the Vernon Journal

Serving the Kingdom in Southeast Asia

Filtering by Tag: health

Take 50 from 1.1 Billion

Globally, 1.1 Billion people drink from contaminated water sources every day, but thanks to the generosity of Pure Water International, there are now 12 fewer Akha families on that list. Near our village is another small Akha village very close to our hearts called "Ayi Akha". They are very poor, and have no access to electricity or clean water. The water source they have been using for all their cooking, cleaning and consumption is a 200-yard walk down a mountain, must be carried back to the homes in bottles, and is filthy. Through the years we have reached out to this village, building relationship, bringing medicine and even hosting a summer camp specifically for their 30+ children.

Late last year, we met a wonderful couple named Wade and Sarita who visited our village. After learning about our friends at Ayi Akha they gave us 12 Sawyer water filters, each of which can be used to clean water for a family for up to 50 years. Earlier this month, we presented the filters and instruction on how to use them to the twelve families in the village. Every family had at least one adult and child who listened attentively to what we shared with them and who now all have filters to clean their water and the knowledge to care for those filters for many years to come.

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Next, we'd love to add some solar bottle lights to continue to brighten and bless their world. Anyone want to sponsor that project? $100 would add light to these homes. Leave a comment below or contact us with "Solar Lights" in the subject line for more info.

Introducing Izabel

On October 13th at 6:55 am we welcomed Izabel Ruth into our family. She was born weighing 3.9 kilograms (8 lbs. 10 ounces) after about 2.5 hours of natural labor and childbirth. Both Izi and Lori are doing great. Thus far (she's only 5 days old as I write this) she's been a wonderful baby; she sleeps well, she eats well, and we've never seen her cry for more than 15 seconds. She's already using the toilet a couple of times a day as we are continuing with our EC practices. Abigail loves her little sister and making the life adjustment well. Our family has been staying in our city home in Chiangrai for all of October and we will probably remain here until the month is over as we adjust as a family to our new addition. We're excited to get back into our normal ministry pace, but have really enjoyed this time in the city preparing for Izi, spending time as a family, and working on our city-side projects.

We have been tumbl'ing images of Izabel over on her own blog - Our Izi Ruth - rather than fill up this blog with tons of kid pictures (actually we all have Tumblr blogs if you would like to follow our lighter and more personal posts: Izi Abi Lori Paul) but wanted to share a few pictures here as well:

Just Born Izabel RuthHappy Mommy and DaddySweet SleeperCalling our Parents in America with the Happy NewsIzi AngelI'm getting hungry!Sister KissesIzabel, Abigail, Paul and Lori VernonFirst time Abi held IziSister SnugglesTen Ticklish ToesSistersIzi going potty : 5 days oldYou can see a little bit of Izi's eyes as she works the potty

Abigail - Photo Sets and a Tumblelog

Follow Me on Tumblr!Abi has been sick for a couple of weeks, going from a head cold to severe vomiting to a mild fever. Those of you who follow us on Facebook (see the links on the right of this page) have heard these updates, but I know many of you only follow us on this blog and wanted to fill you in here as well. She's on the mend today and we are planning on going up to the village this afternoon if she's doing well after her nap. The silver lining in the last few weeks has been a really nice time as a family. A two-year old can sometimes be a handful, but it's so fun to watch her personality, vocabulary and comprehension of the world around her as it expands daily.

Abi is very active, but very sweet. Right now, she really loves to be doing whatever her mom is doing. Last night, Abi was beginning to feel better and decided she wanted to help Lori make a dinner - a very American "Breakfast for Dinner" actually.

Here are some images from their time together:

Abi happily cookingMother and Daughter, Side by SideBusy, Busy, Two Year Old!She's so content when she's with her mommyTaking a break from cooking to sample the foodPretty Little Cook

Later that evening (when mom decided she needed the whole kitchen to herself if she was actually going to get dinner made) Abi and I went out to look at the sunset... and to take more pictures of Abi.

Look at the sunset, Daddy!Messy face from cooking, but still pretty enough for a photoshootMaybe my favorite of her recent pictures.You've got a little something on your face.You're so silly, Daddy!Super pretty girl.Monochromatic sunset

Those of you who are looking for even more Abigail than you can find here on the Vernon Journal, take a look at our scrapbook postings of pictures, unedited videos, and other tidbits at Abi's Tumblr: Our Abi Hope. RYZ7Z3B2UT6U

Not Swine Flu

Over at Akha Outreach Foundation's children's home "House of Joy" everyone is battling the flu, not Swine Flu or H1N1, but a pretty nasty bug by its own account.flu Over 80 of the 150 people on site have gotten a flu that keeps them in bed for four days. You can read all the info over at Dan's site, The Edge.(While you are there, subscribe to his rss feed in your feed reader to keep up with all the news from the children's home). We are off to the village today with Erick Olsen who is visiting us on his way back to America. We are armed with boxes of medicine to restock our Akha clinic for the onslaught of flu cases we expect to see up there as well.

