Clinic Blog: 2012 Thailand 2 Clinic Blog
December 14, 2012
One week ago today, Team Thailand was packing our bags and preparing to return home. It's hard to believe that it's been almost a week since most of us have been back to "the real world", returning to our families, our friends, our jobs. How so much can change over 14 days! 8500 people can see the world more clearly. Strangers became friends, then family. My words cannot do justice to the wonderful experiences we shared, or to the bonds that we created, so I am going to leave this last post short & sweet.
Thank you, OneSight, for giving us this once in a lifetime opportunity. Thank you, Thailand, for welcoming us into your hearts and your culture. We will never forget the people we helped, or the people who worked by our sides. We are all forever changed.
December 5, 2012
Today was a ½ day of clinic due to our clinic site being used in the morning for a celebration honoring and showing respect to the King, as today was his 85th birthday. Our team was invited to participate, so we went up on stage and gave an honoring, then preceded to the river to release fish. It’s said that you will have good luck if you make a wish on a fish. Let's hope so! Each day of the week is assigned a color in Thailand, and because the King was born on a Monday, the entire country was decorated with yellow today. We even had special team shirts to wear, yellow in color, to show respect. Knowing we only had a half day to see patients, our team kicked it into gear after lunch and we saw 966 patients in 4.5 hours (200 of which were children). An awesome day!
Yesterday was our second day off – we were treated to a magnificent day in Pattaya, immersed in Thai culture. We toured the Teak Palace, went on elephant rides, saw a show featuring the popular “lady boys” and had dinner. Our hosts in Thailand are so incredibly gracious and giving – we are very lucky to have such strong partnerships here.
Tomorrow is our last day of clinic – so hard to believe. Time really does fly!
December 2, 2012
Today marks the end of Day 5 of clinic, and a total of 7 days in Thailand. Every day gets more and more amazing here, and the wonderful people never cease to amaze us. What patient, peaceful and happy people – such a deserving group of for us to be lucky to help.
Yesterday our group traveled to Bangkok to visit the Grand Palace and to see the Emerald Buddha. What a special experience to share with each other, taking in the breathtaking architecture and design along with learning about the Buddhist and Thai cultures. Of course, a little eyewear humor came out from the one and only Terry Wilcox: “Do you know why there are 30,000 temples in Thailand? Because there are 15,000 pairs of frames!” – Get it? Yes, it was just as bad in person :) We then went to an indoor market to barter with shop owners for Thai goods & to eat lunch at…wait for it…KFC! Very appreciative for some familiar tastes!
Today at clinic we treated 1,277 patients, our record high! Each day we grow as a team, help more people and make the most of our limited time here. We had quite a few unforgettable moments; here are a few that stand out to share:
- Tess: “An 80 year old lady has been borrowing glasses from her granddaughter because she doesn’t have her own pair, and when her granddaughter needs her glasses, she would then borrow from her neighbor. She tried her best to make it through day by day borrowing from other people. Today after I dispensed her very own glasses, I witnessed a smile on her face and tears of happiness, knowing that she does not need to borrow from other people ever again. This is a moment of a lifetime that I will not forget until I die.”
- Carly Schenck (me!): “Today I had the chance to partner with Dr. Kyle to fit eyeglasses and sunglasses on the sweetest 11-year old girl with Down syndrome. I sat down with her and her mother for about 15 minutes while we waited for her Chabellas to be made – we made hand puppets and played with toys. She was so patient and happy to be there with me, not afraid at all by the tests or new surroundings. When her glasses were ready and Dr. Kyle placed them on her face, she immediately froze up, not quite sure what was happening. Once she became comfortable, a smile beamed across her little beautiful face. Hearing the words “thank you” (in English) come out of her mouth as we said goodbye was so wonderful. Such a heartwarming moment and the highlight of our day.”
- Terry Wilcox: “I have always believed that we have our ‘optical twin’ someplace in this world. My high minus Rx patient not only received a perfect match with a previously worn progressive Rx, but the frame fit perfectly. AWESOME!”
