From Thighland to Thailand

February 26, 2019

Thailand 7.3

Filed under: Uncategorized — markchinmd @ 3:01 pm

Thailand 7.3

February 26, 2019-Tuesday

Hey, shout out to Lindsey Lowe. Happy XXth birthday young lady! Ask your papa for a gas powered back-up vehicle so you don’t ever get stranded in your Tesla. {Since he missed your birthday he’s feeling a little guilty so this is a good time to ask ;)}

Also congratulations to my sister Daphne and her fiancé Dale for their engagement! Nice rock for a birthday present Daphne; you did good Dale!

We apparently missed a Kodak moment last night. Ming, Chris, and Kane were hanging out in the lobby about 9 pm and Ming decided to go to bed. A few minutes later Kane heard, who he thought was Elvis Presley in the flesh, singing, “Can’t Help Falling in Love” accompanied by the pianist. To his surprise, it was our very own Ming singing into the microphone doing his best Elvis Presley impression. It is hard to believe because I just can’t imagine Ming gazing into the pianist’s eyes singing that song since he doesn’t look anything like Yolanda. Well we might just see Ming on the next America’s Got Talent.

MTI is up at the crack of dawn. Many of us are still adjusting to the time change. Some energetic members take walks early in the morning and hit some markets for treats. One insomniac is compelled to blog in the middle of the night so he won’t take time away from his forever-patient wife during the day. John gets in a quick, 5 mile run.

Today, we traveled about 2 hours along a winding road to Ban Huai Kee Lek School in the Akha village, a village that we haven’t been to before but Luka goes there monthly. We really get a sense of serving at these outlying villages knowing that they are not privy to the country’s health care system and it would be a hardship to go down the mountain for health care. We rode in these nice vans today, thank God. Yesterday, we traveled in the back of the school bus that FCBC bought for AYDC about 5 years ago. Its showing signs of wear and the team were tossed about in the back hitting our heads on the overhead bars that we were grasping many times sitting on worn out seats cushions. Many of us have our own, ahem, anatomic seat cushions but it still hurts today. Andy is a brave sole and was clinging for dear life standing on the bumper on the back of the bus. It looked like he was even taking a nap! That’s when Andy waved to the colony amputee who then followed the bus for about a mile in this hand-powered tricycle back to the compound just to see visitors.

The Ban Huai Kee Lek school is closed and the structures are empty due to the dwindling numbers of students but we were able to use the facility as a clinic. Some of the village students go to AYDC which houses and teaches children from these many distant villages. Residents in this mountain village were ready to be seen when we got there and had to quickly set up our individual clinics. Our interpreters were invaluable for communicating with the villagers. We saw many dental, optometry, and medical patients. We are still limited on heavy duty cleaning due the lack of dental equipment but they always can do extractions of bad teeth and scaling with makeshift tools. The villagers are manual laborers, as such, the medical team saw a lot of repetitive stress injuries and low back pain and we were lucky to have a nice supply of steroid injections and anti-inflammatory drugs to treat these chronic conditions. We also seemed to have been running a skin tag removal clinic as men and women alike wanted them removed. The optometrists are examining patients with a single retinoscope and making prescriptions for lenses that we will have to grind back in Fresno and then assemble them with frames into wearable glasses. Dr. Akira Tajiri, an optometrist who has gone on the mission trip before, invented the current lens/frame system that we use and has donated all the equipment and lens supply as well as control of his non-profit organization, Precise Vision Enhancement, to FCBC so that we can continue to provide glasses for future missions. We had to go through the same process after the last mission trip in 2017 and then send the glasses back to Thailand for distribution. Luka and Ghan will be coming to the USA in April so they will able to take them back with them. So keep a look out when they arrive in April.

All in all, we felt productive at this first pit stop and things are looking up for this trip with what we have at hand. Ghan met with a health administrator to try to get the equipment released and retrieve the missing bins. No final word yet.

The villagers prepared us a nice lunch and so far no one has gotten ill. Dr. Patton scared us when a fragile plastic chair broke from under him and he fell back and hit his head. No blood or stitches needed. I personally wasn’t worried because despite his kind and gentle demeanor, Dr. Patton can be hard headed at times. I got a scare along the way up the mountain when I was videotaping the outdoors with my new action camera on a selfie-stick when it hit a tree branch and flew off at 15 mph! We stopped and one of the drivers found the Osmo Pocket in the leaves on the side of the road. Okay, I admit that it was obvious that was going to ultimately happen but better that than getting my arm chopped off!

To brighter days and brighter decisions,
Mark

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