medical mission


I am Moana of Motunui. 
You will board my boat,
Sail across the sea with me,
And restore the heart of Te Fiti.

This shoot was super fun and pretty impromptu since I went on a Medical Mission with my mum in Palawan and I decided to take advantage of the location and did a shoot as well during our Island Hopping! Hella worth it.

And I know, I haven’t posted in forever, I know, but it’s because I’ve been trying to figure my life out ahaha. Hope y’all forgive me for that! ;-;

Photography by my lovely mum


Kevin Spacey made a surprise appearance for the University of California at San Francisco Hospitals Champions Gala held at the UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay to thank the “champions” who helped make the $1.5 billion healthcare complex a reality. He is pictured with San Francisco 49ers football legend Ronnie Lott and his wife Karen. January 10, 2015

In The Medical Mission Business.

$300. According to one Nicaraguan doctor, that’s the salary they can expect to earn each month.

$1400. That’s approximately the program fee I paid for one week in beautiful Nicaragua. The organization I worked with this past week caters specifically to undergrads, and a typical mission can fill up with anywhere from 15 to 35 students. At $1400 a piece, that’s a significant chunk of change going from American undergraduate loans to the medical tourism teams of Nicaragua.

No doubt a lot of that money goes to hotels, transportation, and interpreters, but not that much.

While I’m not certain what a doctor’s salary is within this particular organization, it’s easy to see that it would far exceed $75 a week. Thus, there’s a strong financial incentive for these doctors to spend their time in the role of a glorified tour guide, instead of providing continual care in a hospital or clinic. The doctors are driven to the countryside, seeing patients in an entirely inefficient manner with no possibility of follow-up. The fact that we had doctors with some impressive credentials speaks even more of our buying power. It’s crazy the economic impact a bunch of clueless undergraduates can have on a country with such a small cost of living.

I don’t doubt that we helped some people last week, and gave access to medical care where it wasn’t readily available. But we were quite inefficient and even ineffective in many instances, and the process would be much worse with undergraduate students. The real problem is that the focus of this trip was not the suffering patient. It was the American medical tourist. 

We were babied at every step. We stayed in comfortable hotels. Dinner plans were provided for us each evening. There was a meeting held to make sure we were satisfied with the experience. There was even a team of dancers brought into the hotel to give us a taste of culture. Field trips were discouraged, including eating out, depending on the location. This was personally frustrating and at odds with my past international experience. Our safety was the stated priority, but I can’t help but wonder if the real issue was protecting the safety of the organization. Even just having that much emphasis on my well-being was in itself annoying. Forget about the students. Let’s focus on the people.

From start to finish the trip ran like a business, and we, the dumb students, were the rich clients. Not that I’m opposed to these trips, but they ought to be re-branded to more accurately represent their nature. Medical Tourism.

Bones Headcanon!

Anon requested a headcanon of Bones while the reader is in a coma:

  • Leonard has to be dragged away from your bedside as you’re brought into medical after an away mission, bloodied and unconscious with a respirator breathing for you.  Spock keeps a firm hold on him as Dr. M’Benga moves in to take over.
  • He gets a grip on himself as the medical team stabilizes you, but it’s tenuous at best and the rest of the crew knows by the look on his face that it’s best not to disturb him as he hovers on the periphery of the action and waits.
  • He swoops in on you the second the dust settles, glancing at the readings on all of the monitors, taking your cool, limp hand in his and putting his forehead down on the bed next to you as he lets his tears fall at last.
  • He sits by your side, day after day, his eyes only leaving your face long enough to catch a nap here or there, or to eat when Christine comes by and forces him to.
  • He does all of the nursing tasks required for your care: gives you sponge baths, starts new IVs whenever the old sites get irritated, makes sure your medications are kept on top of.
  • When he finally feels you squeeze his hand one day, he’s sure he’s lost his mind; he’s been so desperate for any sign of life that he’s sure he’s imagining it.
  • When you hand tightens on his again, he jumps to his feet, letting go of your hand so he can immediately begin checking you over.  As his hands move over your body, examining you, you reach out to grasp one of his hands. His hand almost slips out of yours because you’re still weak, but you’ve gotten his attention.
  • He stops to look at you as your eyes blink open and all of the haunt, the fear, and the depression that have made themselves at home behind his eyes over the weeks you’ve been unconscious are gone, replaced by relief, joy, and lightness.
  • He stays by your side for another several days as Dr. M’Benga monitors your recovery.
  • When you’re finally released from the med bay, he takes two weeks of leave from his duties to wait on you hand and foot, and you’ve never seen him look happier than he does every time his name leaves your lips.