We continue to miss you all at home – we love you and think about you daily!
November 30, 2012
Written by Jennifer Cline:
Tuesday night after clinic our group was fortunate to experience the Thai Festival of Lights during which they give thanks for all that the river offers. This celebration is very specific however the beauty is in the heart of the culture, the way in which they "see." I observed offerings to the river beautifully constructed of flowers, fruit, and banana leaves, much to the delight of the fishes when set afloat. :) Like any celebration there were ornately crafted decorations and foods but these with such attention to every detail of their design, it is a testament to the cultures sense of appreciation.
After setting afloat my offering to the river, our group boarded an enormous floating lotus flower with multiple levels of Buddha statues that represent things in life that we might wish to prosper. It was explained that with a donation of any amount, you may pick up a bowl of coins as offerings to place at the statue where you wish to receive blessings. Having faith in God in a Christian capacity, I have chosen in my life to ask only one thing of my Father I'n Heaven, "Thy Will Be Done," and should that come to pass I have faith that it is in the best interest of all. I feel the Morman culture has a great idea in that they "believe in all things." I believe God will present in a way that each individual will understand. When I expressed the thought to the host of our tour, he explained to me that many people will wish to prosper but when you realize that we have no ownership over any thing on earth then we will be set free of the pain of loss, because we never actually owned it to begin with. So I am grateful for the people and things who share my journey, but we all belong to God as we choose to know Him. The offering at the entrance was the beginning and the end the rest was just the journey as I choose to see it as I walked around the Lotus. In Buddhism it is called enlightenment and in the Christian world we believe God reveals understanding when we are ready. The spirit of last night has opened my eyes to a new perspective.
November 30, 2012
A story shared by Kyle Burgers, with Todd Racho & Nishi Mehdiratta
"A sweet 53 year old woman came to IMS with an Rx of -19.00 OU. Her current glasses were broken so she had nothing. Todd searched high and low for her Rx and came up with three pairs of -19's. Nishi put them on her and her face completely lit up & she immediately started pointing at everything around her, almost giddy. We gave her two pairs in case her new pair broke and she was ecstatic. Minutes later we were told what she said about the experience: "When I came in here, I felt dead, but now I feel alive." *Tears and goosebumps* "
Written by Andrea Lasby:
Our doctor team has been keeping very busy over the last few days! Since beginning clinic, we have made over 300 referrals, ranging from cataracts to pterygia, glaucoma and retinal disease. Yesterday, Dr. Karen encountered a patient with undiagnosed glaucoma and intraocular pressure of 45mmHg! She quickly started him on pressure-lowering drops and sent him to the hospital immediately. Other interesting cases included a patient with a suspected melanoma on the surface of the eye that Dr. Katie referred to a local opthalmologist, as well as a patient who was diagnosed with a central vein occlusion by Dr. Angela. All in all, the doctors have had a wonderful time interacting with each and every patient, and have been blown away by the hospitality of our gracious hosts and the wonderful clinic facilities. We would especially like to thank the priceless local volunteers who help us translate, assist in holding targets and measuring visual acuities. For many of the volunteers, today was their last day, and their departure was met with lots of hugs and pictures. It may have only been three days, but it's easy to form relationships with such amazing people! Now, nearing the half-way point of our clinic days, the team has become more efficient and cohesive as our doctors continue to support and encourage each other, even with the sore backs & tired feet! We are excited and ready for another great day tomorrow!
November 29, 2012
Hello from our group to everyone at home! We have had 2 very busy, successful and fun days of clinic yesterday and today. Numbers from Day 2 came in at 1,000 patients, 131 referrals and 62 pairs of Chabellas, with Day 3 numbers at 1,200 patients, 111 referrals, and 100 Chabellas. Referrals are patients who will be given free surgical care for complex vision problems such as cataracts. Although we can’t provide the final step to better vision for those people, we are able to provide a way for them to receive further help in saving their vision – a huge win for all. Chabellas are brand new glasses made to prescription on-site – these are a fantastic way for us to help patients for whom we don’t have a similar match in our stock. A huge shout-out to Dale & team for rocking the Chabellas station!
