Monday’s are Mondays everywhere (I hope I am not getting to profound for you). I was still full from all the Korean food, but I had to be on my best for my final day of devotions. So I was up early prepping for my talk, then we walked to our pick up spot, and then that flexibility thing I mentioned before came into play. They pick us up in a Russian made van. It is pictured below. We packed 19 people into that circus wagon today. Now Russians may be good at some things, like maybe sheep knuckle games and things like that, but they are not very good at making comfortable vans. They have bars under the seat that are there for no other reason than to make you hurt in your yak. But I am becoming more patient and flexible by the day, thank you Lord. And when I get home and I am driving in my big old comfortable Toyota sequoia I may even feel a bit guilty. But I won’t have a pain in my yak, so that will be good. And I won’t squeeze 19 people into it unless I get a lot of visitors from Mongolia, and then I will stuff as many into that puppy as I can, just so they can feel at home.

Mongolians like chocolate. They also like gum. I bought a lot of gum with me (I don’t chew a lot of gum but my lovely wife made sure I had lots of everything so she gave me 6 big packs). I passed it out, and low and behold they chew gum just like me: loud and vigorous, like you are chewing on whale blubber the way the eskimoe’s do. My daughters get mad when I chew gum around them because I chew so loudly. But I felt right at home in that Russian stalag van as we all smacked and snapped our gum happily. Another reason I like being here.

It was a steady day today. I taught them how to do an entropion eye surgery, on a large Mongolian sheepdog called a Bachar. They have a lot of distemper and parvovirus here, and it is sad to see some of the dogs not make it. A puppy came in with a broken leg, but they left before we could cast it. It is frustrating when you can help them but they won’t let you. They need to go sit in that Russian van for a couple of hours and maybe that will adjust their bad attitude. Maybe I will get one and bring it to work and use it as a time out spot when someone gets a bad attitude. I bet it would get a lot of use. They would probably make me sit in it everyday. But the joke is on them because I have toughened up my yak so it won’t bother me one little bit.

Someone from the British embassy came in and they wanted to see the foreign vet. They had a cat who was having trouble eating hard food, but could eat soft food with no problem. Now I was built for moments like these; I could diagnose this without even looking. This was my chance to shine, and maybe they would be so impressed they would want me to join their staff at the embassy or make me a knight, or something British like that. The trick when you diagnose dental disease is not to get bit when you open the mouth, and scratches and bite marks don’t look good on a knight’s arm either. So I very carefully opened the mouth and guess what? The teeth were whiter than mine, and the breath was better ( the cat had not been stuffing itself on spicy Korean food). I did a complete physical and could not find one little thing wrong. Now I am a specialist at putting big words together to try to sound smart. Start with idiopathic and end with itis and anything can sound impressive, like idiopathic stomatitis/gingivitis with grade 4 periodontal disease. You can charge extra for a diagnosis like that, and maybe even get knighted. But no, I could not use any of my collection of big words, and I mumbled something like it needs a dewormer, which is always our fallback treatment when we don’t have anything else to do. My chance for glory gone, just another peasant in the vast Mongolian desert. I need some chocolate. Or maybe yak. I like yak.

And one other thing. Mongolians like to talk on their cell phones. They are always on them. Constantly. During office visits, staff meetings, devotions, church service; even during surgery. I guess it is one of those “cultural” things, but they probably should learn to be a little more discreet. Maybe I will invent a name for it: how about idiopathic yakitis. Yea, maybe I will get knighted for being the first to diagnose this common Mongolian condition. If I don’t come home on time, maybe you will find me at the british embassy. And you will have to call me Sir Dr Mike. Yea, I like that too.

Until Tomorrow. God Bless
Sir Dr Mike