Click here for more headcanons!

ok so i have this moral dilemma (not really a moral dilemma just a question really tbh)..

im a vegan but it’s all completely bc it’s a personal challenge and i was a vegetarian for 7 years but only bc i dont like meat. there’s not really that much like ethics involved in why i have my diet (although i think it IS good to not kill animals for meat and stuff). but anyways, vegetarianism/veganism is very very uncommon in a lot of other cultures, especially asian culture. for example my grandmother thinks i dont eat meat bc i dont wanna be fat and when she makes us food she makes me food with half as much meat bc ‘half as much fat’ (thoughtful but not the point lmao) 
but anyways, do you think it makes sense to be more flexible when traveling with the vegan/vegetarian diet? like i went to the phillippines last year on a medical mission and there were these two other girls who were vegetarian, and the hosts made us this lovely dinner that they put a ton of effort into and there were like 5 courses but they were all meat or seafood, the only thing that wasnt was a soup that had some shrimp in it but i felt so bad so i just ate the soup and picked out the shrimp but the girls like were being kinda rude and were like no we cant eat this, and they made them make a whole new dish for them. 
so yeah, i’ve just been really wanting to travel and the top two places i’d like to go are Africa or Asia, and the majority of counties in both of those continents use a lot of meat based dishes and like idk i dont WANT to eat meat but like as a person who is traveling and experiencing other culture does it make sense to ‘bend the rules’ 

anonymous asked:

Why did you decide to take this job? I know you didn't want to originally...

Here’s the story of how I came to take this job. It’s long, but relevant to understanding where I am now. 

For those of you who went back and read that post or who remember it, you’ll remember that I was super excited about this job. I had been promised that it could be adapted into exactly the type of practice I wanted and that there was tons of opportunity for growth. In reality, I have found that nothing in the practice is changing. I thought I loved working in rural areas, and maybe I would if I had some support and a patient population I enjoyed, but I’m not loving it now. I don’t love geriatrics or nursing home care, and that’s the majority of my practice. 

But even though I’m stressed, depressed, and burned out and I don’t love the place I’m in, I still believe it’s where God wants me for now. Some of y’all may read that and think I’m totally insane. Let me explain.

A month ago I really doubted whether I had misread God and wondered if I had made a huge mistake by taking this job. I have felt since my senior year of high school, and continue to feel, that my ultimate calling is foreign medical mission work. A month ago I felt like taking this job was forsaking that calling, but now I see it as a small part of a bigger plan. 

A friend of mine from residency recommended I read the book The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson. I was skeptical, as I am when anyone tells me a book changed their life. The first part of the book is a parable about a guy who leaves his ordinary comfortable job and home to pursue his Big Dream. Along the way he encounters family and friends who bully him and try to persuade him to turn back before he even leaves the city limits. He is able to resist them and keeps going, only to run into a river that he can’t cross. Someone comes along and offers him a boat to get across. Then he keeps walking, feeling that surely he was getting close to the city where his dream was. Then the land turns to desert. He wanders there for the longest time. He prays and can’t feel God answer him. But all along the way his basic needs–water, food, direction–are provided for him. At the end of the desert he sees the city where his dream is in the distance. But in between him and the city are giants that he must conquer. Once he battles the giants, he reaches his dream. 

I feel like this place is my desert. When I left Residency Town I left my comfort zone socially, geographically, and medically. My best friends and a counselor friend all pushed me to stay and told me I was crazy to leave and go to this other place. My family even wanted me to stay in ResidencyTown, even though my new town is closer to them. I was able to break a contract that I didn’t think was going to be breakable and I came here to TinyTown. 

It didn’t take me long to see that TinyTown wasn’t my BigDream destination, but rather a wasteland I had to get through on the way. I am certainly learning things here. I am essentially on my own, which is how I would likely be in a foreign missions situation. I’m learning to handle things myself that previously I would have ordered consults for. I’m learning to value my free time more and to take better care of myself (albeit grudgingly) both mentally and physically. Though this place is tiresome, I feel that it must be preparing me for something better in the future. Here I have to depend on God for companionship when I’m lonely, uplifting when I’m depressed, rest when I’m exhausted, and knowledge when I don’t have a clue, not to mention trusting him to provide for my physical and fiscal needs. 

I’m trying to change my perspective on this place. My patients are not easy for me to love or even relate to on a basic level many times, but I’m using those times as opportunities to build my own character and become more deeply rooted in God’s love, so that it can then overflow from me to my patients and coworkers. My prayer this past week has been for God to teach me how to see people the way he sees them and to begin to love them the way he loves them. 

So even though this place feels barren and overwhelming and I complain about being exhausted all the time, I’m choosing to trust that something better is going to come from my time in this place. 

If you’ve read this far and are so inclined, please pray for me to remain faithful even when I’m not hearing from God. Pray that this place will build the skills and character I need to thrive in my next place. And pray that I will have patience and trust God’s timeline. 

Watch on

Philippines trip - the mission

In the video is a short clip of the stuff we did while we were here. We passed out new flip flops, hung out with the kids, gave food, ministered to them, handed out reading glasses, and I even taught them how to play ninja lol. They wanted me to organize a small group of young guys to sing but I thought a better idea was attacking each other in ninja poses lol. these moments had to be the high light of my trip.

It’s weird how on the mission field and doing Gods work everything seems to disappear. Worries, anxieties, and things that seemed to matter don’t really anymore. God has a funny way of reprioritizing your life but if we’re honest it never really stays like that after the God rush is gone.

