basic needs.  The mattresses are a little softer than the floors of Mywit Wa and I’m glad I brought my Tempeurpedic pillow.  Oh, and Wi-Fi!  I’m so happy I can reach it from my room because last time I had to go out to the lobby late at night fending off those pesky mosquitoes with smoke bombs that seem to favor Chinese food as a delicacy.


We served at the Health Ministry clinic near the AYDC (Akha Youth Development Center).  Optometry department was short handed but quickly sprung into action in their air-conditioned penthouse suite with a view of the valley while the dental department was content with another air compressor (seems like everywhere we go they find a new compressor).  Lynelle was in heaven with her cush adjustable hospital-like bed that she could position instead of the usual leaning of the patient in a plastic chair.   The medical team is low maintenance and we get the ground floor open-air scenic view. Yeah, we’re outside.  Give us a chair and table and it works for us.  I salivate when I see a bed inside where I can do some minor surgery.  There are a lot of people there already in the waiting room.  It was nice in Mywit Wa where we just woke up and went to our clinic areas day after day that were already set up.  Each location that we go to now in Thailand require us to load and unload all the 25 bins from the bus, vans, or SUV’s, unpack and rearrange them in order for us to be somewhat efficient.  Then we have to have an area in which to work with adequate lighting, chairs, and tables.  It takes about an hour to set up and an hour to pack up but we get a fair amount of help.


We see some familiar faces and Luka’s mother came, not to be treated, but just to visit and give support.  Ella, Yosu, and their baby girl along surprised us.  Now she’s adorable! Sorry baby Jacob.  Congratulations to you both!  Some of the Akha patients look familiar, as we have treated them before.  They welcome our advice and as for the medical team we did more injections of steroids here at this clinic than all the others combined.  Kane thinks it was because with prior treatment, they got some relief, they knew what to ask for and came in pointing to the spot.  Most were farmers and still farming well into their advanced age.  What else would they be doing?  It’s like a hobby to them.  I got to practice all my Akha.  Okay, all I know is Gu long humma dee and jiep  (thank you and pain?)


Kane saw a widow for back pain and some psychosomatic complaints. All of her 5 children grew up and moved out. She was sad and lonely.  She did mention that was a catholic and Kane suggested that she read the bible for comfort.  Unfortunately, she was illiterate, so Kane prayed with her.  Then he stabbed her in the back!  Can you imagine that?  Oh, with a steroid injection.


We are working in Thai time.  Things move a little slower and our pace is very manageable.  Either that or we are used to seeing hundreds of patients in a day at this point and everything may seem slow compared to Myit Wa.


Some team members took a break and worked out in the back. There was an exercise area in the back filled with Tony Little’s Gazelle that Gi seemed fond of.  Andy was testing his deltoids and six-pack on the pull-up bar, while Kane was stretching his back in a traction machine.  Watching them was making me very tired.  Some members get up early for walks to stay fit while others loose weight by other means.  Wait, maybe I have got it wrong all this time and I thought it was a GI bug.  I wonder if we really have a team of bulimics and colonic cleansers instead?


The dental personnel got to mix it up by trading stations.  Bill did some hygiene (Lynelle had to check his work for “quality control”) and Vicki did some teeth cleaning in addition to cold sterilization.  Luka provided a compressor so the team is happy working in the 21st century making strides one tooth at a time.


One of the highlights of the day is to come together as a team.  We also meet in the morning at breakfast and go through the Chap book, exercise, and sing, while at night Pastor has us do bonding exercises.  Most of us are stinky and are really not interested in getting close to one another at this point.  Tonight we celebrated belated birthdays for Lynelle and Allison with Swenson’s ice cream cake.  Yummy!  Happy Birthday!


Night bazaar, here we come!  Mark



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