Despite all our running around during the last two months, we are all in great health but covet your prayers of protection from the flu and for continued recovery from the jetlag that we're still dealing with from Germany.

Night Ambulance

I'm writing this update on my phone from our hut in Maesalong as Lori is driving to the hospital with a woman from our village. A few minutes ago (about 10 pm) we were called on to come see a woman who is having severe stomach pains. It was quickly obvious she needed hospital care so Lori is racing off with her to the nearest hospital (about 45 min away) while I stay back in my recent role of night caretaker for Abi (who, we are happy to report, is night weaned!).

Please pray for this woman and for safety as they travel to town!

In other news, day 1 of our village VBS has been a huge success. For our village and surrounding area we have 40 children participating in the event! This has been a long time coming and it is wonderful to see the fruits of the labour. Please remember us in prayer as we hope to do a total of 3 vbs's in different villages this month.

Thanks to everyone for keeping us covered in prayer and for all of your love & support!

Abi's Time in the Hospital

Well, Abi has been home from the hospital for about a week and a half and she is certainly back to full health! If it's possible, it feels like she is healthier and has even more energy than before! The final diagnosis was "food poisoning," though we're not sure where she was infected. By the time we got her to the hospital, her potassium levels were depleted from all the vomiting and diarrhea and she was quite dehydrated as well. They treated her with IV electrolytes and antibiotics for three days.

Everything went pretty smoothly. Our normally very active little girl was generally pretty content sitting in her hospital bed watching Sesame Street on the laptop. Even being tethered to the IV was not nearly as difficult as we anticipated. We explained to her that her hand was drinking the water in the bag, so she would hold her IV hand up to her mouth and "sluuurp". (So darn cute!) In fact, she became so accustomed to having the IV pole follow us around everywhere that she actually cried when they were wheeling it away!

All that being said, the time certainly had it's difficult moments as well! The worst being the several times they had to draw blood and/or insert the IV. To begin with they had to swaddle her to keep her immobilized, which she absolutely hated. Then, her tiny veins were apparently impossible to find so the nurses had to poke her and "dig around" in multiple locations to find a suitable vein. Meanwhile, Abi screamed and cried at the top of her lungs! And to top it all off, the whole process always left looking nasty looking bruises on her arms and legs as reminders of the traumatic experience!

The other difficult thing was the matter of sleep. Abi is really not a very good sleeper to begin with, so the constant flow of nurses in and out made it pretty hard for her to sleep. The first night she woke at 2am. When 3pm arrived and she hadn't slept for more than about 45 minutes, we decided to ask the doctor for some sleeping medicine. Boy, did it do the trick! She slept like a rock from about 4pm until midnight. She woke up, went potty, had some dinner, took a walk around the ward and then slept again from 2am to 8 am. (Without a doubt, this was the BEST nights sleep I've had in 2 years!)

All in all, we're thankful for God's healing hand and for the availability of good health care in Chiang Rai. And, of course, we appreciate the prayers of so many during this tough time!

Abi looking unhappyAbi wathing TV with Daddy Abi on the toiletAbi DrawingAbi Riding on a reindeer toyAbi and LoriAbi and Lori

Abigail is in the Hospital

Hi everyone, just a quick note.

Abi has been sick for the last three days with vomiting and diarrhea and a slight fever. This morning she got even worse and was admitted to the hospital here in Chiang Rai. Her blood work has shown no infections, but a severely low potassium level.

Please join us in prayer that she will return to full health completely and quickly.

Feeling a little crummy

I've been feeling weird all week! Not really sick enough to call myself sick... you know, just kinda head-achy, stomach-achy and all around tired! In fact, I was feeling so odd and "not myeslf" that I actually went out and bought a pregnancy test today! (...which, thankfully, came back negative... we'd like more kids, just not quite this soon!) I think being this way is almost worse than really being sick... it's such a funny no man's land.

On one hand, I feel sick enough to take a nap with Abi during the day. On the other hand, I feel well enough that after lying there for 30 minutes, I feel guilty about not getting things done. On the other hand (yes, in this scenario, I'm a three handed person), when I get up to work on something, I'm just brain dead enough that I can't get anything done! It is a bit frustrating to say the least!

