To understand my posts, I feel the need for you to understand me, and that means understanding what has shaped me.
I was born in Taiwan and lived on a Polio compound with my parents and siblings. My father, also a Family Physician, was lead to be a missionary doctor, initially in Taiwan for five years. What I mean by Polio compound, is an orphanage for children afflicted with Polio. From what I understand, these children were orphaned because they had polio, and mission groups would take care of these children, provide them with physical therapy, surgeries, braces and a caring home so their disadvantage wouldn’t define them. Instead of being thrown away, they would be a valuable part of society. Though I was young, the memories of that time were reinforced through pictures, movies, and the oral history of my parents. Mission in life is vital and was shown to me early on. We then traveled to India and lived in a rural village called Umri in Maharashtra state. Now a few years older, my memory of that time, also with the help of audio visual, is better. I remember Nomads coming with their camels and staying at the TB ward for 6 months while they were treated for tuberculosis. I remember watching surgeries, at times getting sleepy because of the Ether used for anesthesia. I saw people suffering, people with physical hurts and needs that were alleviated. I saw death when, at the age of 9, I went to a bus/jeep wreck and about 2-3 bodies were thrown out of the jeep and crushed behind the steering wheel. Later, I saw another one laying on a gurney outside of the operating room, unable to be saved, who had a compressed skull fracture and didn’t make it through surgery. I remember one patient with a broken jaw that Dad was able to fix using paperclips to wire his jaw shut and introducing him to american liquid foods to give him nutrition while he healed. I went back to India with dad when I was 16 and watched him perform surgeries and see patients, for about a month. I have many more memories, but what is important is how all of this shaped me and is the core of who I am. This led me to follow my dad’s footsteps and placed a burning passion in my heart to help people disadvantaged or pulled down by physical ailments. What I saw were people who just needed help with a problem they contracted by no fault of their own and with education and the desire to help, you could make a difference. I felt called to do this work. I spent time in Central Africa in College, and then a few months in South Africa in Kwazulu at the end of my medical school training. After repaying the United States Air Force for covering most of my medical school costs and after going through a great residency training through them, I had the opportunity to teach Family Practice Residents in a combined civilian/military residency for three years in Nebraska. I then came back to Centralia, to work with my Dad, learn from him, but also make it easy for him to retire from private practice, which he did in 2007. I realized my mission was here in Lewis County and I have been content working here.
It is important to know my background since it shapes my view of medicine. I was able to see and experience medicine in its true form, a very different form from what it is today in our country. I was also able to see it through three different private practice era’s. My dad worked with Dr. Park for a few years before he retired. Dr. Park was a solo general practice physician in Centralia all his life. I was honored to know him, have been honored in taking care of patients he took care of, and I still retain his notes in patient records. Dr. Park was an exceptional physician, well loved by his patients. My dad, who also was well loved and respected, worked 31 years in the same building where Dr. Park worked, and I have worked there for 15 years. The legacy of what medicine was in America and what it is now, and of medicine in other countries, is the lens though which I make my comments in this blog.