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Entries in medicine (12)



Sitting in a quiet zone noon hour
Zen equilibrium peace

Overhead fan curls churns air
Grandmother peels purple grapes
Mother waits for noodle soup people

Son plays homework game on phone
Chattering with friends, no TV, no obscure blaring idiot box
Voices from slurping nurses, doctors, poor Lao patients
Wait for a miracle of modern medicine

It's quiet enough for scribbles, a poem story
Stranger sits alone
As whirling fan
Discovers invisible air

Angkor Wat


Take The Orange Pill - Ice Girl

Chapter 22.

Another brilliant Banlung day bloomed bright. Infinitesimally small intense waves and particles traveled at 186,000 miles per second.

  What you don’t see is fascinating, said Ice Girl. She and Leo heard the clatter of tourist utensils singing near dumb thumbed Angkor Wat guidebooks dancing with dusty beggar children hawking vignettes at a medical clinic.

  The Angkor Children’s Hospital in Siem Reap has 22 beds in one room. They are filled with infants wearing air hoses in their nose. They suffer from pneumonia and tuberculosis. This is common. A parent holds a tiny hand.

  I.C.U. has five occupied beds.

  400 mothers cradling kids wait to see a nurse. She dispenses free orange generic pills.

  Life is a painkiller. Life is a generic placebo.

The mothers are happy to get SOMETHING, anything. They have no knowledge about modern medicine.

  One effective blue pill costs $1.00. Parents need to buy 15. $15.00 is a fortune. Out of the quest-ion. Parents accept free ineffective orange drugs. Parents need a miracle.

  How much does a miracle cost?

  Mothers are hopeful. They wait. They have ridden on the back of cycles from distant villages. Everyone there had an answer for the child’s sickness. Babble voices of genocide female survivors sang remedies. Men pounded drums. Relatives prayed and burned incense. A shaman dancing with death smeared chicken blood over a tiny chest. Another healer waved smoking banana leaves over a child running a fever. 400 mothers waited forever to see a nurse and get an orange pill.

Ling's art in Laos.


  Mr. Money talked in the Battenbang market. He’s 30, well fed and garrulous. He stood near a shop holding a pile of 500 Real notes. 500 = 25 cents.

  I am rich, he said waving money.

  I am the President of Earth, said Leo.

  He came over and collapsed in a red plastic chair. Southeast Asia is filled with red plastic chairs. It’s one big kiddy class for humans with an emotional IQ of -7.

  He put the money on the table. See, he said, I have a lot of money. Real notes were old and faded.

  Yes, you do. Where did you get it?

  I collect the money from the shopkeepers. It is their daily cleaning fee. But, I am a poor man. I only make $50 a month. Food is cheap. I have two wives and two kids. Wife number 1 is mad at me. Why? She saw me with wife number 2. I screwed wife number 1 one day and then I went over to see wife number 2. Wife number 1 saw me with her and now she's angry, ha, ha, ha.

  I have lots of energy. I can screw three times a day. Do you want to go with me to a nightclub? I can show you around. There are many girls looking for some action. Their boyfriends are poor at sex. The girls are poor and need money.

  Leo smiled. Sounds like a diabolical combination. Not today. You can only trust 10%.

It’s easy, he said, I know everybody, waving his arms around the market. People slurped noodles. Women negotiated prices, haggling, chopping vegetables, stoking cooking fires with kindling, manhandling blazing woks, nursing infants, wiping counters, sewing cloth, selling gold, trimming nails, cutting and shampooing hair, cleaning oranges and sitting with begging bowls as hungry eaters stuffed faces.

  Eater’s eyes were either buried in bowls or scanning desperate hungry faces in a life of perpetual distractions.

  Eat fast or someone will steal it from you. It’s not about taste. It’s about filling your stomach.

  Between slabbed meat and fish an old woman with her begging bowl sat on cracked pavement waiting for kindness.

  Save the strong, lose the weak, said Mr. Money.

  Yes, I’m sure you know everybody, Leo said.

