From Thighland to Thailand

March 5, 2019

Thailand 7.10

Filed under: Uncategorized — markchinmd @ 2:50 pm

Thailand 7.10
March 5, 2019- Tuesday

Go, go, go. Work, work, work.

It’s hard to find peace and quiet for me. I have a little time this morning though it took traveling 8000 miles and now I can hear God’s creations, birds, insects, nature, the love of my life breathing as she is resting this am as the sun rises. I write most of these blogs at night (which I will continue later), when I am exhausted, ready to go to bed myself so it more of reporting what we did that day that contemplation. Some of you like an update for our safety or productivity and photos help show you what we do or what conditions that we have to work under and I know it gets monotonous in our poses. Only the patients change so I’ll try to get more faces than “action” photos.

We are situated on the Mekong River in Chiang Khong and can see Laos across the river watching speed boats pass by. We are out in the boonies. We are under camping conditions, okay maybe not that bad, but its glamping at its minimum. We are in the country getting bitten by mosquitoes and large ants are crawling all around us, in fact, one just crawled across my chest as I am typing this blog and it took two swats to stun it so I can flick it off me with my finger. We have limited electricity, internet, and water as you will see.

The team is an energetic team but we need our rest. We have a male and female dormitory where thin padded mattresses are provided with a blanket sharing one shower while some others are admittedly are spoiled with private rooms with a common bathroom. Bill got the honeymoon suite and I got bunk beds. John and Lisa got another room so there is an advantage of bringing your spouse…private rooms, less snoring. Lena was pleased to have her own side of the room while I got to spread out over the bunk bed. Bill said we can only bring a carry-on sized suitcase, but he didn’t say I couldn’t bring 3 backpacks (LOL). However, disaster struck. Last night the spigot in the shower broke off while I was turning it on and a jet of cold water shot out of the pipe, bypassing the warmer, and straight into my naked body. Burrr! I’m holding the handle in my hand, trying to put my palm over the pipe to slow the flow, looking at broken pieces on the floor trying to figure out if the pieces can be put back together to stop the flow. With no way to shut the water off and freezing my little fanny off I’m contemplating if I can tip toe away, no one will notice. Well, I took the opportunity to take a quick cold shower, my body keeping the water from exiting the stall onto the floor, which would have certainly flooded the floor. I was like putting my finger in the dike trying to figure out this predicament. I was able to shove some parts back in to slow it down but the faucet was still leaking. I went searching for Mark Patton, who has a contractor background, and he was able to at least get the parts back in to shut the valve off. He’s my hero. Then the maintenance guy came to assess the situation.

Then I was then awoken this morning by the sound of Bill taking a shower this morning, singing,

“Oh what a beautiful morning,
Oh what a beautiful day,
I’ve got a wonderful feeling,
Everything’s going my way.”

So I was glad that some shower was working…until the water ran out. The sinks and toilets didn’t work as well. Either they turned off the water last night or Bill’s shower drained the water tank outside (He’s got a little body so it shouldn’t have taken that much water to bathe him.) Well many of the team members were not pleased not being able to shower this am and lacking water to brush their teeth or flush the toilet. I offered them my bottled water, deodorant, and chewing gum. It just turned out the water tank for the compound ran out of water and they needed to pump more well water into the tank. No river baths needed like last mission trip. Yeah!

We have bumps in the road from time to time and we adapt, conform, and sacrifice. As an intense group of professionals and we needed to iron out some issues and today flowed a lot more smoothly. We have to focus on why we are here in the first place and Satan is always trying to provide distractions. We have to always ask ourselves is what we do pleasing to God and ask for forgiveness when we are weak and sinful. We are here for a common purpose; our goal is to glorify God and only God knows if we are even close. Work should be fun and we have limited resources and time here. We put pressure on ourselves to help others but we have to remind ourselves that God is in control. Lena commented, “It was a great day!”

Now I can’t speak for the dental team because they are way in the corner but when I see Bill wandering around, either the dental team kicked him out, or the pace is reasonable for him to go about his duties overseeing and commenting like a helicopter mom. The eye team is always busy examining and then grinding the lenses. Those who have assembled the frames can be identified by the Band-Aids covering their puncture wounds on their hands from the tiny jeweler’s screwdrivers slipping while tightening the screws and drawing blood. The medical team is going through their supply of needles and syringes giving steroid injections to over 50% of the patients they see due to musculoskeletal disorders and repetitive stress injuries. Some had accidents falling out of cars or motorcycle accidents as well. Some patients come in requesting injections of some sort and even a B vitamin cocktail makes them satisfied. The choices are medication, injection, or both. Many take both and when the patients talk and ask, “Why didn’t you get an injection?” they get back in line for one even though the first time we saw them, we didn’t think they would benefit from one. Injections are not fun and some patients grimace or cover their eyes but it’s to provide long-term relief of inflammation. They get the point. Some patients complain of headache, neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain, leg and knee pain and others complain of numbness. Some patients hurt all over and have multiple areas of pain. We had Rainbow, a personal trainer, hold a clinic for several patients at once since they shared common symptoms. He taught them posture control, strengthening, and stretching. Chris joined in because he’s pretty buff himself, but a patient was more limber than him and was teaching Chris how to stretch! They seem to have fun at the clinic, which was not quite Orange Theory, but it was a start for them. I tried some moves but it was a pain in the butt.

We are preparing for an onslaught tomorrow since there is a free pass over the bridge between Thailand and Laos. We expect droves of patients and it is welcomed but we have a shorter day since we return to Chiang Rai. Fortunately for me the water supply was restored otherwise I was going to have to do sponge baths for everyone. People don’t smile much here but do show their gratitude just to be seen. One patient brought her hands together, nodded with her eyes closed, and spoke something in Thai to me and the translator said she said, “God bless you.”

We met after dinner for Chapbook session despite the lights going on and off. People shared what was the best part of the trip and some said it was the bins, or meeting new people, or seeing and hugging old friends, or singing in the choir like angels, or the tremendous church service that we attended, or praying for a patient in the past, finding out how well that the patient was doing when there seemed to have little hope but God performs miracles.

We have some of our own from FCBC that need our prayers and support and in particular, a church member with a cerebral hemorrhage is in a coma. Please pray for her and inquire about details so that you can help the family as well. We have to take care of each of our brothers and sisters, God’s children, no matter where we are in the world. May God give us continued strength, health, and resources in all that we do and say so that we may glorify Him.

In Christ,

1 Comment »

  1. your blogs are so entertaining mark. totally enjoy them. you’re doing a great job! keep it up! Bless you for “documenting” our journey

    Comment by Lynnette Yuen — March 6, 2019 @ 4:38 pm

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