It’s something all Christians deal with I think, a sort of let down after a big God high, and I’m no exception. This is just my observation, but I think for me the reason for this is that I ultimately was putting the reason for my “high” not in God truly but just working for Him, works. I’m not saying it was just all works now, let’s not be rash. But maybe I was more excited to do good deeds and to see the gratitude on people’s faces rather than just doing it for God.

A good test is to ask your self would I still have gotten the same “high” if those people were unappreciative? I gotta keep telling myself, my good works are out of gratitude for God work in me and not for the gratitude of people.

that I would stop seeking the praise of man fully

would you do the tongs you do for God if no one was appreciative of you?

I quite possibly may be going on a medical mission trip in August to Haiti with one of the physicians from the ER! I’m super excited! And plus he was also telling me that I would have some degree of autonomy and be able to help see the patients on my own which is also such a huge opportunity and will be a wonderful experience! I can’t wait! Does anyone have any suggestions on how to approach your first medical mission? What to expect?

Maybe wayfaringmd would like to weigh in?

Bond smiled fondly at the scene in front of him. Q had fallen asleep at his desk, his glasses still on, the computer in front of him having gone to sleep due to lack of use. He approached him slowly, tapping his shoulder lightly (he remembered that Q didn’t like being touched without talking about it) and sighed “Q? Q, you need to get some sleep. Come on, i’ll take you home." 


So this is going to be a little departure from my usual format, buuuuut I wanted to provide a little background about my Ecuador mission. If you have a chance to ever go on a mission, GO!!! 

It kinda makes you feel like this:

This was the way medicine should be. Staff that are there because they love doing what they do, and you are helping out those that need it the most. No insurance, no headaches, just making sure everyone gets what they need. It was completely worth the jet lag, the not sleeping and the only week off I get until Christmas. 

Again, if you ever get a chance to go on a mission GO! More updates to follow!


May 21-22, 2016

Summer has been around the corner for 2 months now yet I had been stuck indoors. If you’ve been backreading, I posted my attempt on watercolor here. Anyway, I had pretty much been trying to get away from the sun basically because of acne breakout and the heat is making it all worse. Gah, I actually have an eternal love-hate relationship with summer but who in the world could ever resist the beauty of Philippine beaches? All the more when I found out that it’s going to be in this Guintacan Island (Kinatarcan) in Sta. Fe, Bantayan, Cebu. I immediately said ‘yes’ to the invitation and checked the island myself.

If you could recall the Super Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan that hit the country in 2013, Northern Cebu was also devastated, which included this island. A trip to this island actually takes 1hour via large pump boats which usually accommodates 20 people. Could you imagine how difficult it was to send help to the constituents?

In my visit over the weekend, the island had slowly been recovering from the disaster. There were still houses that have not been restored completely but people seem to have moved forward and continues to have positive outlook in life. It’s amazing how despite all they’ve been through, they still stand and live their lives not abandoning this not-so-remote island. 

Those above are just few of the many photos I have taken during that short visit. I am hopeful that I can slowly share you other photos in my subsequent (random) photo posts. 

How has summer been lately for you? Drop me paper cranes with your questions or messages. Ask away!


The mission started with us leaving on a 10pm red-eye from JFK to Guayaquil that got in at 5am. I was a little sketched out on the flight when I saw this:

Yea my seat had ashtray…

Moving on, we landed and were told we’re going to check in at the hotel, to get a quick shower and then we’re heading straight to the clinic & hospital to see patients. However, upon getting to the hotel, my wife and I were pleased to discover that our room wasn’t ready.

So, exhausted and in need of a shower I left my things with the front desk except for my scrubs and stethoscope and headed to the clinic. In retrospect I’m sure I’ll have it worse next year during some of my rotations, but I felt bad for my wife. She didn’t really have any idea what she was in for, and with her heading to the hospital she had a longer day than me.

We headed to the clinic which was a little outside the city. 

Suddenly I felt like a jackass for complaining that my room wasn’t ready. Now that I was put in my place, it was time to get to work. 

We learned shortly after getting there that our supply truck from the airport was stuck in the mud, and everything we brought was going to be delayed at least a day. (DOH!) 

We spent the next 6 hours treating patients. We had 3 exam rooms divided into  internal med, pediatrics & gynecology. I was in the internal med room for the first day with 3 other students, a PA and one of the Deans from the medical school was circulating between the 3 rooms. We each rotated through doing a history, a physical exam or writing the notes. By the end of the day we were all able to do an H&P, DDX and treatment plan solo. 

The one thing that really surprised me was that the patients in Ecuador had a lot of the same chronic issues we see here in the us. A lot were obese, hypertensive, diabetic. The worst thing about the first day was that we had no way to check glucose levels in anyone. We had no lancets and the only test strips we had were not compatible with the only glucometer we had… Really needed that supply truck.

The patient’s themselves were all very receptive and thankful to us for being at the clinic. The best part about the first day was really being able to spend time with patients. I don’t expect that to be a luxury I have in a few months when clinical start. Overall, though it was great to practice my clinical skills, help out those who otherwise had no place to turn for their care.

By the time we got back to the hotel, our room was ready. Finally got a shower, and I tried to study my psychiatry notes, but this happened: