Taylor in Thailand! Week 3

April 24th, 2016 by Taylor Veh

Hope for eyes of apprehension


We have finally hit a little cooling spell here in Huai Malai, which means I have been using my blanket in the early morning hours! It is a very nice change from the heat. I went to the market this week and picked up some food and goods. I saw a patient from the hospital (young boy) who smiled and looked away when we realized we knew each other! The kids are so shy, and even more so when I catch them staring.


We have had a good week of outpatient experiences. I have seen patients every morning this week. Because I worked OPD all of last week, I am seeing several follow-up patients. The new ID fellow lets me handle seeing my return patients, which is nice, especially since they all have been fully recovered from their likely viral illness, and require about 3 minutes of my time! A highlight for me was a young man, my age, with Down syndrome. Much to the surprise of his family, he has lived for a very long time with (what sounds like) a very large congenital heart defect.


This week for me has really been about honing my history interpretation. That may sound odd, but when your question sometimes goes through three languages before you can piece it together, you have to get pretty good at figuring out the gist of what your patient is saying. I’ve learned that short, direct questions and answers seem to be the most helpful. One of our interpreters knows the questions I ask all our kids with fever and headache, so he asks most of them before I get the chance to!


Outside of OPD, we have been rocking the OR or theater all week. I got to have all of my obstetrical joy with a C-section for twins (girls!) who were both over 6lbs each! You have to wonder sometimes how all of these patients are able to do all that they do without all the miracles of “modern medicine.” We also were able to do an open nephrolithotomy, hernia repair, and vagotomy, antrectomy and Bilroth II anastomosis. I mean, come on, this is the stuff that surgeons dream of. I can’t even begin to describe how amazing it is to have a surgeon talk through all of these procedures with our patients awake, and squeezing your hand sometimes with anxiety.


I know that my time in Huai Malai will soon be ending. Like most 4 week rotations, I find myself just hitting my stride, realizing that today is Sunday, and I leave Saturday. I have found a couple of people who speak English and always say that my last day here will be my last day, “For now, but you will come back.” We’ll just have to see I guess.


***PSA: I will be posting a blog about my last week. I will also then post an essentially photo-only entry, and then a post with all the fun medical things I’ve learned about, that most of you won’t want to read.***