Many of our team members had special moments that they will never forget. A lady brought in a pair of broken glasses that she had received from a OneSight clinic 5 years ago and Jennifer was able to provide her with a new pair – amazing that OneSight has made a continuing impact in her life. Todd had the chance to pull glasses for a 7 year old boy, who being rather large for his age, needed men’s frames. He typed in the script and pulled a frame – which just happened to be the exact frame as his personal pair, right on his face! Todd placed them on the young boy and showed him that now, they were twins! I placed a pair of +1 reading glasses on a woman's face, a relatively low prescription, but clearly a huge difference to her, as she hugged me and kissed both of my cheeks.
2 stories from Shannon:
“At the exit there was a lady about 75 years old. She was wearing her new blinged-out Versace sunglasses and working them. Then her husband came out with his Ray-Ban aviators on. They both were beaming from ear-to-ear at each other.”
“Simona was trying to find glasses for a young girl with a difficult script. Instead of resorting to Chabellas, Simona put in the extra hard work and searched through the male frames to find a quite unisex pair. The girl put them on and was instantly smiling. She beamed from ear to ear all the way to the exit.”
November 27, 2012
After 30+ hours of travel, all of Team Thailand (luggage included!) has arrived safely to the Suntara Wellness Resort & Hotel here in Chachoengsao. Many thanks to our Thai partners for the warm welcome at the airport and for the super smooth VIP trip through Customs.
We completed orientation yesterday at the clinic site - a very nice, air-conditioned building! To say we are grateful for AC is an understatement in this hot & humid climate! After training, our gracious hosts treated us to a traditional Thai dinner along the water. We were able to mingle and learn about our teammates - 9 different cultures blending is always an entertaining and amazing experience - including singing "Happy Birthday" to Karen, in 6 different languages - pretty cool!
Today was Day 1 of clinic - a half day of meeting and training our local volunteers, and a half day of treating patients. The volunteers are great - very sweet, school-aged girls willing to help & translate as best as possible for us. In just 5 hours, we were able to provide over 700 people, ranging from 13-85, with eyewear. A pretty solid first day! Speaking on behalf of the clinic rookies, today was everything we imagined for a clinic and more. Being able to see the the light in someone's eyes, or the smile on their face, after fitting a pair of glasses, is beyond words. The simple interactions of smiles, head nods and bowing with thanks can't be described by my simple words. After the last patient was taken care of, the team walked to a nearby market for another great evening of dinner, laughs and sharing stories.
Hopefully pictures to come if the internet connection allows!
November 21, 2012
In three days, Team Thailand will be departing for the Chacheongsao province to begin the final OneSight Clinic of 2012. We are honored & excited to have the opportunity to help the wonderful people of Thailand over the next two weeks. We want to thank our families and friends for supporting us along this journey - know that we will miss you dearly.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, the timing to prepare for this trip could not be any better. It gives us time to truly reflect on everything we have to be thankful for - and to realize that things we take for granted, like a simple pair of eyeglasses, can be a life changer for someone else. We will be changing lives in Thailand - how cool is that? Our team is thankful to have this time with our loved ones before we depart on the adventure of a lifetime, and grateful for our team leaders who have already said their goodbyes. They sacrificed their holiday to ensure the clinic experience will be the best possible for our team and our patients.
Stay tuned over the next two weeks to live our experiences with us. We will be posting daily to share the ups & downs, the laughs & tears. Keep your fingers crossed for strong Wi-Fi connections, I know mine will be!
Thailand, here we come!
ความรัก (love - I think!),
About the Clinic
2012 Thailand 2 Clinic Blog Clinic
A team of OneSight volunteers and doctors will provide free vision care and eyewear to those in need.