Anyway, I just thought I'd vent a little and if anyone has a sure fire way to beat the "crummies," I'm all ears!

Lori is in the Hospital

Please join us in prayer for Lori as she was admitted to the hospital in Chiang Rai this morning for dehydration from vomiting. She has a stomach infection of some sort and the doctors are working on getting her an antibiotic which will be pregnancy-safe.

Please pray that she recovers her strength quickly, that her body would be able to keep some nutrients inside, and that the baby would be protected through this entire ordeal.

We will give you more updates as we receive more information.


Akha Village :: Dentistry and Clinic Pictures

For the past week a dental team from America has been visiting Akha Outreach Foundation doing the annual check-ups and cleanings for all the orphans. While this is quite a large task in itself, they still made time to haul all thier equipment up to a village for a day to pull some teeth. Preventative dental care is a fairly new concept in Akha villages, so although most of the children and young adults brush thier teeth, many of the older adults have never brushed thier teeth and live in constant pain. It is very common for adults to chew betel nut which helps to numb the pain temporarily (and makes for the blackish-red teeth that are so often seen among the Akha), but in the long run it causes much damage to the mouth & gums. You can imagine that Dr. Luce and his two dental assistants had their hands full that day! They saw over 40 patients and pulled over 100 teeth in just 6 hours! Good work, guys! The village they visited was about 20 miles east of the village we live in, so we drove over to help out if we could. We certainly weren't much help in pulling teeth, but we were able to set up a mobile clinic and treat some minor non-dental ailments. The open-air school room we were in felt like a three-ring circus at times, with everyone in the village either straining to watch in sympathetic agony as the dentist pulled teeth, or curiously crowding around to see the two white people "who speak Akha" give out medicine.

Here are a few pictures of the day, courtesy of Joe Rutledge.

Dr. Luce pulling an Akha woman's toothTwo Akha women watching with sympathyDr.Luce, two assistants and the Akha woman after pulling the toothPaul and Lori with their mobile clinicPaul dispensing medicineLori reading 'Where there is no Doctor'


Migraines :: a real painA problem that has been a bother to me for four or five years is becoming chronic. Migraines. It has gotten to the point where I have to have medicine near me all the time just in case. Fortunately, medicine in Thailand is cheap and we've been able to work out a nice little cocktail of pills that is effectively a few Excedrin Migraine tabs. When taken early enough this can curb most of the symptoms, but if I miss that window I'm in for a long day of horrible pain, nausea and even loss of vision.

These migraines seem to be visually triggered, most often by events surrounding a lack of sleep or food, or too much caffeine, driving, lights or rain. The other evening one of the worst migraines I have had, and I've been hospitalized for them, came on while driving back to the village and I had to stop the truck for a few minutes to clear my eyes. Shortly after arriving back in the village the fuzziness in my eyes became so bad I had to have people help me walk back to my home. The neat thing in all of this was that the elders from my village all came and prayed for me, their presence and prayers were a real comfort in an otherwise painful moment.

If this is supposed to be another lifetime thorn in the flesh or a message for me when to slow down, so be it, but I would like to ask for you to pray that I would be healed from the chronic distraction that these migraines have become. Thanks for your prayers.

Health in the Villages

It's the rainy season again and we're seeing all the signs of the season - especially in our little Akha clinic. Mostly we are seeing the aches and pains of joints and 'old mountain injuries' which generally tell that it is going to rain. These are easily treated with an ear to hear the complaints and a little paracetamol to help lessen the pain when they sleep. Also on the daily symptoms list are the cuts, bruises and scabies (itching and sores) from the kids.
Last year our local epidemic was Chicken Pox, this year it might be ear infections. We are seeing quite a few babies with fevers and ear infections, we've even seen an adult Akha woman with a bad ear infection. Much of this is simply daily life in an Akha village, but please remember and continue to pray for health and life for the Akha of the hills of Mae Salong during this rainy season.

Praise Update - MiShui's Arm

We wanted to let you all know that MiShui's arm has healed well! Her
last appointment was very good and she is now in a smaller cast and is
attending school (thank God it was her left arm). She is a really
happy Akha girl again, playing and jumping around without fear.
Thanks for all your prayers and support! MiShui walks around with her
head held high and a great future before her.

A Mi is Smiling Again

The bee sting has healed and AMi is smiling againRemember sweet little A Mi? (Akha Have Allergies Too, May 8 2006) Well, the liquid anti-histamine finally did the trick and she is all smiles again.

