Thyroid Clinic Trip

This week, our clinic team took a trip to several villages within a couple hours' drive of our town. We loaded up Doc's car and set off early Thursday morning.

This is our wonderful receptionist-translator-evangelist-organizing-helper

On the right is a visitor who's been with us the past few weeks helping in the clinic and getting a head start on nursing school. On the right is Joshua, our lab man/translator

My friend G!

The Three Amigos, together for one last trip

A starfruit tree in a patient's yard. Can you see the fruit?

The Doc, who just kept on driving...

And "Grandpa", our dependable helper in the clinic

We set off pretty early and stopped at several patients' homes along the way. We had called ahead, and there were plenty of curious neighbors there to see us as well. When we asked the patient for a scale to check her weight, she grabbed one of these scales, normally used for weighing bags of rice. Good thing Cambodians are quite petite enough to fit right on those scales. This middle-aged woman almost looks like a child. 

Our handy portable ultrasound machine

We also picked up a few new patients along the way. Several people wanted checked for their goiters and thyroid issues, and we just drew their blood for tests and even did quick ultrasounds while in the village. It's a very unique way to practice medicine - one that calls for flexibility and adapting to different standards than one is used to (such as having to use a plastic water battle for used needles after taking someone's blood!). 

Our purpose in visiting these patients was to "lek tik jet" - encourage them, or literally in Khmer, to raise the waters of their hearts. For many patients, it was the last time we would be able to see them before the clinic closes in June and Doc and his family return to the U.S. for furlough. So we took the opportunity to make sure they understood their disease and medications, and to share the reason we started the clinic, the reason for our desire to help them, and the Reason for our hope. For some, it was the first time they had ever heard Christianity explained and talked about. And hopefully, it won't be the last time they hear the name of Christ.

This was the last family we visited. The patient is in the background in red; in the foreground are her parents, who have been married over 50 years. This is so rare in Cambodia, for people this age to be married so long. So many lost their spouses and families during the Khmer Rouge time, it's encouraging to see a couple that made it through and are still together. I hope Andrew and I can be the same in another 48 years!

On the way home, we came across a typical Cambodian scene, and luckily, my camera was actually ready this time. I can't count on my hands how many times I have seen a crazy scene like the one below - a van so packed out with people, the motorcycle is hanging out the back - with a person sitting on it, no less! You have to wonder - did the driver charge him for the motorcycle AND his seat, too?

Another van packed to the brim - this is how we roll in Cambodia!