Thankfully – Shenyang, China

May 18th, 2016 by INMED

no-hipaa-here

 

I can’t believe that I have been here in Shenyang, China for 2 weeks already! The time has flown by and I have certainly learned so much! I have learned about this people group, their fascinating history and culture and, for some, their deep rooted Faith. I have been amazed by the love that LIGHT workers have for each other and their patients and the level of commitment that they have to serving this precious population.

 

The residents are hungry to learn and I was so taken back by the sincerity of their questions during a lecture I provided for them on developmental assessments in children less than 3 years of age. Knowing that many US pediatric residents tend to take a nap during developmental lectures I assumed that my experience here with family medicine residents would be much the same. How wrong I was! Every resident appeared fully awake and engaged despite the language barrier (and need for translation- thank you Edgar!). They asked questions to clarify information and were eager to learn more and practice applying the developmental tests in clinic settings. I was also very honored to give lectures on Autism Spectrum Disorder at the Jilin hospital and an Autism Center in Chanchun, China. I was unsure how my specialty training in Developmental-Behavioral pediatrics would translate (literally and figuratively) in this culture but the information I have shared has been well received by residents, faculty, parents, therapists and teachers alike.

 

It seems that there was a greater Plan and Purpose than I even knew in coming to Shenyang, China. Jim, an occupational therapist from Illinois has been here serving with LIGHT this past two weeks and we have made a pretty good team seeing patients and giving lectures at different centers. I have especially enjoyed doing home visits with him as this experience has provided perhaps the richest learning opportunity for me- to see the environment in which many “special needs” children live out their lives. I have been very impressed with how well the foster children have been cared for by their caregivers. I still have much to learn about how government social services work here. It seems that some resources are quite plentiful but there are significant barriers to access and we have been trying to brain storm how to build bridges to overcome some barriers to care.
There have been several experiences these past two weeks that have taken my breath away and left me overcome with thankfulness. There are so many things that I take for granted in my everyday life in the US. Like having a car to drive from point A to point B without having to risk my life crossing busy streets or catching a taxi  Really, the subway system is a lifesaver!

 

The ability to communicate with others to effectively navigate through the system such as to exchange money, order food, or ask for directions. I have been very relieved and thankful when restaurants have had pictures that I can point to when ordering food. I am thankful for the people in my life both here and back home and for the new friends I have made these past 2 weeks. I am thankful for the Call that some choose to respond to and the way that they serve others with no expectation of their kindness ever been returned. I am thankful for the education I have received and the opportunity I have been given to share that education with others during my time here. I am thankful for families that love other people’s “broken” children as if they were their own, and their most precious gift at that. I am thankful for the Body that works together to care, share, and love wherever and whenever He leads. I am thankful for people who consider it all joy when… What a humbling experience this has been. The challenge is what to do after this trip is over. How will this experience shape the rest of my life?