One of our constant observations as we try to give back to our village with our Akha Clinic is that the learning curve for medical care is pretty steep. The first time we see a symptom or ailment, even if we can immediately recognize what it is, we are usually not prepared to treat it. As time goes on and we observe more and more somethings, we are prepared to see them again.

I guess it's probably a lot like raising a child. This first pregnancy, although we immediately recognized what it was, is quite the steep learning curve as well!

Thanks for your prayers and concerns over little A Mi, we will let her know that so many people in America were asking about her.

Solace in a Bottle

Armed with a Bottle of Pepto I'm updating our web page todayI had a much better title for this post but Lori used her marital veto on it, once again saving the world from my little mind. So despite the onset of your imminent overwhelming curiosity, the bell in Charn will never be rung and the original title will forever sleep.

I briefly referred to a stomach bug that was going around our village in The Akha Clinic (see the paragraph on dirt floor appreciation) and it seems I am not immune to this little bug. So, I'm down in Chiang Rai fighting off a little fever with some air conditioning and fighting off this stomach bug with my friend the bottle of Pepto Bismol.

The silver lining (pink lining?) in this situation is it gives me the opportunity to work on the WishList page so many of you have been asking for. Near the top of the list... Pepto Bismol, along with a list of other medical supplies for the village, suggested gift items for anyone visiting an Akha village and personal items that are difficult or impossible to get in Thailand that we would love from home.

Keep checking our front page under On This Site (in the left sidebar) for the new link or just click here to see if it is up and running.

We're getting familiar with this place...

It's a little upsetting that this makes two blogs in a row... we have a lot of things to share and I will be working on them today, but first we would like to get a prayer request out. We are back in the familiar environment of Kasemrad Sriburin General Hospital. Two days ago Lori had what we thought was a bladder infection but after she got a fever we came down to Chiang Rai to get her checked out. We learned that she has a kidney infection and she has been admitted for treatment. The fever broke this morning and she is improving but the Doctor wants us to stay for at least one more night. Please keep praying for us and especially for health. There is a lot going on in our village right now and the stresses of new culture, new language and just attacks from the enemy are rough on our bodies. The care in the hospital is wonderful (although Lori has gotten so good at "caring for the sick" that she is struggling a little bit in being cared for) and the rest is good.

Sorry about the lack of contact, we are working on a way to get an internet connection in Mae Salong so we can update you all a little more often. We are praying over a number of decisions right now as we settle more and more into Northern Thailand. I will be writing more posts today to let you all know everything that's been going on but now it's back up to our little apartment on the fourth floor to see how Lori is doing.

Thanks for all your prayers! Lori would love to hear your encouragement if you want to email her.

Tonsilitis in Thailand...

Last Tuesday morning Paul woke with a sore throat. We were in the village and so he spent most of the day inside resting. Unfortunately, by 7:00 that evening, he had developed a fever of 102°. I gave him some ibuprofen thinking that it would take care of it, but when 45 minutes had passed and his fever had risen to 102.5°, I began to be worried. Luckily, I was able to call friends in Chiang Rai who advised me to do anything and everything to keep that temperature down. So in several minutes, my poor shivering husband found himself lying under wet sheets with his feet in a bucket of ice water and a fan blasting at full speed! Well, needless to say that night was a long one! The fever never broke, so at 6:00 the next morning we set out on the two hour drive to Chiang Rai. By 9:00 we were in the emergency room at a local hospital. By then his fever had risen to 103°. When the doctor looked at this throat she was visibly shocked! Of course we were expecting the worst, so we were somewhat relieved when the doctor said that he had a severe case of tonsillitis. At least we knew what it was!

He was admitted immediately and they started him on an I.V. The hospital was excellent! The nurses were very sweet and despite the language barriers, Paul felt very well cared for. Our room had a couch, so that I could stay and keep Paul company. We even had a small fridge, to store Popsicles for the sick guy. For the first day or so Paul was pretty much out of it; that fever really took a toll on his body! But after he began to recover a little, we set up our laptop and were able to watch a few movies to stay entertained.

He was released on Saturday morning (after three nights) and he's now recovering well at home! We are so grateful for God's provision through this entire process! It made us think about how easy our lives are compared to the lives of missionaries 50 years ago. Back then you had to hike for days to get in and out of the villages. Something like tonsillitis could have been deadly.

Well, we will be heading back up to the village in a day or so. Please continue to pray for Paul's quick recovery and for continued health for both of us! On the 19th, we'll be heading down to Chiang Mai to bring a little boy named A-Wa, from our village to a special school for the hearing impaired. Please pray for safe travels and for a special comfort as he adjusts to life away from his family and village. Many blessings!

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