  Are you really the president?

  Yes, I am.

  I think the president is a joke.

  Many people would agree with you, Leo said. It’s a lonely thankless job being responsible for the entire human race.

  Yeah, yeah. Well I gotta go make some collections. See you later.

  The machine world in Banlung roared, reversed, revered and resounded with operatic overtures.

Ice Girl in Banlung

Banlung market



In a quiet zone at high noon

Nourishment in the zen eqilibrium

Overhead fan churns invisible air

Grandmother peels purple grapes

Mother waits for noodle soup people

Son plays games on phone, chattering with friends

No blaring TV,

Obscure voices from slurping nurses, doctors,

Poor people wait for a miracle of modern medicine.


Friends Without a Border

After a year in Mandalay you facilitated English and personal courage at the Lao Friend's Hospital for Children in Luang Prabang, Laos for six months, June-December.

The hospital, a non-profit NGO based in New York, opened in 2015.

All medical equipment and medicines are donated.

Patients are low income Lao and H'mong. Many have traveled a long way in pickup trucks to try and save someone they love. The hospital treats 50-80 children a day.

Malnutrition, thalassemia, fractures, burns, rashes, infections and childhood illness are common.

Treatment, medicine and Out Reach community care is free.

Lao with money go to the Provincial Hospital next door. There, a old man relative pushes an empty wheelchair across a parking lot. Water floats on the surface of the ornate circular broken water fountain. National hammer and sickle flags hang limp. Families camp out under trees on straw mats with bags, bedding, an unplugged fan and bamboo rice baskets. Trash litters the ground.

White clouds dance with forested mountains under a blue sky in a landscape painting.

Eighty local staff at LFHC.

They call you "teacher."

You call staff "teacher."

They are surprised.

No "teacher" calls them "teacher."

You smile. You are the teacher and I am the student.

You are health care professionals. You know your job. You are learning more about your job. You know more about medicine than I do.

You are a team. You are the future of Laos.

I am here to help you. Simple English is good. My English is getting better.

You are responsible for your learning.

You smile.

You speak slowly and clearly. Pro-nun-ci-a-tion. Diction. Articulation. Intonation.

How now brown cow?

Sound by sound.

Language chunks.

"I need help," are three important English words.

Talk, share, learn and teach your partner. If you can teach it you know it.

They are doctors, nurses, lab and X-Ray techs, administration, infection control housekeepers, physical therapists, maintenance, outreach staff, anesthesiologists, and patient intake receptionists.

Together you do general and medical English. You laugh, dance, sing "I love to color," and practice meditation.

I am breathing in. I am breathing out.

Calm, relaxed heart-mind.

Beginners to  advanced practice the four skills, speaking, writing, reading and listening. I don't understand a thing please repeat.

They create vocabulary notebooks and mind maps by topics: medical equipment, illnesses, blood basics, body parts, internal organs, bones, muscles, senses, daily activities, home/furniture, adverbs of frequency, prepositions, directions, family, food, sports, free time activities, weather, time, travel, and dreams.

Staff consistency attending English classes is a challenge. Work schedules take priority.

An operating theatre and neonatal unit recently opened. Staff are busy with medical training.

The in-patient department has twenty beds. Emergency has five beds.

Foreign volunteer health care professionals come for two-four weeks. They share their specialist expertise. They return to England, Australia and beyond wild.

The hospital is in a village twenty minutes from town. The College of Science and Health is nearby.

Outside the entrance gate along a dusty road people sell grilled meat, fish, rice, fruits and vegetables to patient's families, staff, and students.

It's a 125cc motorcycle culture.

At LFHC families have lockers for food and personal belongings in a large community area outside reception. There are toilets and showers.

They use a large outdoor kitchen for cooking. They chop kindling and stoke fires for rice. They eat, sleep and talk while their children receive care.

Every Thursday the nutritionist, visa coordinator and head of infection control prepare healthy meals for the families.

Young H'mong mothers nurse babies.

Families watch comedies or nutrition education films on a large plasma screen.

People sleep on benches.

Dogs rummage through trash.

A family sitting on straw mats eats from shared bowls.

A mother holding her infant studies mirrored reflections.

A father supports a pole with an IV drip bag for his son.

Kids play games on a cell phone.

A housekeeper mops a tile floor.

A security guard dozes near pink, yellow and white orchids hanging from bamboo.

A happy girl with a bandaged leg rolls her wheelchair into the sun.

Curious eyes study a smiling stranger passing through.

He came, he helped, he left.

Friends Without A Border.


New Garden - TLC 78

Lucky shifted to a serene garden zone after sharing a house for two months with a sad young Filipino math teacher in the gated community of Alam Sutra.

The boy/man fathered a five-year old girl and left her with her mom in Manila Vanilla. His favorite expression was, “Let's Eat.”

Truth is powerful. You don’t have to remember what you said. Lucky mentioned choices and consequences. Math man didn’t hear, listen or care. Being a calculating teacher he figured a job with a decent salary in Amnesia was worth the emotional compromise cost.

A Hanoi survivor yelled, “Any fool can have a kid. It takes courage to raise them as independent free thinking individuals.”

In the new garden Lucky planted thirty flowers, red and pink roses, apple trees, deciduous shrubs, watercress, dill, oregano, parsley and thyme.

He refocused healing energies an hour west of Joke & Choke plus trolls tolls by taxi nightmare traffic due to poor urban highway planning. City pollution was a killer. It blasted throat and eyes. All east-west traffic passed through the city center. No ring roads. Duh.

“The center cannot hold,” said W.B. Yeats.

Air quality was refreshing in walled estates with tropical flora. Butterflies, songbirds, cockroaches, big brown beady-eyed rats and contemplative speckled frogs existed with copious little people.

Some homes were Mac Mansions. Greek and Roman columns with Ironic and Corinthian spiral decorations shouted, Look at my huge monster home. I made it. Empty palatial rooms collected dust as in China where it was all external appearances. Goes to show ya. Most homes in the gated communities were a bland 1-2 story cookie-cutter style. 

Everyone had a maid in Java jive some older than spoiled offspring. They cleaned two cars, swept dust, watered stone passages, cooked, scrubbed clothes and fed kiddies while parents were making money. It’s a job. 

Making money is a job. You need plates, ink, paper, press, a paper cutter, distribution system and government backed IOUs.

Illiterate slaves supported families surviving in a no-name village memory. A never-ending human supply system on an archipelago swarmed with 230 million hungry worker bees.

Food was cheap. Medicine and education were expensive.

Keep them poor barefoot and happy.

Favorite Jakarta sports were: 1) Driving huge 4x4s. Gas was $2.40 a gallon. Sitting in endless long traffic jams. Paying parking fees to paramilitary uniformed men blowing stainless steel whistles.

2) Wandering around enormous prosperous numerous say it fast three times vast shopping centers, huge playgrounds for brats.

Out-of-control kiddies expended spoiled energy. Families enjoyed A/C climate controlled conditions admiring Ankara-like dummies behind glass in a museum quality of artificial life filled with diversionary stimuli and unsatisfied desire.

The private Alam Sutra School named for a fictitious beatific saint had 1,800 students from kindergarten through high school. It began in 1993 when a Catholic priest from Yoga Posture escaping Interpol child molestation charges joined community leaders using a fake I.D. to promote formal educational tyranny and religious intolerance.

Five barbarian elementary English teachers complemented friendly local teachers. Oh, I just love your hairstyle. Your diamond-soled shoes are divine. Your handbag woven from creeper vines is elegant and eco-friendly.

Native teachers had seen colonial invaders come and go for centuries. Lip service.

The English supervisor was an anthropologist from New Hamster, Nova Scotia. Formerly a tenured professor in Malta, she left the job, house, marriage, mortgage, cars, airplanes and yachts for a meditative life. Her resume extolled extensive international educational administrative experience with time and space.